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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Life on Mars (What do you think are the odds?)
Life on Mars
Antza2Date: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 11:59 | Message # 1
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Do you think there is or has ever been life on Mars? Could life exist underground where there could be liquid water? Maybe ancient martian life could be preserved on the polar ice?

When i was a kid i liked to imagine that Mars once in the distant past had sentient life and it was destroyed by either nuclear fire or by some natural disaster like a gigantic eruption that resurfaced the entire planet (and made Valles Marineris) or by an asteroid impact, which then caused chunks of mars that carried life to fly to Earth, Which in turn caused life to begin here.

Edit: Btw why is Mars a cool desert in space engine as it is officially a terrastial planet? Quote from wikipedia: "Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere"





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Edited by Antza2 - Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 12:07
 
SpaceEngineerDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 13:30 | Message # 2
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Terrestrial planet is no more than simply a planet with solid surface, in opposite to gas giants. Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are terrestrial planets by this definition.

Regarding to life on Mars - I hope it will be proven that there are no life on the Mars today and in the past. Then we could courageously colonize and terraform Mars. Otherwise it will be declared a wildlife sanctuary and quarantine zone, and we never colonize it.





 
Antza2Date: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 13:36 | Message # 3
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Quote (SpaceEngineer)
Terrestrial planet is no more than simply a planet with solid surface, in opposite to gas giants. Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are terrestrial planets by this definition.

Ah. Thanks for clarifying smile

Quote (SpaceEngineer)
Regarding to life on Mars - I hope it will be proven that there are no life on the Mars today and in the past. Then we could courageously colonize and terraform Mars. Otherwise it will be declared a wildlife sanctuary and quarantine zone, and we never colonize it.


That is true but i think a few fossils of long since extinct organisms would't hurt cool .





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HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 13:54 | Message # 4
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Quote (SpaceEngineer)
Regarding to life on Mars - I hope it will be proven that there are no life on the Mars today and in the past. Then we could courageously colonize and terraform Mars. Otherwise it will be declared a wildlife sanctuary and quarantine zone, and we never colonize it.

I agree with Antza2, I hope that there is no life on Mars today, but I hope that we do discover that there was life in the ancient past, and that we can prove that it was NOT related to life on Earth (this could be difficult if the life has been extinct for billions of years). If this happens, not only could we colonize and terraform Mars as SpaceEngineer said, but we could also provide good evidence that life is very likely, and probably exists in most star systems, greatly increasing the odds of sentient life.





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SolarisDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 16:50 | Message # 5
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Quote (SpaceEngineer)
Otherwise it will be declared a wildlife sanctuary and quarantine zone, and we never colonize it.
cool I love this idea of wildlife sanctuary, but why never go to mars if we found ancient or prensent life? It would be interesting to study by humans directly on the ground. Is there a risk to perturb the life form? ( I don't see how since there is no direct contact ).

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
we could also provide good evidence that life is very likely, and probably exists in most star systems, greatly increasing the odds of sentient life.
I always thought that the day we find life elsewhere than on earth will be one of the greatest discovery of mankind.
Also I wish there is life form into Titan or europa/enceladus, it would extend considerably the odds of life too, and prove how it could adapts to really different environements than earth.


Edited by Solaris - Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 17:02
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 17:35 | Message # 6
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I always thought that the day we find life elsewhere than on earth will be one of the greatest discovery of mankind.

The truly great discovery will be finding life with an independent origin. If we find life on Mars, but it is very similar to Terran life and seems to have the same origin, then that will be good evidence that panspermia was responsible for delivering life to Earth/Mars, and does not help to show whether life is common on other worlds in the universe. But if we find life that originated separately from life on Earth, then it will prove that life can and does arise elsewhere, and that it is most likely extremely common, and maybe every star system has planets with life. That will be a great discovery.





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SolarisDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 18:15 | Message # 7
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You are right, independent origin makes the discovery really more important.
it's really very interresting ... I wonder how biologists / exobiologists can determine if a life form have independent origin or not.

About panspermia, what I understand of it is that it's a method of transmition of life, but does not create it, it only delivers. So that would mean that life Already Arise elsewhere ? perhaps I mistunderstand something in definition.

Quote (Antza2)
What do you think are the odds?

