Author Topic: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.  (Read 10885 times)

Offline aero

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3025
  • 92129
  • Liked: 816
  • Likes Given: 288
What if we found a variety of fossilized bones of large and small life forms on Mars? Would we study them or decide they proved that microbial life must still exist somewhere on or in Mars, and ban further investigation?

Or would we decide that dominant life forms were extinct therefore Mars is a dead world available to us for the taking?
Retired, working interesting problems

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9176
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 623
  • Likes Given: 339
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #1 on: 06/23/2012 02:18 pm »
If we found that evidence, then we should build that orbiting, manned ring station that I keep on talking about, and get cracking on determining its current status, living or dead, and whether or not it represented a second genesis, all to be done by unmanned, extremely sterile, surface rovers.

But that can't be planned until after that "solid, indisputable" evidence is found.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline aero

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3025
  • 92129
  • Liked: 816
  • Likes Given: 288
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #2 on: 06/23/2012 02:35 pm »
Maybe that's what we should do, I don't think it's what would happen.

I think that indisputable evidence of past life on Mars would prove to the satisfaction of many, that Mars could be revived to a living world at some level of "living." Unless we put a large policing force in place (not at all likely, IMO), some would try to go. Others would want to find and sell real, authentic Mars fossils to collectors, while others would sell fake Mars fossils to the gullible. But Mars would be overrun in the end.
Retired, working interesting problems

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9176
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 623
  • Likes Given: 339
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #3 on: 06/24/2012 01:53 pm »
Maybe that's what we should do, I don't think it's what would happen.

I initially took your remark at face value, considering our current political environment, and found myself agreeing in principle, but with a different take on the subsequent actions.

Maybe that's what we should do, I don't think it's what would happen, because our government, assuming a continuation of its apparent dysfunction, will not be likely to come to an agreement for the best way forward, should some marsosaur bone be found.

Your tentative vision of the future could come to pass, I suppose, but you don't have to worry that Mars will be overrun by people anytime soon.  For there to be any mass exodus with chemical rocketry from here to there, even granting the proper construction of rockets and habitats and so forth, there would have to be a pretty powerful world government here first.  It would have to be almost pharoanic (sp?) in its capability to organize the population, by compulsion, no doubt, to embark on such a project.

Backing up to my contention about our dysfunctional government not finding a way forward in the event you postulate.  There is a culture clash here between the scientificists and some religionists.  The political tension between these two vocal groups would have to be somehow resolved before our government could create a forward policy in the first place.

That's about all I'll speculate on.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline aero

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3025
  • 92129
  • Liked: 816
  • Likes Given: 288
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #4 on: 06/24/2012 03:13 pm »
Maybe that's what we should do, I don't think it's what would happen.

I initially took your remark at face value, considering our current political
... ...
Your tentative vision of the future could come to pass, I suppose, but you don't have to worry that Mars will be overrun by people anytime soon.
...
That's about all I'll speculate on.

Yes, over run is far to strong. It will amount to a few, a few dozen or many more, depending on the time frame you consider. But it will be a large enough number of people to thoroughly contaminate the natural Mars environment. JMO
Retired, working interesting problems

Offline Dalhousie

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2210
  • Liked: 330
  • Likes Given: 404
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #5 on: 06/24/2012 09:41 pm »
Why would such a discovery led to a banning of further investigations?
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline Dalhousie

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2210
  • Liked: 330
  • Likes Given: 404
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #6 on: 06/25/2012 11:28 am »
Quote
If life was discovered in fossilized form, the morphology would then be associated to 'something' on Earth. 

Why would the morphology be "associated with "something" on Earth?

Quote
The coupling with Earth native creatures would be established and every sample of that Earth creature would be tested until its extinction in 100 years.

What does "coupling" mean in this context?

Why would Earth creatures be "tested to extinction"


Quote
Then, somebody is going to have to explain how that creature evolved in such a rapid way in a Pre-Noahcian era on Mars.

Why would martian fossils have to be "pre-Noachian"?

Where on Mars would we find even "pre-Noachian" rocks?

Quote
During this time frame, nothing is known to have existed on Earth in microbial form.

We don't know when life appeared on Earth, only that it appeared prior to 3.4 Ga and after 4.5 Ga

Quote
So it would be a substantial blow to the theory of evolution.

