Why is the question of life on mars important? - Page 2

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Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 21

PostPosted: March 31, 2005 12:14 PM 

Life on Mars is important because it is the first direct evidence that we have ever found that might give us insight into Life in the universe. The next big question is how is Mars life related to Earth life. If it turns out to have ribosomes and nucleic acids then we will probably conclude that it shares an ancestry with Earth life, and that the likelihood of interplanetary dispersion of life is greater than we thought. If it seems to be based on a completely different biochemistry, especially for reproduction, then we will conclude that life can appear spontaneously more easily than we thought, which would be an even bigger surprise, at least to me. I did not expect to see any significant progress on solving these mysteries in my lifetime, so I am thrilled that I may yet get to know a partial answer to one of the really big questions.

Extra Sense

Posts: 1471

Reply: 22

PostPosted: March 31, 2005 12:56 PM 


without Christianity, you would be probably dead by now, one way or another, if you over 40


r lewis

Posts: no

Reply: 23

PostPosted: March 31, 2005 2:00 PM 

Well, ES, see my comments on the treatment of Galileo.

That beign said, I did intend to provok some religious debate, although perhaps I went to far. MY real intent is that the discovery of life on Mars would asy a lot about the origin of life in the universe, and also soem variable in the Drake equation.

Now, DX says he does not believe there are other advanced civilizations in the universe, but we have already discovered many nearby planetary systems, see my other (poor neglected) thread

New extra solar planets discovered

I think one of the most interesting things is that, of the 150+ nearby planetary systems discovered so far, 22 of these are potentially habitable. This meanse either there are known plaents in stable orbits in the habitable zone of the parent star, or there may be smaller terrestiral planets (too small to detect with current methods) in the HZ. Now, MOST of these new systems are within only 100 ly of earth, because it is much easier to detect planets around nearby stars, so what does that say for the numbe rof potentially habitable systems just in our galaxy? IF we have already discovered 22 nearby potentially habitable planetary systems, there must be millions of such star systems in the galaxy.

Drake equation

Here is a quote from the wikipedia discussion of the factor fl, the fraction of potentially habitable planets on which life woudl evolve.

"What evidence is currently visible to humanity suggests that fl is very high; life on Earth appears to have begun almost immediately after conditions arrived in which it was possible, suggesting that abiogenesis is relatively "easy" once conditions are right. But this evidence is limited in scope, and so this term remains in considerable dispute. One piece of data which would have major impact on this term is the controversy over whether there is evidence of life on Mars. The conclusion that life on Mars developed independently from life on Earth would argue for a high value for this term."

Now this is important since evidence now shows that in the past Mars was a potnetially habitable planet, since it could support liquid water, according to the definition used in the Drake equation, so if fl is 1, as sugested, then life should have evolved on Mars. If life did not evolve on Mars, the fl must be at least 0.5. But I thiink life DID evolve on mars, it is an important question to answer.

The problem with the Drake equation is that many of the importnat factors are wild guesses, but you can modify it to simply estimate the number of planets with advanced life, that is multicellular organisms.

I disgaree with some of the factors as stated in the wikipedia discussion. Namely, about 1 in 5 known planetary systems may support habitable planets, but 4 out of 5 known systems either have stars with unacceptable or erratic radiation or giant planets in eccentric orbits which preclude any stable orbits in the HZ. However, most of 22 potentially habitable planetary systems have super giant planets in the HZ, which we would expect to have MANY potentially habitable moons, so after balancing these two observations, I think the "ne" factor should be .5, not 2..

So, if you only want to know N where N is the number of planets with advanced life forms, not necessaily intelligent civilizations, N is
N = R* * fp * ne * fl * L

Where L should be the length of time where advanced life can survive, a known value of at least 350 million years (so far) on earth, so L = 350,000,000. This gives N = 875,000,000 (that is 875 MILLION) ! Just in our galaxy!.

So, the fl factor is VERY important, and the existence of life on Mars is an important test of that value. If life evolved independently on Mars, lf is probabaly > 0.5. If not, it may be

Even if we assume a more conservative value for fl of 0.5, N is 437 million, and N is 87.5 million if fl is only 0.1.

Now the other factors are more difficult to guess, but I think they are much much larger than the numbers in Drake's original estimate. So, even with a sample of only 87 MILLION planets with life in our galaxy, what are the chances of an advanced civilization arrising on more than one of them?

Extra Sense

Posts: 1471

Reply: 24

PostPosted: March 31, 2005 3:03 PM 


The Drake equation is a stretch.
The chances of communication are probably very, very low.

My gestimate is, that even chances of detection of other solar system civilisation, by its radio trasmissions, are about 0.1% , that's if we are going to watch for it for 1000 years

So, let us better enjoy our Martian neighbors

e Razz s


Posts: no

Reply: 25

PostPosted: March 31, 2005 6:41 PM 

I'm not sure how Christianity has kept anyone alive, exactly. The Romans followed a 'pagan' pantheon of gods for many hundreds of years and invented modern medicine, plumbing, roads.. Once they adopted Christianity as their official religion, they were quickly destroyed by barbarians.

