NASA's Mars Curiosity show images of Mushrooms & Funghi

Discussion in 'Science, Tech, & Space Exploration' started by nivek, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Messages:
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    Is this proof of LIFE on Mars? NASA's Curiosity rover snaps photos of Martian mushrooms that prove the red planet is home to organic lifeforms, scientists claim in controversial study
    • Images from NASA's Mars Curiosity show pictures of mushrooms and funghi
    • Some scientists claim these NASA images show the red surface is not barren
    • The claims from the researchers have yet to be confirmed or refuted by NASA
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    The research lists 15 images as evidence of algae, lichens and 'Martian mushrooms'.

    Photographic evidence of such flourishing lifeforms, should the discovery be confirmed, would likely revolutionise our understanding of Mars and life outside of Earth.

    Dr Regina Dass, of the department of microbiology at the school of life sciences, India, the study's co-author said: 'There are no geological or other abiogenic forces on Earth which can produce sedimentary structures, by the hundreds, which have mushroom shapes, stems, stalks, and shed what looks like spores on the surrounding surface'.

    'In fact, fifteen specimens were photographed by NASA growing out of the ground in just three days.'

    The claims have been published in Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science Reviews.

    A controversial piece of research such as this is subjected to extensive vetting by peers within the scientific community.

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  2. humanoidlord

    humanoidlord ce3 researcher

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    4,106
    maybe, i can see the resemblance, though i am still betting on pareidolia
     
  3. Kchoo

    Kchoo Terrestrial

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    1,888
    Spores brought from earth by the Viking mission would be my bet.
     
  4. Castle-Yankee54

    Castle-Yankee54 Celestial

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    I see various types of rocks.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  5. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    12,131
    Here's we see much evidence of life on Mars including fungal seen growing by Rover, this is a very compelling article linked below...

    Evidence of Life on Mars? - Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science

    9. Evidence of Fungi on Mars?

    Lichens are comprised of algae and fungi, and four different investigators (Dass 2017; Joseph 2014; Rabb 2015, 2018; Small 2015) and a significant majority of experts in fungi, lichens, geomorphology, and mineralogy (Joseph 2016) have identified what appears to be fungi on the Martian surface and beneath Martian rock shelters (Figures 5, 6, 13). Fifteen specimens were photographed by the Rover Opportunity increasing in size and emerging from the ground over a three day period (Figure 8).

    Puffballs (phylum Basidiomycota) are round-shaped fruiting bodies that contain trillions of spores which are released as dry powdery "puffs" and which can resemble flakes of dry paint. They sit directly on and are usually attached by short stalks to the ground (Petersen 2013; Roberts & Evans 2011). Thus, the specimens in Figure 5 and 6 resemble puffballs (Figure 7). What appears to be spores may be littering the surrounding Martian surface (Figure 6). By contrast, NASA's favored hypothesis is these specimens are hematite produced in hot-springs (NASA 2009; Squyres et al. 2004).

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    Figure 5. Sol 257 photographed by NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity. Martian specimens resembling Puffballs (Basidiomycota), some with stalks and shedding what appears to be spores and the outer cap, lower cup, and universal veil that covers embryonic fungi. To speculate further, the thick coats of white material being shed from the sides of some specimens may consist of crustose, and the white powder-spore-like material may consist of leprose. It is impossible, however, to determine with a high level of confidence if these are in fact living organisms. Similarities in morphology do not constitute proof.

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    Figure 6. Sol 182 photographed by NASA Rover Opportunity. A majority of experts identified these specimens as "fungi" and "puffballs" (Joseph 2016). Note what appears to be spores littering the surface. NASA favors a hematite hypothesis. These specimens, however, also resemble hematite.

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    Figure 7. Comparing terrestrial fungi (left) with Martian specimens (right, Sol 221 photographed by the Rover Opportunity at Meridian Planum, Mars). Credits: terrestrial puffballs, photo reproduced from myko.cz, Czech Mycological Society.
    Specimens depicted in Figures 5 and 6 were photographed by the "microscopic imager" attached to the rover Opportunity. According to specs provided on NASA's website, the microscopic imager has a focal length ranging from 0.8 inch (21 millimeters) an optimal focus distance of 2.67 inches (68 millimeters) and can resolve features as small at 0.004 inches (0.1 mm). The original image's size of Figures 6 and 7 was 1024 x 1024 pixels (0.001 inch or 0.031 millimeter per pixel). Based on these stats, the estimated size of the specimens in Figures 5 and 6 range from 1 mm to 50 mm (1 cm to 5 cm). Mature terrestrial puffballs, on average, are approximately 4.267 cm in size (Petersen 2013; Roberts & Evans 2011). In size and morphology several of these specimens resemble puffballs (Joseph 2016).

