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What would proving there's life on Mars do for science?

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like i understand that it's super cool to be able to see life forms potentially living on other planets, but is doing all the research for life on mars really worth the money? how would it benefit our lives knowing there's little bits of living things on mars. Enlighten me to escape my current ignorance.

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It really depends on who you ask, but to me, it will inspire future generations, answer old questions and ask new ones, and change forever the perception that we are somehow unique or special due simply to living on this pale blue dot.

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I take a less far reaching point of view. With material being shared between the planets due to impacts it is possible that life in the solar system has a common origin. Thus it does not imply that life elsewhere is possible.

 

Really, if life was found on Mars or anywhere else in our solar system it would be a very important to find out what genetic material we share, if any.

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would life on mars disprove religion?

 

Depends on what religion the Martians follow. However, we now that some Islamic clerics have said that it is the duty of Muslims to convert them to Islam. Also see the Sun's *take on it

 

:-(

 

_______________________

* UK tabloid

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i thought God was always exclusive to earth :P
"In my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so I would not have told you."

 

So, apparently not.

 

If Martian life is found to be radically different from Earth life it would provide powerful perspectives to understand how life originated and to improve estimates of its likelihood elsewhere in the universe.

As ajb pointed out, if it is broadly similar to Earth life, so that a common ancestor seems likely, then it would enhance our understanding of Earth life, but do little for the broader picture.

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...With material being shared between the planets due to impacts it is possible that life in the solar system has a common origin...

Are you suggesting that life may have been transported to another planet or moon from impacts? I can not see any life surviving the impact or trip. As far as material, the planets and moons share common materials from when it was formed. It also seems other solar systems would likely share common elements. I think that finding life elsewhere in the solar system would tell us it is common in the universe.

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Are you suggesting that life may have been transported to another planet or moon from impacts? I can not see any life surviving the impact or trip. As far as material, the planets and moons share common materials from when it was formed. It also seems other solar systems would likely share common elements. I think that finding life elsewhere in the solar system would tell us it is common in the universe.

 

Panspermia, the theory of a single origin with comets moving biological entities around...

 

Here's an online book with alot of papers in it with alot of references to peer reviewed journals:

 

http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=uZc1eBDB0-IC&oi=fnd&pg=PP11&dq=solar+system+life+single+origin&ots=bsQmq5Pj6e&sig=cbPzJ1XUTo6G6cfyVCl8KOZVVug#PPP1,M1

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Unfortunately, panspermia just dispaces the first origin. "If life was transported here, then how exactly did it get going at its starting point?" It becomes a bit of a reductio ad absurdum.

 

I'm of the frame of mind that the same process occurred on multiple worlds, whereby chemical and molecular processes evolved in the given circumstances... That life started here on Earth, but ALSO on other worlds using similar processes.

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like i understand that it's super cool to be able to see life forms potentially living on other planets, but is doing all the research for life on mars really worth the money? how would it benefit our lives knowing there's little bits of living things on mars. Enlighten me to escape my current ignorance.

If biological life is discovered anywhere beyond planet Earth it would be an extraordinary boost to the theory of panspermia. So far, almost all biologists assume that abiogenesis happened here on Earth, either only once in our entire universe or possibly on multiple occasions. If abiogenesis happened elsewhere and panspermia accounts for life on Earth then maybe we got seeded by a Martian meteorite, or maybe both Mars and Earth got its life from somewhere else.

 

I hold an opinion, which is highly speculative, that life did not originate here on Earth. If Martian life is discovered it will be a huge enough event—big enough to reset the calendar.

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Unfortunately, panspermia just dispaces the first origin. "If life was transported here, then how exactly did it get going at its starting point?" It becomes a bit of a reductio ad absurdum.

 

It does allow for many more different options though, we're nolonger limited to life forming in the conditions of early earth...

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Panspermia, the theory of a single origin with comets moving biological entities around...

 

I see what he meant now. Scratch the first part of my post but the rest stands. :doh:

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I think that finding life elsewhere in the solar system would tell us it is common in the universe.

 

To me that seems a big jump. Life in the Solar system other than on Earth may "suggest" that there could be life outside the Solar system, but I would not say that by itself it is evidence.

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well i guess, but if it helpan it is prove abiogenesis than it indirectly disproves religion

 

i understand now why its so crucial. thanks :D

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Are you suggesting that life may have been transported to another planet or moon from impacts? I can not see any life surviving the impact or trip. As far as material, the planets and moons share common materials from when it was formed. It also seems other solar systems would likely share common elements. I think that finding life elsewhere in the solar system would tell us it is common in the universe.

 

Actually there is reason to think life could be transfered from one planet to anther through impacts, see this link.

 

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/080916-st-space-life.html

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I think that finding life elsewhere in the solar system would tell us it is common in the universe.[/quote']To me that seems a big jump. Life in the Solar system other than on Earth may "suggest" that there could be life outside the Solar system, but I would not say that by itself it is evidence.

