Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ancient Aliens - Alien Messages, Full Version

There are those who believe that embedded in our most sacred religious texts, as well as in the design and location of ancient monuments, are secret messages – messages that may reveal the purpose behind our very existence. Could it be true? Strange and cryptic communications with unknown meaning have been discovered all across the globe throughout every known civilization. 

Might the key to unlocking the mysteries of the universe be found hidden in numerological, geometrical, and geological puzzles left for us to solve by extraterrestrial beings that came to Earth thousands of years ago? Are humans being tested? Have we learned enough to crack the codes necessary to decipher these messages? And if so, might our understanding of them allow us to finally be reunited with our celestial ancestors?


Ancient Aliens – Alien Messages
History Channel, Season 7 Episode 12
19th December 2014

Scientist Startled By Possibility of Deep Earth Life

Possibility of widespread ‘deep-Earth life’ jolts scientists

What if Earth hosts another ‘biosphere’ of tiny microbial organisms deep below the surface?


When we think of life on Earth, we usually picture blue oceans, green forests and the big animals that live in both.
But what if Earth hosts another “biosphere” of tiny microbial organisms deep below the surface? And what if extraterrestrial life looks more like this deep, dark world than the sunny blue-green one we are familiar with?
In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, research led by University of Toronto geoscientist Barbara Sherwood Lollar demonstrates that the environment that could host “deep-Earth life” is far vaster than previously imagined.
And the possibility that we could find the same thing on other planets received an electric jolt Tuesday with the announcement that NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover had detected a plume of methane on the red planet that spiked and then dissipated — a potential signal of microbial life.
“It’s a critical reminder that the oceans and rivers and lakes on Earth give us a skewed view of the places where life could exist and evolve in another setting or another planet,” said Lisa Pratt, a geochemist at Indiana University who was not involved in either paper. Pratt chairs the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group, a community of scientists that advises NASA.
Both papers, Pratt says, suggest that “we better start looking for something that’s different than the common, ordinary, cellular life we’re used to seeing and studying on Earth.”


Sherwood Lollar’s announcement follows on two tantalizing pieces of research published in recent years.
In 2006, she and Pratt were among the co-authors of a Science paper that announced the discovery of bacteria living deep in a South African gold mine, completely isolated from sunlight — the fuel source for all of life on the surface of Earth. These microbes likely derived their energy from hydrogen gas produced by reactions between water and the surrounding rock — and they were estimated to have survived down there for between 3 million and 25 million years.
Then, last year, Sherwood Lollar was part of a team that described a similar environment. In a mine in Timmins, Ont., the scientists analyzed water in a deep fracture with similar chemistry to the South African mine. The water in the Timmins mine was billions of years old. The team is still analyzing that site for the existence of microbial life.
So Sherwood Lollar was curious. “How many places in the planet might we find more?”
By combing through the literature and visiting sites around the world, she and her Nature co-authors found dozens more ancient rock sites with similar chemistry, doubling previous estimates of the amount of energy available to deep life from water-rock reactions.
“Much more of the planet is actually potentially hospitable for deep life than we thought,” said Sherwood Lollar.
“It’s fantastic. I think it’s really, really exciting stuff,” says Jan Amend, a geochemist at the University of Southern California who was not involved in the research.
“If somebody told you all of a sudden that you had twice as much money in the bank as you thought you had, that would put a smile on your face,” he said. “That analogy works for microbiologists especially, because a lot of microorganisms use hydrogen as an energy source.”
Sherwood Lollar will present the findings at the American Geophysical Union meeting currently underway in San Francisco. That was where NASA scientists on Tuesday announced that the Mars rover had detected a tenfold spike in methane near the Gale Crater over the course of two months. Because the gas wouldn’t last long in the Martian atmosphere, something must have produced it recently and nearby.
The rover scientists acknowledged that one potential source is subsurface microbial life that releases methane as a waste product. But it also could have been produced through inorganic chemical reactions, and Mars has dashed our hopes as a host for life before.
But both papers will certainly spark a renewed interest in deep subsurface biospheres.
“Essentially what this says is that the subsurface of our entire planet is likely a feasible place for life to take hold,” said Sherwood Lollar. “So when we think about how much of our planet is alive, we are no longer thinking about just a thin veneer on the surface.”

Chemistry Discovered On Mars Which are Strong Indicators of Life

The first definitive detection of Martian organic chemicals in material on the surface of Mars came from analysis by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover of sample powder from this mudstone target, "Cumberland." 