Obviously you were just trolling.

Kye Goodwin

Posts: 1166

Reply: 26

PostPosted: March 31, 2005 8:53 PM 

rlewis, Finding life on Mars greatly increases our hope for life elsewhere whether or not it turns out to be related to Earth life, but I would argue that it is at least as encouraging if it is related than if it is not, because this would prove interplanetary dispersion. So Mars life must have spread to Earth or Earth life to Mars OR maybe Life conquered space a long time before either planet came into existence and has spread everywhere by now. All it takes to conquer space is the capacity to produce lots and lots of propagules with protection from radiation and the ability to remain dormant forever or until the water comes back. Then all such Life has to do is wait for inevitable collisions to provide the ride. If there is surface life on Mars then we will already have an example of life adapted to live in radiation conditions much like open space.

r lewis

Posts: no

Reply: 27

PostPosted: April 6, 2005 4:18 PM 

Excellent point Kye, in fact I think if we do find life on mars that may be the case. What if life evolved on Mars first? Maybe we are all really martians. Ther eis actuaslly good reason to believe that may be true. MArs is smaller and would have formed a solid surface before earth did, so there is a very reasonable chance that life evolved on mars first.


Posts: no

Reply: 28

PostPosted: April 6, 2005 10:23 PM 

Here is a link worth a read for those with an open mind for such things. Warning, it may or may not cause you to reconsider the "facts".


r lewis

Posts: no

Reply: 29

PostPosted: April 7, 2005 4:41 PM 

Interesting, but without evidence claims of intelligent design are no more valid than claims tha, for example, the "crinoid" from sol 34 is a fossil of a primitive multicelluular life form on mars, probabbly 300 million years old or more.

Now, I know I BELIEVE this is true, it really really looks like a fossil to me. But that isn't evidence, either way.


Posts: 3062

Reply: 30

PostPosted: April 7, 2005 7:27 PM 

Hi um3k

re. your 20. I think that any revelation about life on Mars is unlikely to cause any perceptible effect on Christianity or any other major religion. However, I do not agree with you that "no .... religion is likely to bring the ..American.. civilization down".

Bush and his fundamentalist cohorts have already gone a long way to creating significant problems with the entire Muslim world, and with the escalation of reasons for possessing nuclear weapons (you need them not to be attacked by Bush) who knows what the policies of the current administration can lead to?



Posts: 248

Reply: 31

PostPosted: April 7, 2005 7:57 PM 

LOL...halitosis...multi god religions are great, like the hindu religion...well any religion that doesnt decide to save my imortal soul.... then again beer is a great virtue(once a week debauch, clears the brain cells)


Posts: 1661

Reply: 32

PostPosted: April 8, 2005 2:09 PM 


So-called religion has been the downfall of mankind since its inception on the human psychic. The papacy and its holdings are remnants from the 12th century or earlier as are all the others, and should be finally discarded and placed in the wastelands of the dead.

I for 1 do not live, think or OBEY anything in that sense. They killed everyone and anyone (GEEEZZZZZ...just thinking of that idea, presents a genocide of other humans who shouldn't think for themselves...or die)...boy oh boy what a vein to follow...people who pay homage to that nonsense are>>'(expletive deletive)'

I only have 1 thing left to say about it, and that's POLITICS, RELIGION AND THE BEAUTIES OF SCIENCE DO NOT MIX. They never did. Not 1 nano of a molecule in the mix.

The explorational conditions of science will always prevail for the modern thinking man, and as long as I am alive, I will follow that path. There are no other for ME.
Never to mix. Its impossible to think otherwise...but just remember, what YOU think scientifically has an origin in the other 2.

So go down your path of confusion and undisciplined misery, while I will delight in straight forward scientific thought, complete without baggage.



Posts: no

Reply: 33

PostPosted: June 8, 2005 8:15 AM 

The question of life on Mars is important to me because of a deep curiosity I have. I want to KNOW that the data...the images I've been seeing...the discussions here...can verify life. There are many excellent thought-provoking threads whose authors need to be rewarded with verification. Maybe the Bush-planned Mars launches in the near future will give the answers we seek, but this current geology mission, IMHO, cannot provide them. I'm going to miss the speculation element of this exploratory endeavor, but the discovery of nearby life will provide for plenty of discussion and a new round of speculation.

I am in no way limited by my Christian beliefs regarding speculation of ET life, and I promise not to keel over dead when we find it. (Or it finds us)



Posts: no

Reply: 34

PostPosted: June 8, 2005 8:04 PM 

How religious are martians? Is it really going to be difficult to accept ourselves individiations and then attempt to approach the new martian neighbors with a military styled 'tank' tearing them to shreds as a 'humorous' attempt at science, only to find a method of communicating this to the martians in a way which will allow a merging of interests? Surely it is the martians who must be the recognized suffering and the sacrificed masses in this.

