View Full Version : Life on Mars ?

30-07-10, 09:47
Do you believe that there is or once was life on Mars ?

It has already been confirmed that bacteria and other microscopic organisms do live on Mars, but that is nothing exceptional. Such primitive life has been found even on asteroids.

Mars has long fascinated and stirred the imagination of humans. It is common (for children at least) to talk about Martians when referrers to creatures from another planet.

Scientists have now identified rocks that could be fossilised remains of life on Mars.

=> BBC News : Mars site may hold 'buried life' (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10790648)

I think it is very possible. The topography of Mars shows what look like dried up rivers, lakes and canyons. It is know that the planet holds considerable quantities of frozen water. I think that what happened is that Mars lost its magnetic field keeping the oxygen within the atmosphere, and with it its various layers (ozone, etc.) protecting life from cosmic rays and UV's, and life was wiped out.

This arouses many questions:

- how advanced was life on Mars ? Was there just plants, or also animals ? How intelligent were these animals ?

- when did plant and animal life stop on Mars ?

- why did it happen ?

31-07-10, 05:23
Yes, I believe that life was once fairly widespread on Mars. I also believe that there is still life somewhere on Mars. It is probably microscopic and similar in nature to the extremophilic life forms that survive in very harsh conditions here on Earth.
I have a feeling that life is going to be found in a number of the icy moons of Saturn and Jupiter. Several of the moons are suspected to have huge water oceans under a thick layer of water ice. If there is a source of energy and water (along with the very common building blocks of life) I believe life will flourish.
I guess you could say that I buy into the theory of panspermia, I think with all the organic matter that is wide spread in the universe that the seeds of life are probably embedded in it.

31-07-10, 09:44
Yes, I subscribe to the notion, that it's not difficult for life to pop up, as the basic blocks of life might have tendency to clamp together and evolve into something alive. Something that eats and multiplies. Single cellular organisms like bacteria, eukaryote, and fungi might be ubiquitous in the universe, giving some water and energy.
Multicellular organism like plants and animals might be a little bit trickier to come up with. It took bacteria 3 billion years to find a way to build more complicated animals. That’s a very long time even in geological terms. We don't know why it took so long yet. Maybe it was a fluke that multicellular form of life finally came to existence.
Even if it is a normal time span for animals to show up, it was too long for Marsian environment. I don't think that more complicated life than bacteria ever lived on Mars. Mars, is 3 times smaller than Earth and cooled down, and lost atmosphere about 2 billion years ago. We don't know if it had dense enough air to be warm enough for liquid water on surface. Mind that sun was cooler in the past too. Lack of tectonic plates on mars, the constant churning of magma and recycling of elements, like on Earth, didn't exist on Mars, and didn't help life either.

Maybe not on Mars, but other solar systems tens of lights years away, we could find animals and plants. Nobody's have slightest idea if and how close other intelligent spices, like humans, are. The deafening silence of SETI program is not a good sign. Most likely at this time there are only few in our galaxy. So few in so vast space that if humans exist even for few million years, we might never find other civilization out there,...animals - eventually, bacteria - almost everywhere.

31-07-10, 17:40
I don't read a whole lot into the deafening silence picked up by SETI. We here on Earth have only been broadcasting into the ether for a little over 100 years. In the scope of life and civilization on Earth that is less than an eye-blink. Recently I read a report that even the rather massive electronic storm of broadcasting we here on Earth do has dissipated into static and is lost in the background radiation of the Universe by the time it has gotten to the Kuyper belt.
Even here on Earth our broadcasting into the atmosphere has dropped by 90 percent in the last 2 decades. The use of ground based fiber and directed broadcasts to communication satellites has greatly reduced the amount of broadcasts that actually leave the Earth.
Then again maybe civilizations that develop to the point where they could be heard by us wipe themselves out through war or environmental suicide in just a few years after reaching broadcast capability. Or perhaps the Universe is a really dangerous place and we are foolish to be leaking out into space. Maybe a race of Galactic Overlords is out there just listening for foolish planets to make a noise and then comes and wipes them out! :grin:

