August 2, 2006 | David F. Coppedge

More Reasons You Wouldn’t Want to Live on Mars

Electric charges in dust devils on Mars may generate toxic chemicals, says a report on Space.com (see also later story posted on National Geographic News).  According to two recent reports in Astrobiology journal, “Small dust devils and planet-wide storms – combined with static electricity – may lead to the formation of hydrogen peroxide and other corrosive chemicals that fall to the Martian surface as a sort of toxic snow….”  If this is the case, any nascent organisms trying to get a foothold on Mars would have been ripped apart by the highly oxidizing soil.  This may also explain the unusual results of the experiments that found highly reactive soil by the Viking landers 30 years ago last month (see story on La Canada Online).

It stinks on Mars, too, remember?  And there is no protection from cosmic radiation and solar storms (12/08/2003), because there is no global magnetic field.  Recently, scientists determined that the atmosphere is so thin, no one would be able to hear you scream – even if you got a peep out before collapsing from lack of oxygen and the fierce cold.  Science sure has a way of spoiling a lot of great science fiction stories.  Better appreciate the privileged planet you have.

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