I hope they found some proof of old extinct lifeform, no martian civilisation , but maybe tiny organic stuff, I know it's very unlikely but imagine a fossil of a tree leaf.. I guess they would already found some of it.. happy
And for the present, if they found some life undergroud or completely different lifeform... That would be awsome ! But about the odd, I think they won't found anything.. sad

One thing is sure, the curiosity team have work to do smile


Edited by Solaris - Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 18:43
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 19:14 | Message # 8
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I wonder how biologists / exobiologists can determine if a life form have independent origin or not

If it is different than life on Earth in some way, uses completely different proteins or nucleic acids, different elements, etc, then it will be fairly easy to tell that they share different origins. If they are very similar, then proving conclusively whether or not they share a common origin could be difficult.

Quote (Solaris)
About panspermia, what I understand of it is that it's a method of transmition of life, but does not create it, it only delivers. So that would mean that life Already Arise elsewhere ? perhaps I mistunderstand something in definition.

Yes, panspermia is a process in which life arrives on one world from somewhere else. If we discover that life on Earth and Mars share a common origin, then it is good evidence that panspermia was responsible for life existing on one or both worlds. So there still would have been an origin event (abiogenesis), then after that origin event life would have traveled to another world (panspermia).

In this case, the most likely scenario involving panspermia is abiogenesis on Mars, with life then spreading to Earth via panspermia.





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 19:23 | Message # 9
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Yes, panspermia is a process in which life arrives on one world from somewhere else. If we discover that life on Earth and Mars share a common origin, then it is good evidence that panspermia was responsible for life existing on one or both worlds. So there still would have been an origin event (abiogenesis), then after that origin event life would have traveled to another world (panspermia).


I personally think our entire solar system is contaminated with Earth life. Just seems likely to me since the Earth is full of microbes and Earth has been hit by large objects quite a few times in it's past.

I wouldn't be surprised if Mars has life forms on it that share an ancestry with Earth, nor would I be if people start saying we came from them.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
In this case, the most likely scenario involving panspermia is abiogenesis on Mars, with life then spreading to Earth via panspermia.


Why does it have to have origin on Mars if its on Mars and shares ancestry with Earth life?





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Edited by DoctorOfSpace - Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 19:24
 
SolarisDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 19:31 | Message # 10
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
In this case, the most likely scenario involving panspermia is abiogenesis on Mars, with life then spreading to Earth via panspermia.
So in this scenario, we would have (had) cousins/parent out there, which who we would share common elements of life. cool
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 19:41 | Message # 11
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Why does it have to have origin on Mars if its on Mars and shares ancestry with Earth life?

It wouldn't necessarily have to have originated on Mars, but that is the more likely scenario. Mars has much less gravity than Earth, so objects can escape far more easily. And as a consequence of Earth's larger gravity, it is far more likely to capture objects than Mars is. Mars is also closer to the asteroid belt, and as such is in a denser region of potential impactors. We know that meteorites of Mars origin are fairly common on Earth. If I recall correctly, computer simulations have shown that Terran meteorites on Mars are probably far less common. Finally, since the conditions on each planet were likely very similar around the time that life was thought to begin on Earth, then it can be reasoned that Mars was just as likely to develop life as Earth was. So given that it is much easier for Martian material to be spread to Earth than it is for Terran material to be spread to Mars, and that Mars was probably capable of forming life, then it is more likely that life would have moved from Mars to Earth than from Earth to Mars, if any such moving were to take place.





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 19:47 | Message # 12
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
If I recall correctly, computer simulations have shown that Terran meteorites on Mars are probably far less common.


But that doesn't say they couldn't still be there. I get what you are saying and it makes sense but with all the large impacts on Earth in the past it still seems just as reasonable to think the entire solar system may be contaminated with Earth life. Even if life started on Mars and moved here, the life we find in our system may be of Earth origin.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 19:51 | Message # 13
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Even if life started on Mars and moved here, the life we find in our system may be of Earth origin.

I agree with this. I was only referring to panspermia between Earth and Mars in the time around when life formed.





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 19:57 | Message # 14
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
panspermia between Earth and Mars in the time around when life formed.


Which brings up a question. If we do determine life originated on Mars and moved here, would there be any remaining evidence of that on the Martian surface?

But I guess thats part of the reason for Curiosity and other missions.





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Edited by DoctorOfSpace - Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 19:57
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Wednesday, 15.08.2012, 20:03 | Message # 15
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If we do determine life originated on Mars and moved here, would there be any remaining evidence of that on the Martian surface?

Most likely. Evidence for life on Earth from over 3 billion years ago still exists, and Earth is a much more dynamic and geologically hostile place than Mars, so anything that may have been on Mars back then should leave a trace that could be easily found.





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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Life on Mars (What do you think are the odds?)
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