Water confirmed, Mars researchers look for life


rendezvouscp

macrumors 68000
Aug 20, 2003
1,526
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Long Beach, California
Hm, but they still have doubt as to if there was ever life. It's very good that they have confirmed it now. I've always thought that there was life on Mars at one point or another.
-Chase
 

wdlove

macrumors P6
Oct 20, 2002
16,570
0
This is good news, thank you Opportunity. Now we have a theory confirmed. The presence of water means that life existed at some point, it just may not be any life that we would currently recognize. This will now give scientists more questions to answer.
 

celaurie

macrumors 6502a
Mar 2, 2003
615
114
Scotland, UK.
I can just see it now... Authentic Mars bottled water... - original chocolate flavour.

~cel, needs milky chocolatey goodness

Hey wdl, long time no see!
 

javabear90

macrumors 6502a
Dec 7, 2003
512
0
Houston, TX
PlaceofDis said:
wonder if this means that mars could be livable again one day?
The Issue is that mars' core is not molten. The magma has stopped moving. The magma creates a magnetic felid which protects the planet's atmosphere and ground from radiation and other bad things. The magnetic field is gone so all of the solar junk comes down and makes mars a barren wasteland. The reason why our core is still molten is because we are bigger. However mars would have been inhabitable long before earth was.
 

MacDawg

macrumors Core
Mar 20, 2004
19,708
4,274
"Between the Hedges"
PlaceofDis said:
wonder if this means that mars could be livable again one day?
Anybody read The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin?
I bought it at the NASA store in the airport in Orlando last year.

Interesting reading about how we can go to Mars, and inhabit it with the technology available today.

Woof, Woof - Dawg
 

angelneo

macrumors 68000
Jun 13, 2004
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Maybe Mars was once like Earth abundant with life until some catastrophy destroy them before they have a chance to achieve space technology. Maybe the first life on Earth was Mars refugees stripped of their technology. Maybe Earth was some sort of jail planet for the rejects from Mars...... blah... I'm daydreaming again
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
21,537
7,787
CT
angelneo said:
Maybe Mars was once like Earth abundant with life until some catastrophy destroy them before they have a chance to achieve space technology. Maybe the first life on Earth was Mars refugees stripped of their technology. Maybe Earth was some sort of jail planet for the rejects from Mars...... blah... I'm daydreaming again
That is not to far fetched, watch the movie Mission To Mars
 

johnnyjibbs

macrumors 68030
Sep 18, 2003
2,958
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London, UK
javabear90 said:
The Issue is that mars' core is not molten. The magma has stopped moving. The magma creates a magnetic felid which protects the planet's atmosphere and ground from radiation and other bad things. The magnetic field is gone so all of the solar junk comes down and makes mars a barren wasteland. The reason why our core is still molten is because we are bigger. However mars would have been inhabitable long before earth was.
Actually, it's not magma in the core - it's molten iron and nickel ;) And Mars' core is still warm, just nowhere near as hot as Earth's. But the magnetic field on Earth is caused by currents in the liquid outer core, yes, and it does protect us from the sun's deadly radiation.

Of course, the biggest problem for humans on Mars is that we would explode due to the low pressure, unless we were constantly in a pressurised suit or a pressurised building. Unfortunately for us, we are built and adapted for all of Earth's parameters, and hence could not ever natively survive on any other planet. However, some people have suggested polluting Mars' atmosphere by sending capsules that emit carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) on Mars, thus accelerating a greenhouse effect there so that in a few hundred years' time, its atmosphere may have thickened up enough as to be inhabitable (i.e. same atmospheric pressure as Earth), and it would be warmer too. But that's a long shot, not to mention it would end up like Venus if they overdid it :eek: :D

As for whether Mars has or ever had life at all. Personally, I think it not only probably did have life, but there's a good chance it has life now. Not intelligent life, of course, but bacteria and other microscopic beasts. Why not? Well, if life can survive at the bottom of the ocean in deadly gases at great pressures and with no light or oxygen, or can live in dry rock at 113oC (above the boiling point of water), then why couldn't it live on Mars? It's not that inhospitable. Of course, we'd never be able to prove that anything we found had not been contaminated from Earth.

One thing they should have done with the moon landings in the 60s and 70s. They should have left a banana or something on the surface at a point where they knew where it was, and then returned now, 30 years later. If there is no life, it would still be there (and still be edible :eek: :D). However, if it had rotted away, then our answer would be there. The same could be done with Mars.