    The specimens depicted in Figures 5, 6, 8, also clearly resemble spherical hematite (Figure 4) in size, shape, morphology. However, hematite does consist of and does not shed sheaths of what appears to be a thick veil of material coating its outer-surface. Then there is the white fluffy-powdery spore-like material which appears to litter the ground. If not biological, perhaps these thick flakes and powdery substances are clumps of minerals, patina or salt and products of a sedimentological process in reaction to water or the Martian atmosphere that adhered to the contours of Martian hematite and surface features.

    Evidence favoring the fungal/puffball hypothesis is what appears to be the growth and emergence of 15 specimens, over a three day period (Figure 8). Specifically, five appear to increase in size whereas ten emerge from the ground. If they are immature and still growing, this would explain the absence of spores. If they are not growing, and are in fact hematite, then the only other reasonable explanation is that a powerful wind uncovered these specimens by blowing away dust, dirt, and sand.

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    Figure 8. Sol 1145-left v Sol 1148-right). Comparing Sol 1145-left vs Sol 1148-right. Growth of fifteen Martian specimens over three days. Specimens labeled 1-5 and marked with red circles have increased in size. Those specified by arrows--Sol 1148-right--demarcate the emergence of ten new specimens which were not visible in Sol 1145-left photographed three days earlier by NASA/JPL. Differences in photo quality are secondary to changes in camera-closeup-focus by NASA. The majority of experts in fungi, lichens, geomorphology, and mineralogy agreed these are likely living specimens, i.e. fungi, puffballs. An alternate explanation is a strong wind uncovered hematite which had been buried beneath sand and dirt.

    10. Wind or Fungal Growth?

    The Opportunity was not equipped to measure wind. However, Opportunity has been subject to extremely dusty conditions. For example, in December of 2013 the average dust factor was estimated by NASA to be .467 (very dusty); 0.964 (mildly dusty) in May of 2014; and 0.725 (moderately dusty) in June of 2016 (NASA 2018). In fact, rather than strong Martian winds blowing away dust, sand, and dirt, they have instead blanketed the Opportunity and its solar panels with so much debris that Opportunity has been subject to repeated episodes of reduced power (e.g. from 700 watt hours to 400), thereby severely limiting its activities. Furthermore, because of dust, Opportunity twice stopped functioning for long periods, including in July of 2007 when solar-panel output dropped to 128 watt hours (NASA 2007) and in June of 2018 when Opportunity finally ceased to function (NASA 2018) and has yet to recover as of February 14, 2019.

    Given these dusty conditions, what is the likelihood that a strong wind would have uncovered the specimens in Figure 8, and not covered them up (and the Opportunity's solar panels) with dust, sand, and dirt? The answer is unknown and a cleansing wind remains a distinct and reasonable possibility.

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    Figure 9. Mars Sol 2718 vs Sol 2813-- The exact cause or identity of this specimen (right) is unknown but may represent possible growth of what appears to be a mass of bacteria and fungi on the Mars Rover, Opportunity, after 95 (Martian) days. Photo, NASA/JPL.

    The wind explanation cannot explain why before and after photos, taken by NASA, depict what appears to be large masses of bacteria and fungi growing on the rovers Opportunity and Curiosity (Figures 9, 10, 11, 12). Moreover, what experts identified as fungi growing beneath a Martian rock shelter (Figure 14) is very similar to what appears to be fungi (and biocorrosion) within the shelter of the Curiosity's upper deck (Figures 12, 14). Wind is not a likely explanation for what appears to be biological growth on the rovers. Instead the evidence supports the hypothesis that fungi (and lichens) may have colonized and are growing on Mars.

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    Figure 10. Mars Sol 51 vs Sol 1089--Growth of what appears to be a mass of bacteria and fungi on the Mars Rover Curiosity after 1038 Martian days. An alternate explanation is dust and dirt accumulated selectively in this area of the rover. Photo NASA/JPL.

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    Figure 11. Sol 51. Mastcam photo of the interior, flooring and shelter of an exposed enclosed compartment in the rover Curiosity's chem cam deck after 51 Martian days. Photo by NASA/JPL.

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    Figure 12. Sol 1089. Possible Fungal contamination or bio-corrosion of the interior, walls, flooring, and shelter of an enclosed compartment in the rover Curiosity's chem cam deck after 1089 Martian days? (Compare with Figure 11). Another possibility: chemical contamination or sand and salt which adhered only to the interior surface? Photo Mastcam, by NASA/JPL.

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    Figure 13. Sol 1162, Rover Curiosity. Experts identified the white specimens as fungi (Joseph 2016).

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    Figure 14. Comparison of an exposed compartment in Curiosity's Chem Cam Deck (Sol 1089 / Left, Figure 12) with Sol 1162 (Right, Figure 13). If this represents coincidence or contamination is unknown.

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  6. humanoidlord

    humanoidlord ce3 researcher

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    4,106
    too soon yet to say anything, no official answer yet
     

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