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

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So one rock that was in space for 16 million years is a deal breaker for you? ...

It could be 100 years or millions of years. Space is a harsh and life surviving would surprise me. It seems some share your view so you are not alone but I am a little more pessimistic. I am not sure why life would be in the center of a rock anyway. I would like to see NASA prepare a big rock with life in it and see what's left after reentry. They could put in a low Earth orbit so it could endure space for awhile and controlled retro rockets could bring it home in a safe location. A positive test would make many open their eyes.

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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.

 

From one extreme to another,

  1. We shouldn't terraform Mars no matter what, even if it's sterile.
  2. If Mars has life, we shouldn't terraform Mars, doubly so if the life is non-terrestrial in nature. Variants:

    1. If Mars has life, we should leave Mars alone. Period.
    2. If Mars has life, we should study it but only with unmanned probes that are completely and thoroughly sterilized multiple times during the fabrication process and a few more times on the way to Mars.
    3. If Mars has life, it is obviously in trouble. We should aeroform Mars (make it more suitable for Mars life).
    4. If Mars has life, limited human missions to Mars are acceptable if we take extreme cautions to ensure that we don't introduce any terrestrial life to Mars.

[*]If Mars has life, we can still terraform Mars, but we should make little enclaves for those obviously dwindling remnants of Mars life. If doing so doesn't cost too much.

[*]If Mars has life, we should commit xenocide.

 

 

Some reading material:

 

"Ethics of terraformation"

http://library.thinkquest.org/C003763/index.php?page=terraform02

A summary article. Use this to get a flavor of the debate. From the article, "The vast majority of Mars scientists and planetary biologists belong to the 'Green' camp in that they believe that Mars should be made 'green'. They have several impressive arguments in their arsenal. ... The 'Red' camp, in the minority, is adamantly opposed to the terraformation of Mars. 'Reds' believe that humans have no right to essentially destroy the current face of Mars just for our own concerns, and that we should preserve it in its current state so that we might conduct scientific experiments and learn more about the planet."

 

David Grinspoon, "Is Mars Ours? The logistics and ethics of colonizing the red planet", Slate, 2004.

http://www.slate.com/id/2093579/

Dr. Grinspoon is the Curator of Astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and has served on multiple NASA and ESA interplanetary science teams. From the article, "But before we go there and set up greenhouses, dance clubs, and falafel stands, let's make sure that, in some subtle form that could be harmed by the human hubbub, life does not already exist there."

 

Dave Brody, "Terraforming: Human Destiny or Hubris?", adAstra Online

http://www.space.com/adastra/adastra_terraforming_brody-1.html

Summarizes the debate between Chris McKay, astrogeophysicist at NASA Ames and Bob Zubrin, President of the Mars Society. Zubrin ranks as a high 3 on my scale. McKay, 2c.

 

"Ethics of terraforming", redcolony.com

http://www.redcolony.com/art.php?id=0107290

This article does a semi-decent job of presenting both sides given that redcolony.com is a rabidly pro-terraforming site.

 

"Ethics of terraforming", Wikipiedia

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

Listed only because Wikipedia has an article on everything.

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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.

 

Many thing, including:

For some reason, even searching for life on mars results in bundles of grant money.

Also, searching for life is extremely inspirational for many people.

Show that mars can support life, so that should mean it has all it needs to support us when we colonize.

Mars life would likely be very different from ours, and therefore very interesting to study. Think new addition above the level of domain (domain level is Archea, Bacteria, and Eukarya (which is both plants and animals)). Ie, it could be the first alien species we find.

If the life is related to earth life, it would show that primitive life is capable of space travel. There is are the possibilities that earth life could have survived a trip to mars, mars life might survive a trip to earth, or life could survive interstellar travel.

It would put another nail in the coffin of geocentrism. Everyone who thinks we are so special because we have life would have to rethink.

Would be considered by most a triumph of evolution over religion, though religious people will just say god created mars life but neglected to mention it. Possibly one of the sources of funding for the search.

If the life is not related to earth life, it would show the probability of life forming is extremely high (or we are very unique in having not one but two unlikely events). This would then relate again to religion, and also to our chances of finding intelligent life elsewhere.

Edited by Mr Skeptic

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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. :)

 

This is the word; could.

 

Of course finding life on Mars would be very encouraging . It should be considered as "circumstantial evidence"/"plausibility argument" as to the existence of life outside the Solar system and should be seen as a great motivator to further exobiology in general.

 

I don't mean to sound too skeptical about the existence of alien life, just it would be wrong to draw such huge conclusions from finding life in the Solar system.

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I believe that Life started as a simple organic mass which underwent reactions during a course of time to form a Cell.

 

if this theory is to be proved correct, then the same reactions that took place to form a cell on earth must have occurred on another Planet some where in the Universe as long as it has similar conditions as those of earth.

 

so proving that their is life on Mars might prove that this theory is correct. so it might answer the question of where we came from.