How would finding fossils on Mars of any age be a "blow to the theory of evolution"?

Quote
The origin would be the next topic to determine, which I would claim could only be substantiated using a time machine.

We don't need a time machine to study the history of life on Earth, why would we need one on Mars?
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline Dalhousie

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2210
  • Liked: 330
  • Likes Given: 404
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #7 on: 06/25/2012 11:37 am »
Quote
Those people from the TV show Ancient Aliens will be dancing in the streets telling everyone 'I told you so'. 

Who cares what the lunatic fringe thinks?

Quote
Unfortunately I fear that if something is found that is microbial and living, this would become the next biggest thing in military research.  Mars would be owned by the military/united nations in 5 years maximum.

Why would they do this?

Quote
I think there are more important things to research under NASA in the trans nepunian domain.

What do you think exists in transneptuanian space that is more important to research than a planet which is much closer and more accessible, has a history in many ways similar to ours, is also one that can, with current levels of technology, be explored by astronauts, and is relevant to a vast range of scientific disciplines?

Quote
If there ever is a Mars mission.  That would be the last.

There ave been dozens of Mars missions?  Why should another one be the last?

Quote
This manned ring station is about as close as well potentially see in our lifetime.  Don't think going to the surface is a wise idea.

Most people to have studied the idea disagree.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9176
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 623
  • Likes Given: 339
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #8 on: 06/25/2012 01:24 pm »
I think this is a hot topic.   :P

1) If life was discovered in fossilized form, the morphology would then be associated to 'something' on Earth.  2) The coupling with Earth native creatures would be established and every sample of that Earth creature would be tested until its extinction in 100 years.

3) Then, somebody is going to have to explain how that creature evolved in such a rapid way in a Pre-Noahcian era on Mars.  During this time frame, nothing is known to have existed on Earth in microbial form. So it would be a substantial blow to the theory of evolution.  The origin would be the next topic to determine, which I would claim could only be substantiated using a time machine.

4) Those people from the TV show Ancient Aliens will be dancing in the streets telling everyone 'I told you so'. 

5) Unfortunately I fear that if something is found that is microbial and living, this would become the next biggest thing in military research.  Mars would be owned by the military/united nations in 5 years maximum.

6) I think there are more important things to research under NASA in the trans nepunian [gotta be neptunian, right?] domain. If there ever is a Mars mission.  That would be the last.

7) This manned ring station is about as close as well potentially see in our lifetime.  Don't think going to the surface is a wise idea.

Not a bad few observations there.

1) If there should be found an undiputable organic macroscale fossil, the rest of the skeleton will probably be nearby.  It will certainly, as you suggest, be compared with our own fossils; what else could it be compared with?

2) This, however, doesn't make much sense without further clarification.

3) Bingo.  We don't have a mechanism for hypothesizing the "origin of the species" down here.  There would be an outburst of study on this issue.  The chances seem very low, based on what we've seen so far.  The planet has been only cursorily explored, and NASA seems bored, suggesting that we should, in pragmatic effect, forget about Mars, and go perform a superficial search of Europa.

4) I agree that these people will start acting out insufferably.

5) CHM and all that.

6) Again, why should NASA design a superficial exploration mission to a more distant locale, leaving the nearby one, Mars in this example, incompletely surveyed?

7) Thank you. 

NASA is not going about exploration in a thorough fashion.  Nor is it attempting to solve the problem of a permanent human presence in space in a way that would include people in general.  NASA should be opening up the new frontier, kickstarting a new economy, and enabling private individuals the opportunities that have only been granted to a few.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline IRobot

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1296
  • Portugal & Germany
  • Liked: 296
  • Likes Given: 262
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #9 on: 06/25/2012 02:01 pm »
I think religious movements would try to block any further exploration.

The catholic church has no problem with that. It supports the evolution and the big bang theories, for example.
But most Protestant, Muslim, Jewish leaders would have a hard time coping with it.

Online Chris Bergin

Oh no, not one of these threads! :o

The only religious references I want to see on this site is "God Speed".

Offline brihath

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 878
  • Liked: 19
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #11 on: 06/25/2012 02:23 pm »
If evidence of life Mars were discovered, I would be surprised to see some kind of "global epiphany" as a result.  Sure, there will be an OMG moment, but I would view it in the context of other major changes in the world, such as the discovery of nuclear fission, the discovery of extra solar planets, or the coding of complete DNA sequences.  For the great majority, it will be but one more big news item that gets everybody's attention for a few days.

