Re. Brian, #59
At last, another poster (along with AC) who, although convinced of the merits of the current paradigm, seems willing to at least look at the claims of the other side. Bravo!
"... I personally put the concept of living berries in the same category as the worms, spiders and bones that some posters at this site seem to find littering the martian surface"
The concept of living berries is very highly speculative. However, I think it differs from the "worms, spiders and bones" discoveries, in that I am recognizing that any putative Mars lifeform at or near the surface must differ significantly from Earth life in most respects even though it may be similar to earth life in a few respects.
I've asked myself, If the postulate that methane and formaldehyde is coming from living things turns out to be true and if Gil Levins LR results have any validity, what are the features that we see on the ground that might possibly point to living organisms on the surface of Mars?
I look at Meridiani planum and see the ubiquitous berries, looking for all the world like a layer of martian grass covering the plain.
I note that the berries all appear to come from an underlying matrix, even when they seem to originate from the surface of rocks.
I note Henry and Marsmans measurement data that suggests that these things do not operate in the same statistical framework as rocks, lapilli and Earths concretions, but do operate in the framework of biology like onions and crinoid stems.
I note that reputable scientists are at odds with the accepted explanations for the concretion thesis of blueberry formation.
I note that other reputable scientists have discounted the theory that blueberries are analagous to lapilli.
I note the presence of stalks on some berries that appear to be quite dissimilar to the stalks on earth's concretions.
I note that some broken berries appear to have an internal structure analagous to pachytheca hooker.
I note that most pictures of berry fields show a significant number of damaged and degraded berries and that the berries in the most recent release seem to have been quite easily scraped showing an internal structure.
I consider therefore that the validity of the current hypothesis that berries were formed de. nove several billion years ago is unlikely to be true if the berries that we see today can be degraded quite easily.
I note that the Opportunity instrument suite cannot give a full picture of the chemical constituents of the blueberries
I note that the Opportunity instruments are also incapable of determining if Organic chemicals are there or not.
I note that the Opportunity instruments cannot and have not been able to confirm the existence of superoxides on the surface of Mars
I note that there seems to be good evidence for the episodic flow of water on the Martian surface.
I have many other notes. Most of them indicate that the current default hypothesis needs some work to cover all the bases.
So I came up with the highly speculative live berry hyperspeculation. Chances are that it is totally incorrect, but it may, on the other hand, turn out to be in better accord with the facts and observations than the Concretion hypothesis when we get a better equipped rover to Meridiani. I am not trying to impose an earthcentric biology on Mars.
"I support without reservation your right to express an opinion and to have a belief in living berries. I would just wish that the posts expressing these opinions were supported by logic or reasoned argument"
My hyperspeculation about living berries, is just that, a highly speculative proposal. It does not rise to the level of a belief as I can walk away from it if you provide facts which invalidate it. I have not seen those facts so far.
Do you think that logic and reasoned arguments must be in total accord with the tenets of the current default hypothesis?
"....Else if an image does arise with a potential marker for life, the 'boy who cried wolf' syndrome will ensure that it is not taken seriously"
Could that image above only be valid if it is something you recognize like a fossilized hominid skull? In my view, there have been several images, which have been discarded, that looked like possible candidates for life and would have been investigated if the objective of the Mission was anything other than finding clues to ancient water. There are images, especially over the past few weeks, that suggest a non-geological origin of the textures etc. contained therein, but I'm sure Squyers et al will continue to insist that they have seen no evidence of biology, and indeed, they have'nt seen any such evidence, for earth biology, that is.