31-07-10, 20:57
I was thinking down the line that we are not the first civilization in our Galaxy. There should be at least few very old once, at any given time, transmitting all the time. Long range communication needs strong electromagnetic emitters, and beacons, unless there is subspace as per Star Treck. But there isn't according to laws of physics as we know them now. Some old space civilizations should have billions of members spread out through few star systems and communicating none stop with each other. Now we should be able to pick up these signals all over galaxy, but we don't. That's why it might mean that there are too few, and not all the time, and maybe they don't last too long for some reason. Not sure if it is good or bad news for us, lol.

Great point you mentioned is that we don't know if we should make a contact and sit quiet. One earth every top food chain animal is a predator and even rest of animal kingdom is fighting for limited resources. By nature every dominant species on earth will have warrior members, genes, behavior. We have to stop kidding ourselves that we'll meet only the wise and peaceful aliens, that share the encyclopedia galactica with us. From whatever planet they come, the resources are limited there too, so they will have the same characteristic of warriors and conquerors as we do.
Now the good news is that there are not too many of them, and trillions of planets with recourses in between us. And if they came to the domination of their solar system they had to learn how to live peacefully in a big group. They've already created their own global village.
I've been thinking that in the future human kind will be tempted to get rid off our warrior and aggressive genes to become more pleasant society. As nice as it sounds there could be a hidden grave danger to this scenario, if we meet warrior aliens in the future. They won't meet any resistance from our side and we'll be a history.

For anyone interested in this subject, I recommend one of the smartest movies ever, “Contact”.

31-07-10, 21:21
A very exciting time comes to astronomy. Our scientists are in position of seeing a light coming from planets of other solar systems. Previously it wasn’t possible as light from a star obscured the planet. We can see the planet as a small dot now. “So what?” one can say, how good is this if we can’t see the topography, see water or atmosphere?
There is a field of science called spectroscopy, and just by analyzing the light itself we can figure out what kind of atom the light was coming from, or went through. Thanks to this we can tell if there is oxygen on a planet of other solar system. Oxygen implies that there is green life on this planet. Oxygen is a very reactive atom and can’t exist long by itself and will react with other elements, creating carbon dioxide or rust. If green plants vanished on earth the whole free oxygen would be gone in one million years, and that’s very short time as life time of a planet could be 5 billion years. Therefore if we see plenty of Oxygen on other planets, we know for sure, life is there.
Give it 10-20 years we should know how many planets harbors plants, or at least algae.

31-07-10, 21:47
Answering Maciamo’s question “What did happen on Mars that life vanished?”.
In a big way it is related to nuclear furnace that died inside the planet. We, almost for sure, know that in center of earth there is a nuclear furnace still working. Heavy radioactive elements like plutonium and uranium sunk to the center of earth and kick started nuclear reaction heating our planet till today. That’s why earth, after 5 billion years after conception, is still hot inside with only thin crust on surface.
On Mars, due to the smaller size, the nuclear furnace stopped 2 billion years ago or maybe never was strong enough. The interior of Mars cooled and shrunk, creating negative pressure and sucked all water and most of atmosphere inside the thick crust. Live if existed on the surface was all gone. There might be still some microbes living kilometers down inside the crust, where it is still warm and water flows.
To make Mars livable again we need to drill many wholes to the core of the planet, dump billions of tons of radioactive elements, kick start the nuclear furnace, which will warm up the interior and released water and the gases to the surface. Now where can we find so much plutonium, hmmm?

01-08-10, 16:04
To make Mars livable again we need to drill many wholes to the core of the planet, dump billions of tons of radioactive elements, kick start the nuclear furnace, which will warm up the interior and released water and the gases to the surface. Now where can we find so much plutonium, hmmm?

It's not any time soon that humans will be able to play the planet markers. Transport in space would not be a huge problem though, as once in motion a spaceship doesn't need fuel to move, and the weight of its cargo doesn't matter.