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What happens if microscopic life is found on Mars?


rdave13
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An interesting News column about it. Link.

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Fruit Bat /\0/\

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"The chances of anything coming from Mars is a million to one he said"

Jeff Wayne Eve of the War here

Book web version

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Bing.alau

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There's more chance of finding the FE's silver mouse on board the vehicle which landed on Mars, than finding life there.

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morddwyd

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"we know that such a civilisation cannot have existed without leaving traces, and we can't see any."

We only "know" to the extent of current human knowledge..

Such knowledge is constantly evolving and growing.

We are a carbon based life from.

There may be other life forms we cannot dream of based on any one of the 100+ other elements.

There may be life forms we cannot even see based on elements we cannot dream of.

Space, the cosmos, the universe, call it what you will, is infinite, as is everything within it.

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ams4127

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Let us imagine that there is/was life on Mars. And let us imagine that it was silica based, and moved one millimeter in a thousand years. How are we going to know that it is a life form?

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Aitchbee

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Regarding the evidence of the existence of 'intelligent life' ever having set foot on Mars...well, we [earthlings] have recently left our mark on the Red Planet. It's not that far-fetched to consider that 'other' visitors from another time also landed there.

Here's a poser:- When does 'non-intelligent life' become intelligent?

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WhiteTruckMan

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Just playing devils advocate to FE's last post, but you might argue that at the time the solar system was formed, mars was further away from the sun than earth, so might have cooled and solidified earlier than earth, getting a head start in planetary evolution. It's also possible that being farther from the sun might mean it could have coalesced earlier too.

I'm not suggesting myself that a high level civilisation could have arisen on mars, but if one had and had been wiped out by an extinction level even some 4 billion years ago then it's no wonder that no trace would be visible today! I am mindful of the series life after man that shows how most of our own works would disappear after a few thousand years, and be gone by a few hundred thousand. Admittedly, an active biosphere played a large part in this, which is conspicuously absent on mars. But still, 4 billion years is a heck of a long time to slowly oxidise, erode, heat and cool/expand and contract things.

WTM

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Forum Editor

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Morddwyd

"We only "know" to the extent of current human knowledge.."

Well obviously - I can't know something that is outside the extent of human knowledge, can I?

**There may be other life forms we cannot dream of based on any one of the 100+ other elements. There may be life forms we cannot even see based on elements we cannot dream of. Space, the cosmos, the universe, call it what you will, is infinite, as is everything within it.**

That's classic student bar stuff, circa 1975.

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Forum Editor

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WhiteTruckMan

Mars did cool more rapidly than earth, but not because of any difference in its distance from the sun. The sun has little or no effect on internal planetary cooling. Cyclic orbital variations do occur, and - like variations in earth's orbit - they result in climactic changes.

The overall mass of Mars is about one tenth that of Earth and the diameter is half, which accounts for the more rapid cooling. That in itself isn't an indication that life-forms may have emerged sooner than on earth, although it's impossible to guess.

The fact of its internal cooling - the Martian crust is far thicker than here on earth, and the disappearance of most of its atmosphere billions of years ago mean that surface temperatures fluctuate considerably. The axis about which the planet rotates (its obliquity) also varies, and this means that roughly every 25,000 years a different hemisphere is pointed towards the sun. All that tends to mitigate against the evolution of sophisticated life forms.

Finally there's the fact that Mars lost its atmosphere early in in its life cycle - another bar to the development of advanced life forms.

You'll note that I qualified my remarks about advanced civilisations - for that is what I mentioned - by saying that there was "not one that left any detectable traces when the planet is viewed through the most powerful telescopes available."

There may well have been primitive life forms in the past, and I haven't claimed otherwise.

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Grey Goo

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You have to ask yourself was it pure chance that a rock formed and was at an optimal distance from it's star. This rock probably had an atmosphere that may have been delivered by meteor impact and or the release of trapped gases. Then some event caused the formation of simple amino acids from the available elements. How these then contributed to the formation of cellular lifeforms I will leave to more learned individuals. There are probably billions of planets, if it happened here it could happen elsewhere,however I wouldn't bet on it happening on the next rock from this one.

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Quickbeam

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What happens if microscopic life is found on Mars?

The Hollywood scriptwriters will strike a rich seam of gold for a whole series of Martian themed blockbusters!

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