We have failed at religion on Earth among ourselves again. We have failed at first contact (is this the first controlled news 'encounter' or not), perhaps more than once. We are doing questionably at the blog as science process as well in percentages. We are evidencing the routine process of being humans in these areas. We are dismal. We will eventually study the food properties of these new martians as one of the great debates of society and of science.
Arguements that persist as arguments for thousands of years motivate us. They are our noise machinery. They are also one of our primary varieties of stylized 'science' advocation which we demand to mix as in a stew pot.

What about the value of new martians? We know there are no geology items on Earth which can explain the martian apparent entities we can see in photos we have in the NASA gallery. There are thousands of images which resemble life forms, and which are appearing both encased in 'rock' with other similar items appearing free standing or buried right ar the current visible surface level.

Are these objects things of value to us? Are they instead items which give us a cold chill or an embarassment as new associates?

Can we cope with lower life forms as neighbors, appearing non-competitive in their slow or non-mobility and neural functioning? Do we give them a position as lowly in the placement of similar neural capacity items on Earth?

Who will be first to place a martian on the dinner plate?

Just conceiving of the processes of respiration/transpiration and environmental exposure damages these martians suffer gives me a hope for a finer integration of religious qualities in the observance of science processes. We should take these new objects as our newest religious and scientific subject intellectually. They appear to have survived for geologic time. If they are related to Earth life they are perhaps surviving for billions of years.
If that is our closest neighbor in space what can we expect to find next?
Will it be valuable to us as information in the same variety of conceptualizations we are expressing in the topic subject here?

I believe these are in a fine laboratory impossible to build and evidencing a possible surviving connection to our 'source' or origin.

Perhaps we should look respectfully at the new road map. It may provide us with a chance at establishing a new 'religious' potential in scientific contracting between ourselves and between the two new 'parties' in the contract between two planets.

This is not our planet we are walking on in the MER mission. We should take careful interest in both the new religions and the political challenges exposited by martians.


Posts: no

Reply: 35

PostPosted: June 9, 2005 9:36 PM 

I vacillate between creation and chance. Of late the pendulum swings again toward divine creation. SETI listens, but hears NOTHING. Fire is the answer. FIRE. Of all organisms on the planet Earth, we are the ONLY that use fire. Fire, heat if you will is necessary for chemistry, metallurgy, basic energy, glass making (Armsrong NEEDED that window) and the list goes on. Mastery of electro magnetism and electricity are also handy pieces of the puzzle. Other planets may be TEEMING with life. If no other entity has mastered fire, we will NEVER hear from them. What about intelligence? Physics, mathamatics, philosophy, they are needed. What other animal has these qualities? If we evolved, how did we shoot past other animals in an such rapid manner? Why these brains? Perhaps we ARE created in God's own image.


Posts: no

Reply: 36

PostPosted: June 9, 2005 10:10 PM 

Alone or not alone, that is the universal question.


Posts: no

Reply: 37

PostPosted: June 10, 2005 8:30 AM 

The life on Mars question has some general implications:

If we find life on Mars, and IF it does look like it evolved independendly of Earth life then it becomes very likely that the Universe is full of life and that would also increase the changes for intelligent life.


Posts: no

Reply: 38

PostPosted: June 10, 2005 3:57 PM 

If we are alone, why are we alone? If we are not alone, why is not there communication?


Posts: no

Reply: 39

PostPosted: June 10, 2005 9:13 PM 

"If we are alone, why are we alone? If we are not alone, why is not there communication?"

Well in regard to the "why is there no communication" question, that is really quite an easy answer. Space is unimaginably huge, the distances (and time) involved are absolutely mind boggling. Now, add to this fact that any signal transmitted may not even be something we can detect (who says they would use radio, maybe they have something else) AND how hard it is to detect even a signal type we know of...its really not suprising.

Even if they beemed a radio signal, in english, directly at us, if we are not looking in the exact right place, and at the exact right time we will miss it. We wouldn't even know it had ever been sent.

Now consider that it may take hundreds of millions of years for anyone out there to even notice us, and then another hundred million years for their message to get here.. Odds of actually ever making contact with anyone are abysmally small.


Posts: 248

Reply: 40

PostPosted: June 12, 2005 2:44 AM 

its not important that life is on mars its the implications of life on mars thats the kicker. As for comunication i think civilations have like 100 or 200 years of standard comunication window in which we can observe them by that time they would of either destoyed themselves or switched over to and unknown sourse of comunications.
So if you figure that into the equation from the billions of years of life develpment (ebb and flow) its a pretty small window(100 years) to catch a signal from an advanced civilization.

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