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory's drill.
"This temporary increase in methane -- sharply up and then back down -- tells us there must be some relatively localized source," said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a member of the Curiosity rover science team. "There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock."
Researchers used Curiosity's onboard Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory a dozen times in a 20-month period to sniff methane in the atmosphere. During two of those months, in late 2013 and early 2014, four measurements averaged seven parts per billion. Before and after that, readings averaged only one-tenth that level.
Curiosity also detected different Martian organic chemicals in powder drilled from a rock dubbed Cumberland, the first definitive detection of organics in surface materials of Mars. These Martian organics could either have formed on Mars or been delivered to Mars by meteorites.

This illustration portrays possible ways methane might be added to Mars' atmosphere (sources) and removed from the atmosphere (sinks).
Organic molecules, which contain carbon and usually hydrogen, are chemical building blocks of life, although they can exist without the presence of life. Curiosity's findings from analyzing samples of atmosphere and rock powder do not reveal whether Mars has ever harbored living microbes, but the findings do shed light on a chemically active modern Mars and on favorable conditions for life on ancient Mars.
"We will keep working on the puzzles these findings present," said John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "Can we learn more about the active chemistry causing such fluctuations in the amount of methane in the atmosphere? Can we choose rock targets where identifiable organics have been preserved?"
Researchers worked many months to determine whether any of the organic material detected in the Cumberland sample was truly Martian. Curiosity's SAM lab detected in several samples some organic carbon compounds that were, in fact, transported from Earth inside the rover. However, extensive testing and analysis yielded confidence in the detection of Martian organics.
Identifying which specific Martian organics are in the rock is complicated by the presence of perchlorate minerals in Martian rocks and soils. When heated inside SAM, the perchlorates alter the structures of the organic compounds, so the identities of the Martian organics in the rock remain uncertain.
"This first confirmation of organic carbon in a rock on Mars holds much promise," said Curiosity Participating Scientist Roger Summons of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. "Organics are important because they can tell us about the chemical pathways by which they were formed and preserved. In turn, this is informative about Earth-Mars differences and whether or not particular environments represented by Gale Crater sedimentary rocks were more or less favorable for accumulation of organic materials. The challenge now is to find other rocks on Mount Sharp that might have different and more extensive inventories of organic compounds."
Researchers also reported that Curiosity's taste of Martian water, bound into lakebed minerals in the Cumberland rock more than three billion years ago, indicates the planet lost much of its water before that lakebed formed and continued to lose large amounts after.
SAM analyzed hydrogen isotopes from water molecules that had been locked inside a rock sample for billions of years and were freed when SAM heated it, yielding information about the history of Martian water. The ratio of a heavier hydrogen isotope, deuterium, to the most common hydrogen isotope can provide a signature for comparison across different stages of a planet's history.
"It's really interesting that our measurements from Curiosity of gases extracted from ancient rocks can tell us about loss of water from Mars," said Paul Mahaffy, SAM principal investigator of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of a report published online this week by the journal Science
The ratio of deuterium to hydrogen has changed because the lighter hydrogen escapes from the upper atmosphere of Mars much more readily than heavier deuterium. In order to go back in time and see how the deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio in Martian water changed over time, researchers can look at the ratio in water in the current atmosphere and water trapped in rocks at different times in the planet's history.
Martian meteorites found on Earth also provide some information, but this record has gaps. No known Martian meteorites are even close to the same age as the rock studied on Mars, which formed about 3.9 billion to 4.6 billion years ago, according to Curiosity's measurements.
The ratio that Curiosity found in the Cumberland sample is about one-half the ratio in water vapor in today's Martian atmosphere, suggesting much of the planet's water loss occurred since that rock formed. However, the measured ratio is about three times higher than the ratio in the original water supply of Mars, based on the assumption that supply had a ratio similar to that measured in Earth's oceans. This suggests much of Mars' original water was lost before the rock formed.
Curiosity is one element of NASA's ongoing Mars research and preparation for a human mission to Mars in the 2030s. Caltech manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and JPL manages Curiosity rover science investigations for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The SAM investigation is led by Paul Mahaffy of Goddard. Two SAM instruments key in these discoveries are the Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer, developed at Goddard, and the Tunable Laser Spectrometer, developed at JPL.

The results of the Curiosity rover investigation into methane detection and the Martian organics in an ancient rock were discussed at a news briefing Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union's convention in San Francisco. The methane results are described in a paper published online this week in the journal Science by NASA scientist Chris Webster of JPL, and co-authors.
A report on organics detection in the Cumberland rock by NASA scientist Caroline Freissinet, of Goddard, and co-authors, is pending publication.

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