Still, it strange that I can't find anything about this on the BBC's news website. This can't be that significant then ;) :p
 

mvc

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2003
760
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Outer-Roa
johnnyjibbs said:
Of course, we'd never be able to prove that anything we found had not been contaminated from Earth
Well it would be pretty clear that it was a native organism if it was completely unlike anything we have here.
 

johnnyjibbs

macrumors 68030
Sep 18, 2003
2,958
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London, UK
mvc said:
Well it would be pretty clear that it was a native organism if it was completely unlike anything we have here.
Yes but we're discovering many new species just here on Earth every month even today, and many of them (at the bottom of the deep ocean, for example) look nothing like anything we know of. It would be impossible to tell a Martian bacterium from a new species of bacteria on Earth. Cue all that controversy about that Martian rock sample with the supposed life form in it around 10 years ago.
 

GeeYouEye

macrumors 68000
Dec 9, 2001
1,651
3
State of Denial
The real question then becomes, given the bacteria that survived the trip (launch, sep, extended spaceflight, reentry, and landing), and given Mars' atmosphere and soil compositions, what biological reactions are possible, and what would the products be? And, more specifically, can it be used to our advantage, either to discover past signs of life or to make it habitable.
 

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Jun 4, 2003
18,388
42
1123.6536.5321
This is really a moot point though - there is life out there, we don't need bacteria in water on Mars to prove that. Anyone who thinks we are alone is pretty naive in my opinion. Whether they find life or not on Mars, it doesn't really matter to me as it won't affect what I already know to be the truth. Finding life/remnants of life on Mars is somewhat inconsequential really (other than for study purposes), but then again, so is physically propelling tubes of metal into orbit to do space "exploration" and calling ourselves an advanced civilization... :cool:
 

blackfox

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2003
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angelneo said:
Maybe Mars was once like Earth abundant with life until some catastrophy destroy them before they have a chance to achieve space technology. Maybe the first life on Earth was Mars refugees stripped of their technology. Maybe Earth was some sort of jail planet for the rejects from Mars...... blah... I'm daydreaming again
I cannot remember the theories specifically, but there are those who suggest that there once was a large planet between Mars and Jupiter, as the spacing between planets suggests that there should be a planet where there is merely an asteroid belt.

There is also much speculation fueled by ancient Sumerian (and other) records describing 12-13 planets, instead of our current 10 (or 11 counting Pluto/chiron) Greek mythology with it's 12 gods (plus a thirteenth that lords over the rest) also lends an interesting historical credence to things. There is also the 12 disciples + Jesus (13) the 12 Knights of the Round Table + Arthur, and the 13 Tribes of Israel.

It was theorized that this mystery planet was either (a) thrown out of orbit by a Jupiter moon or by Venus in an enlongated orbit or (b) struck by a galactic interloper (the 13th planet) which came into our solar system causing all kinds of messes. (it is theorized that it also carried off one of Neptunes moons {since Neptune was represented with a trident and now has only two moons, to form Pluto})

from (b) some suggest that earth was created as a part of this struck planet, and that life was brought into this solar system by the interloper who struck it. The rest of the planet was either absorbed by Jupiter, constitutes the asteroid belt, or left with the interloper.

There are others who feel the remants of this missing planet make up a large comet flying around somewhere...

In any case, this cosmic collision would've been disastrous to Mars, due to it's proximity to events and the barrage of debris that would've showered down on it.

Tangentally, there is also the "nemesis" star theory, which has a twin star to the sun orbiting it and bringing in debris from the oort cloud (beyond Pluto) every 26 million years. This is meant to explain the reason for the timing of Extinction cycles on Earth being so regular. This also could've explained developments to Mars.

Interesting stuff.
 

johnnyjibbs

macrumors 68030
Sep 18, 2003
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London, UK
~Shard~ said:
This is really a moot point though - there is life out there, we don't need bacteria in water on Mars to prove that. Anyone who thinks we are alone is pretty naive in my opinion. Whether they find life or not on Mars, it doesn't really matter to me as it won't affect what I already know to be the truth. Finding life/remnants of life on Mars is somewhat inconsequential really (other than for study purposes), but then again, so is physically propelling tubes of metal into orbit to do space "exploration" and calling ourselves an advanced civilization... :cool:
Oh, while there's no evidence, there's certain to be other life in the universe out there, millions of light years away. There's probably other life in our own solar system (although nothing that could walk or talk). But until we get cast iron proof of this, we as humans will always want to search. In terms of evidence, we still can't prove that we're not alone in the universe. Unfortunately, we'll never be able to know the answer to life elsewhere in the universe as distances are so large. And even if we do find some on some distant planet, we will never ever be able to establish contact (or even if we somehow could, it's not as if they'd know English ;) )
 

wdlove

macrumors P6
Oct 20, 2002
16,570
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celaurie said:
I can just see it now... Authentic Mars bottled water... - original chocolate flavour.

~cel, needs milky chocolatey goodness

Hey wdl, long time no see!
It's very nice to see you also, celaurie. ;)

I look forward to hearing Mr. Anderson's impression on this news event.