I agree with ajb. Finding life on Mars will tell us that life is very tenacious and might tell us that life is likely to form in star systems that are somehow pre-conditioned for life. Actually, I think life on Earth already tells us the latter. Life (primitive life) arose on Earth very soon after Earth became suitable for life.

 

To say that life is common in the universe we will need to find signs of life in some other star system.

 

 


stuff[/hr]A couple of other random thoughts

 

1. If we found that Mars life is based on left-handed organic molecules that would be interesting and rather telling.

 

2. Finding life on Mars would almost certainly put the kibosh on Mars Society's grandiose plans for colonizing/terraforming Mars. Heck, it would probably put the kibosh on NASA's long-term plans for human visitations to Mars.

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To me that seems a big jump. Life in the Solar system other than on Earth may "suggest" that there could be life outside the Solar system, but I would not say that by itself it is evidence.

 

If it happened twice in our solar system with out Panspermiam, it would have happened under two very different and possibly extreme conditions. That tells me it could easily happen often if the conditions were even close to right. The current #'s used in the Drake equation suggest there are at least 1,200,000,000 solar systems in the Milky Way alone with potential for life.

 

I posted my second post in this thread without reading the material first. It will not let me edit it for some reason. Will I ever learn. :)

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2. Finding life on Mars would almost certainly put the kibosh on Mars Society's grandiose plans for colonizing/terraforming Mars. Heck, it would probably put the kibosh on NASA's long-term plans for human visitations to Mars.

 

Can you elaborate on this? I see no reason that finding life on mars would interfere with plans to colonize mars (admittedly I don't thin colonizing planets will ever be a big thing due to it being easier to build free artificial colonies) Life on mars would probably make it more likely we would want to put a base there to study it and a permanent base could be the beginning of a colony.

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Actually there is reason to think life could be transfered from one planet to anther through impacts, see this link.

 

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/080916-st-space-life.html

 

Interesting, Maybe not impossible but not likely. It seems if the outbound trip didn't get you the re-entry would. Even the very unlikely most direct route would leave you in space a long time.

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Interesting, Maybe not impossible but not likely. It seems if the outbound trip didn't get you the re-entry would. Even the very unlikely most direct route would leave you in space a long time.

 

Did we read the same link? It's very likely to happen, rocks stay cold inside through the entire ordeal both being launched and reentry, and being inside a rock protects the bacteria or spore or maybe even tardigrades. Most of the objections to life trveling from the Earth to say Mars or vice versa was due to UV radiation but inside a rock UV is no problem.

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Did we read the same link? It's very likely to happen, rocks stay cold inside through the entire ordeal both being launched and reentry, and being inside a rock protects the bacteria or spore or maybe even tardigrades. Most of the objections to life trveling from the Earth to say Mars or vice versa was due to UV radiation but inside a rock UV is no problem.

----

Quotes from the article:

"remained cool enough during its violent ejection from the red planet and its fiery trip through our atmosphere 16 million years later to sustain life â€" were there any aboard."

 

"Now we know that species from three very different organism groups â€" bacteria, lichens and invertebrate animals â€" are able to survive at least short periods under space vacuum and also under some restricted conditions of solar radiation," said K. Ingemar Jonsson

 

"Equally important, the creature needs a hospitable environment upon arrival."

----

A few thought are:

This space rock would endure temperatures from hotter then boiling water to very very cold. I do not see how life could remain frozen and dormant or unfrozen and dormant under those conditions. If it wasn't dormant it would have to eat, reproduce, get old and die. 16 million years is a long time.

 

Second and third paragraphs are not convincing me that it is likely either.

 

Interesting, possible but I am far from convinced that it is likely.

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----

Quotes from the article:

"remained cool enough during its violent ejection from the red planet and its fiery trip through our atmosphere 16 million years later to sustain life â€" were there any aboard."

 

"Now we know that species from three very different organism groups â€" bacteria, lichens and invertebrate animals â€" are able to survive at least short periods under space vacuum and also under some restricted conditions of solar radiation," said K. Ingemar Jonsson

 

"Equally important, the creature needs a hospitable environment upon arrival."

----

A few thought are:

This space rock would endure temperatures from hotter then boiling water to very very cold. I do not see how life could remain frozen and dormant or unfrozen and dormant under those conditions. If it wasn't dormant it would have to eat, reproduce, get old and die. 16 million years is a long time.

 

Second and third paragraphs are not convincing me that it is likely either.

 

Interesting, possible but I am far from convinced that it is likely.

 

So one rock that was in space for 16 million years is a deal breaker for you? Bacteria in salt formations many millions of years old have been revived, other bacteria live and grow at temps above 200c a rock could very likely take much less than 16 million years to ride out the trip from mars to the Earth or back. i can think of many life forms that could conceivably survive such a trip. spores of bacteria, spores of ferns, moss, lichens, tardigrades can survive very high temps and dessication for very long periods of time. Even Brine shrimp eggs can with stand vacuum and long periods of dessication. I don't think such a transfer can be ignored, it's likely hood is based on lots of variables many of which are in favor of such a transfer.

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