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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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Condom

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Everyone is falling in to the trap of describing life as we know it. What we think of as life might very well be completely different to what one day our descendants might eventually find somewhere.

We might very well find some evidence of life as we know it on Mars given that it was not always like it was now. Also, as we are still discovering cities in Egypt that only vanished a few thousands of years ago who is to say that there is no evidence of civilisation that might have vanished millions of years ago.

All this is highly unlikely but don't yet rule everything out.

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Forum Editor

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morddwyd

"You may not think much of my intellect, but there's no need to be so damned patronising or condescending about it."

There's no call for such rudeness. You know nothing of what I think of your intellect.

I certainly meant no condescension, or to patronise, which is the same thing really. My comment about student bar stuff was intended to convey that your paragraph about life-forms was classic university student thinking in the mid 70s, when discussions about alien life-forms took place almost continuously. The book called 'The Space Gods Revealed' by Ronald Storey appeared at that time, and it was hotly debated in student bars up and down the country.

That's all - if I offended your sensibilities I apologise unreservedly.

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Forum Editor

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Condom

"What we think of as life might very well be completely different to what one day our descendants might eventually find somewhere."

Indeed it might, but we don't know that yet, so for the purpose of present-day discussions we need to have a definition of life. The problem is, there are quite literally a couple of hundred or more of them. For starters, how about this one, from astrobiologist Sohan Jheeta :-

"Life is a thermodynamically open chemical system with a semi-permeable boundary. It contains an information-based complex system with emergent properties, part of which drives a metabolism based on a proton gradient. The said gradient generates the necessary potential difference across the semi-permeable boundary. The information is heritable and coded in such a way as to allow variation and thus evolution."

So that's OK then,if you accept the definition. It's important to have one, because unless you do you can't search for life elsewhere in the solar system or beyond.

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morddwyd

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FE

Thank you. Just back from from hospital with some disappointing news and was feeling a bit low!

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Aitchbee

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There is a possibility of underground lakes (water) underneath the polar ice cap on Mars, just like this substantial 'lump of water' on Earth :-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Vostok

...no one yet knows if there are any life-forms down there.

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Bing.alau

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AitchBee. The only lumps of water allowed to be mentioned in this forum are the ones on Brumas's postcards.

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john bunyan

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Some believe there is more chance of evidence of some form of life on one of Jupiter's moons, Europa. See Europa

It may well be that some primitive life has existed on Mars, but the chances of evidence of higher life forms seems slim, for the reasons FM has stated.

When it comes to life, including "civilisations" in other parts of the Universe including other galaxies than the Milky Way,the sheer numbers of possible stars with suitable planets that are likely to be out there is such that there are possibilities that such life forms exist, or have existed, but they are so far away (many light years) that it seems most unlikely that we will ever confront them , or even hear from them as the communication, based on the speed of light, would take too long. I do not discount there being non carbon based life forms, but so far it seems unlikely.

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Aitchbee

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Brumas's 'lumps' are never underground, so I think I can get away with it.

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finerty

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Does it mean the martians are coming to invade us

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rdave13

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I've read the replies with interest. Some have made me think and other are drivel. Still interesting though that no one has mentioned that man will always explore. In his nature and always will be. What ever happens with Curiosity I hope its not the last of space exploration as we're fast over running the space we have on this little 'rock'.

Thank you for your replies.

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