The reaction that is most important is that of the scientific community and how further investigations will be carried out to further characterize the evidence and draw conclusions from it.  Governments will have to determine how to fund further investigations and carry them out without contaminating the Martian surface with our own micro-organisms.

As far as the philosophical or religious implications of that discovery, well, I'll leave that to the philosophers and theologians.  They have dealt with big changes in the past and will adapt to future changes, too...whatever they may be. 

Offline Apollo-phill

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 508
  • UK
  • Liked: 115
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #12 on: 06/25/2012 02:28 pm »
What if we found a variety of fossilized bones of large and small life forms on Mars? Would we study them or decide they proved that microbial life must still exist somewhere on or in Mars, and ban further investigation?

Or would we decide that dominant life forms were extinct therefore Mars is a dead world available to us for the taking?

You mean something like this shown in this oil on canvas painting I commissioned some years ago now ! [original in colour]

Image NOT to be reproduced anywhere without my permission (usually granted).

Phill Parker

Online Chris Bergin

Wow, that's nice, Phill!

Offline Apollo-phill

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 508
  • UK
  • Liked: 115
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #14 on: 06/25/2012 07:25 pm »
Wow, that's nice, Phill!

Thanks Chris for those remarks.

I produced the original idea and pencil sketch (more like a doodle since I'm no artist - just ideas man !!) from which my space artist friend Andy would do a "rough" sketch. After several "tweeks" by me, I would give Andy go ahead to produce final oil on canvas in colour.

Andy has a heritadary genetic disease and because of it he has recently had to give up on using real paintbrushes and canvas. Now he has moved to producing digital art work using his computer.

I commissioned over 150 space artwork from him over a 20 year period .

Some of these have been on display at spaceflight exhibitions I have done  in UK over the years.

Topics covered include early re-useable project ideas (MUSTARD,Astron)
some Saturn V rocket paintings, Apollo subjects (like LM landing, computer systems), Gemini, Russian programs (MIR,Luna 9 ,manned lunar lander,etc) ,Moon bases, Mars bases and Mars terraforming. Other paintings go 'further out' to Jupiter and even the stars !

If someone in UK can come up with a suitable venue (museum, city hall) I would be willing to display some of the best space canvases for enjoyment.

Just email me !


Phill





Offline cosmicvoid

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 131
  • Seattle 'ish
  • Liked: 23
  • Likes Given: 35
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #15 on: 06/26/2012 07:35 am »
... Trans nepunian research is providing ACTUAL evidence for a potential discovery.
This sounds like a lot of armwaving. What actual evidence are you referring to?
Infiinity or bust.

Offline IRobot

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1296
  • Portugal & Germany
  • Liked: 296
  • Likes Given: 262
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #16 on: 06/26/2012 10:20 am »
Well to me, if you can show that a life form was capable of evolving almost one to five orders of magnitude faster than what may have happened on Earth.... you have a problem.  Because if one species has gained full technological capabilities several millions of years earlier than the other... you cannot simply argue away intelligent design.
Sure, intelligent design made by aliens with lots of tentacles.

Superior technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Offline Dalhousie

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2210
  • Liked: 330
  • Likes Given: 404
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #17 on: 06/26/2012 10:29 am »
Why would such a discovery led to a banning of further investigations?
Dalhousie...
You must read the techinque called the five whys by Toyoda.  It not only answers some of the problem, but also provides a solution.  Here is a Wikipedia link in a language that you can more easily understand:

 http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/5_Why's

Nice summary but I lecture on this stuff frequently.

You still haven’t answered the question:

Why would such a discovery led to a banning of further investigations?

Quote
Now.  What evidence in the universe would be a blow to the 'theory' of evolution.  Apparently most of the evolutionists believe their theory is absolute.  All evidence must is held guilty until proven innocent.  Pretty much like a Klingon court of law.

Science is not determined by courts “Klingon” or otherwise, but by evidence.

We have overwhelming evidence for the fact of organic evolution on Earth, although the details are constantly being revised with better knowledge.  Whether life (if there is any) elsewhere would evolve in the same way or at the same rate, we don’t know.

