Thursday, June 7, 2018

Mars' Carbon Footprint

Here's a bit of news that I find very exciting- NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover detected carbon-based molecules in sedimentary rocks on Mars and seasonal methane variations in the Martian atmosphere. While this doesn't mean that NASA discovered life on Mars, it does mean that, at least at one time, life was possible on Mars. With the discovery of these tantalizing hints that life may have existed on Mars, the Mars 2020 Rover mission takes on a renewed urgency.

I periodically blog about Mars- in fact, Mars came up as a subject of last month's Secret Science Club lecture. I feel that humanity eventually needs to get it's ass together and colonize other planets, or put succinctly:

Learning more about the red planet is crucial for humanity's long-term goals, especially in light of stupid geopolitical events, which are increasingly looking like an explanation for the Fermi Paradox.


mikey said...

Were you really excited?

Because I found it to be so obviously certain as to be meaningless.

Of COURSE Mars supported bacterial organisms when it had water.

If there's one thing we learn from the earth, it's that life forms and starts to evolve under virtually ANY conditions provided there is a source of energy and some shielding from radiation.

When we eventually discover extra-terrestrial life, it will be single celled bacterial or mold-like species. And we WILL discover it, not on Mars but perhaps on Europa or Titan. But does it MEAN anything? Do we learn anything from it? If we already know that such life will ALWAYS form when possible, everywhere in the universe, it doesn't seem very exciting to me.

Of course, get me a crab or a dolphin-sort of thing on Europa, or a rat-like creature, something complex and evolved, and I'll be STOKED. But like the 'discovery' of the Top Quark or the Higgs Boson, finding something we already know exists is kind of anti-climactic....

Anonymous said...

The naked killer apes must not be allowed to metastasize off this planet. They have ruined their home planet and so they must live and die with the consequences of their evil. Humanity is a cancer and Mother Nature wants us dead. But Mother Nature isn't trying hard enough.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I was excited, but not surprised... it's another piece in the puzzle regarding the possible ubiquity of life. I'm particularly elated about the prospect of finding microbial fossils and seeing what sort of genetic material they have, what sort of parallel evolution could have occurred on another planet.

I dunno, NonnyMouse, I think you'd be more comfortable at M. Bouffant's place.