This will now allow JPL and NASA to further refine missions to Mars. It's possible that there is life under the surface of Mars. They have found organisms here on Earth that live in deep dark crevices. Those that are without oxygen and also cold and hot areas.
 

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Jun 4, 2003
18,388
42
1123.6536.5321
johnnyjibbs said:
Oh, while there's no evidence, there's certain to be other life in the universe out there, millions of light years away. There's probably other life in our own solar system (although nothing that could walk or talk). But until we get cast iron proof of this, we as humans will always want to search. In terms of evidence, we still can't prove that we're not alone in the universe. Unfortunately, we'll never be able to know the answer to life elsewhere in the universe as distances are so large. And even if we do find some on some distant planet, we will never ever be able to establish contact (or even if we somehow could, it's not as if they'd know English ;) )
You're not thinking outside the box though. You're thinking within the defined parameters which physics has bestowed on us. ;) You're right, the universe is large - physically large. Using the flawed model of physics that we use, does space travel even make sense? It would take us months to get to Mars, a "nearby" planet - how long would it take us to reach the edge of our solar system? And then get to another system? How about traverse the galaxy? And then take into account there are billions and billions of galaxies?!

Physical space travel does not make sense as we attempt to understand it. How would one even navigate in deep space? The starscape we see every night is actually a snapshot back in time, or events and stars from thousands of years ago - some of the stars you gaze at every night may have actually gone supernova a hundred thousand years ago and we would never know! So how would one successfully navigate space, when what you're looking at isn't even there anymore? This also shows other flaws in our physics system with respect to perception of time - when we look at the night sky we are looking back in time - surely there is something more to this.

As you say, they are so far away, physically, we could never find them. They would not speak English, a form of physical communication, so how would they understand us? The universe is large, physically. And in general, we as humans need physical proof. What's wrong with this picture? To me it is clear, but again, you have to think outside the box to unlock riddles like this and discover the solutions....

I could expand so much on this, but it's probably not appropriate for this forum... :cool:
 

zarathustra

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2002
770
0
Philadelphia, PA
...and then we will discover an alien reactor under the polar caps that converts the underground ice into air. Oh, wait. That movie has already been made!

:p

Seriously though, this is really cool and fuels the imagination and future research (hopefully).
 

emw

macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
This is just wild - I'd always assumed they'd find something, but to see it confirmed is nice.

Of course, there is still much we don't know - how much, where, how long, etc. Whether it supported life once, or even if water was required for life on Mars, will take significantly longer to determine.

We will one day get to Mars - there is no question in my mind. But I think it will be at least 20 years before we see manned exploration of that planet. Besides, there is so much more to explore in our own environment - deep ocean areas, etc.
 

blackfox

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2003
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There was all that talk about terraforming Mars for eventual human habitation. I do not remember the specifics, but I believe the first phase involved seeding UV-resistant algae on the planet surface to release massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, trapping sunlight and warming up the temperature. Ironic that Global Warming is a problem here and a potential solution there.

In any case, unless I do live to 1000 (like suggested in another thread), I will not live to see anything more than possibly a manned-landing on the surface.
 

johnnyjibbs

macrumors 68030
Sep 18, 2003
2,958
119
London, UK
~Shard~ said:
You're not thinking outside the box though. You're thinking within the defined parameters which physics has bestowed on us. ;) You're right, the universe is large - physically large. Using the flawed model of physics that we use, does space travel even make sense? It would take us months to get to Mars, a "nearby" planet - how long would it take us to reach the edge of our solar system? And then get to another system? How about traverse the galaxy? And then take into account there are billions and billions of galaxies?!

Physical space travel does not make sense as we attempt to understand it. How would one even navigate in deep space? The starscape we see every night is actually a snapshot back in time, or events and stars from thousands of years ago - some of the stars you gaze at every night may have actually gone supernova a hundred thousand years ago and we would never know! So how would one successfully navigate space, when what you're looking at isn't even there anymore? This also shows other flaws in our physics system with respect to perception of time - when we look at the night sky we are looking back in time - surely there is something more to this.

As you say, they are so far away, physically, we could never find them. They would not speak English, a form of physical communication, so how would they understand us? The universe is large, physically. And in general, we as humans need physical proof. What's wrong with this picture? To me it is clear, but again, you have to think outside the box to unlock riddles like this and discover the solutions....

I could expand so much on this, but it's probably not appropriate for this forum... :cool:
It is fascinating to think that the stars we look at in the night sky and take for granted are seen as they were years, and usually millions of years ago. In fact, some of them may not even exist any more! And as Bill Bryson so elegantly puts in his book A Short History of Everything, any aliens who could see us from a distant planet would be looking at the Tudors or William the Conquerer! Or, if further away still, the dinosaurs! It's quite mind boggling really, but we can always hope, can't we?!