There is nothing absolute about evolution.   

Quote
Well to me, if you can show that a life form was capable of evolving almost one to five orders of magnitude faster than what may have happened on Earth.... you have a problem. 

We don’t know whether the rates we see on Earth are universal or contingent.  Such a discovery would be interesting and important, not a problem.

Quote
Because if one species has gained full technological capabilities several millions of years earlier than the other... you cannot simply argue away intelligent design.

Suddenly you have introduced “full technological capabilities”.  This is a red herring.  Nobody has talked about technological remains on Mars in this thread.  The OP says:

What if we found a variety of fossilized bones of large and small life forms on Mars? Would we study them or decide they proved that microbial life must still exist somewhere on or in Mars, and ban further investigation?

No technology, only fossils.  You are trying to derail the discussion into irrelevancies and pure cloud cuckoo land.

“Intelligent design”?  Did you miss Chris’s direct about not having religious discussions?

Quote
Trans nepunian research is providing ACTUAL evidence for a potential discovery.  The search for life on Mars is only a 'snipe' hunt.  Actual evidence trumps wishful thinking everytime (except when you are being tried in a Klingon court).

“Trans Neptunian research” has not the topic of this thread, another attempt to derail the discussion.  Please keep to the point.  If you want to discussion something beyond Neptune start your own thread.  But not here, not in this part of the forum.  Not that you have provided the slightest evidence to support you claims of “actual evidence”, despite being asked to.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9176
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 623
  • Likes Given: 339
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #18 on: 06/26/2012 02:46 pm »
If evidence of life Mars were discovered ... there will be an OMG moment...

The tweeters will overpower the servers at the twitters.  The resulting power surge will take out the googols.  As the googols collapse, the banking sytem will get overrun by people making electronic inquiries, triggering a run on the banks.  As the people run, they will cause the Earth to vibrate at a "special frequency" causing widespread earthquakes.  Locusts will crawl out from their subterranean habitats... 

It will just be an awful mess...

...this oil on canvas painting ...

This may come as no surprise to some, but...

I don't get it.   Izzat supposed to be Archeopteryx?
« Last Edit: 06/26/2012 02:47 pm by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Dalhousie

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2210
  • Liked: 330
  • Likes Given: 404
Re: IF we found solid, indisputable evidence of life on Mars.
« Reply #19 on: 06/27/2012 04:08 am »
... Trans nepunian research is providing ACTUAL evidence for a potential discovery.
This sounds like a lot of armwaving. What actual evidence are you referring to?
Just hit TNO or trans neptunian object into Google News.  Here is what I got that was hot off the press as of eight hours ago:

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2012/06261021-salacia.html

A month ago, a presentation was given about orbital variations of Sedna.  The conclusion was something bigger than Earth past our solar system.  Will find that link later....

TNOs are much more difficult targets to explore than Mars.  We are only just at the flyby stage of exploration, on a time scale of decades.  And you think we should stop exploring Mars which is closer, more diverse, more accessible, more interesting and well within our capabilities to explore using rovers, relatively deep drills, sample return missions, and with crewed missions because....?

Quote

So to the thread. 

There hasn't been even a hint of life, habitability or the actual discovery of accessible resources such as water on Mars since we've landed in 1976. 

Where were you when MGS mapped recent gullies formed by flowing water and MRO imaged show ice in mid latitudes and documented gully flows and water striae?  Or the rock glaciers imaged by both?  When Mars Express and several ground-based telescopes discovered localised and secularly variable methane?  The joint hyperspectral data from MRO and Mars Express regarding widespread clays? When Phoenix imaged shallow ice and brine droplets and discovered perchlorates?  Or the Opportunity when it imaged water-laid deposits and evidence of complex water-based diagenesis?  Spirit, when it discovered hydrothermal silica? Did you miss Mars Odyssey finding widespread shallow ice in both hemispheres?

Abundant evidence on habitability (ice, liquid water, perchlorates, methane) and resources for human use (methane, ice), possible indirect evidence for life (the methane).

Quote
This would be like saying.... We need to go find a pink elephant in the zoo.  Has anyone seen the pink elephant?  No, but we're going to keep looking because that is 'science'.

I suggest you research a bit more before making such statements.

"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Tags: