Science News


Sun, 18th Dec 2005

Part of the show The Coriolis Effect and Christmas Questions for Dr Chris

Mars could once have been a booze-Mecca for methanol lovers, according to recent research from China's University of Science and Technology. Most scientists believe that, millennia ago, Mars was wet world where oceans, lakes, rivers and streams sculpted the surface as they do here on Earth today. But the Chinese research suggests that grey deposits of iron oxide found on the surface could also have formed in ancient seas filled with methanol, an alcohol, rather than water. Further analysis of samples from the Martian surface will be required to determine whether the theory hold water or not. But for those fond of a tipple, a trip to Mars remains a bad choice for a booze-cruise under any circumstances because, once inside the body, methanol is converted to formalin (formaldehyde), a highly toxic chemical that is sometimes used to embalm dead bodies!


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