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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

 

 

unfortunately they(Missionaries and Terrorists ) created a dirty image..

actually, I am a muslim but ..I think,the greatest holy book to be read is human being

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From one extreme to another,
  1. We shouldn't terraform Mars no matter what, even if it's sterile.
  2. If Mars has life, we shouldn't terraform Mars, doubly so if the life is non-terrestrial in nature. Variants:

    1. If Mars has life, we should leave Mars alone. Period.
    2. If Mars has life, we should study it but only with unmanned probes that are completely and thoroughly sterilized multiple times during the fabrication process and a few more times on the way to Mars.
    3. If Mars has life, it is obviously in trouble. We should aeroform Mars (make it more suitable for Mars life).
    4. If Mars has life, limited human missions to Mars are acceptable if we take extreme cautions to ensure that we don't introduce any terrestrial life to Mars.

[*]If Mars has life, we can still terraform Mars, but we should make little enclaves for those obviously dwindling remnants of Mars life. If doing so doesn't cost too much.

[*]If Mars has life, we should commit xenocide.

 

 

Some reading material:

 

"Ethics of terraformation"

http://library.thinkquest.org/C003763/index.php?page=terraform02

A summary article. Use this to get a flavor of the debate. From the article, "The vast majority of Mars scientists and planetary biologists belong to the 'Green' camp in that they believe that Mars should be made 'green'. They have several impressive arguments in their arsenal. ... The 'Red' camp, in the minority, is adamantly opposed to the terraformation of Mars. 'Reds' believe that humans have no right to essentially destroy the current face of Mars just for our own concerns, and that we should preserve it in its current state so that we might conduct scientific experiments and learn more about the planet."

 

David Grinspoon, "Is Mars Ours? The logistics and ethics of colonizing the red planet", Slate, 2004.

http://www.slate.com/id/2093579/

Dr. Grinspoon is the Curator of Astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and has served on multiple NASA and ESA interplanetary science teams. From the article, "But before we go there and set up greenhouses, dance clubs, and falafel stands, let's make sure that, in some subtle form that could be harmed by the human hubbub, life does not already exist there."

 

Dave Brody, "Terraforming: Human Destiny or Hubris?", adAstra Online

http://www.space.com/adastra/adastra_terraforming_brody-1.html

Summarizes the debate between Chris McKay, astrogeophysicist at NASA Ames and Bob Zubrin, President of the Mars Society. Zubrin ranks as a high 3 on my scale. McKay, 2c.

 

"Ethics of terraforming", redcolony.com

http://www.redcolony.com/art.php?id=0107290

This article does a semi-decent job of presenting both sides given that redcolony.com is a rabidly pro-terraforming site.

 

"Ethics of terraforming", Wikipiedia

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

Listed only because Wikipedia has an article on everything.

 

You make some good points but I don't think they will get much support unless mars has intelligent life. The position of totally hands off mars is an extreme view much like the people who think we should never harm another creature even if it means our own death. A few fanatical people might argue strongly for that philosophy but few will support it. On the other hand artificial space colonies would negate the need for colonizing planets at all so it's probably a moot argument.

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You make some good points but I don't think they will get much support unless mars has intelligent life. The position of totally hands off mars is an extreme view much like the people who think we should never harm another creature even if it means our own death. A few fanatical people might argue strongly for that philosophy but few will support it. On the other hand artificial space colonies would negate the need for colonizing planets at all so it's probably a moot argument.

Many of the leading space authorities are quite concerned about what terrestrial contamination will do to Mars life, even microbial life. Limiting terrestrial impact on extra-terrestrial life is far from a fringe position. It is Standard Operating Procedure. All probes sent to Mars are assembled in ultra clean room conditions and all equipment are sterilized before going into those rooms. There is one and only one reason for doing this: to prevent contaminating Mars with terrestrial life.

 

BTW, I never stated my opinion on this debate. I merely stated that the concern exists and that discovery of life on Mars will have a big impact on future plans for human activity on Mars.

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We might have to invent new ways to exterminate this new life form. Perhaps this would not be headline news, but surely a couple of defense ministries would find funcing for projects like that.

 

In stead of worrying about us killing the life on Mars, many will worry about Mars' life killing us. I'm sure this would also be investigated.

 

We're only worried about killing the life on Mars because we haven't found it yet, and therefore we cannot investigate the more obvious things.

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In stead of worrying about us killing the life on Mars, many will worry about Mars' life killing us. I'm sure this would also be investigated...

 

Exactly! Not that they expected life on the moon but the astronauts were quarantined after the first moon trip. Who were we protecting? Us or them?

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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.

 

You know, you're probably right. Stupid Prime Directive.

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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

Highly doubtful. They would just claim Panspermia (from Earth). Some of them have already changed the story to fit Earth's time scale of many billion years. Nothing's going to stop them from changing it again.

 

(you know, sort of like the WMD rationale kept "evolving" for Iraq -- pun half intended ;))

 

Same with exoplanets.

 

But I think a discovery of life will help science, though.

 

Even religion, perhaps.

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