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Organic compounds confirmed on Mars

 
 
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Fri 8 Jun, 2018 11:25 am
Science fiction aside for the moment, I do think that if extant life is discovered on Mars it'll create an immediate frenzy of discussion around how to effectively explore Mars.

Some people will lean toward quarantine, while others will push for minimizing impact while still exploring. But it'll also mean that anything returned from Mars (eventually including the soles of people's boots) will have to go through an autoclave before being allowed anywhere near the Earth.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jun, 2018 11:26 am
One of the best science fiction stories on perils of colonizing Mars is from the Dr. Who Series; The Waters of Mars. The colonists are killed one by one by a pretty horrifying creature that turns them into monsters. Like all good science fiction stories, the story isn't really about Mars... it is about what it means to be human.

The Time Lord at this point in the story is having an identity crisis. He has incredible powers... and yet people he cares about keep dying. So, he decides he isn't going to let that happen. When humanity's first colony on Mars gets attacked by this alien spore, the Doctor shows up to zap them to safety. The leader of the Mars mission objects to being saved... and questions the Doctor's right to use his powers to make such life and death decisions over human history. The real story is the right of a deity to interfere in the lives of mortals. It is a great episode.

Even knowing the risks of a Mars mission... I would go in a heartbeat were I given the choice. The chance to be at the forefront of advancing human history would far outweigh the risks.

0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jun, 2018 11:35 am
@rosborne979,
Quote:
Some people will lean toward quarantine, while others will push for minimizing impact while still exploring. But it'll also mean that anything returned from Mars (eventually including the soles of people's boots) will have to go through an autoclave before being allowed anywhere near the Earth.


I disagree with you Rosborne.

I think this is a case where fiction is far more scary than reality. Organisms that threaten humans specifically evolved in a place where there was mammalian life. They are specialized to attack our biology. Any organism from Mars would not know how to live in a mammalian host. Evolution happens as an adaptation to an environment. It isn't magic.

Of course, this will be discussion for scientists. We should leave the science fiction out of it.
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Fri 8 Jun, 2018 11:53 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
I think this is a case where fiction is far more scary than reality. Organisms that threaten humans specifically evolved in a place where there was mammalian life. They are specialized to attack our biology. Any organism from Mars would not know how to live in a mammalian host.

I'm wasn't thinking so much of any organism directly attacking mammals, but more in terms of an aggressive organism displacing others in the environment and disrupting larger scale ecosystems.

An organism evolved to exist in an extreme environment like Mars might reproduce dramatically in a less restrictive environment. On the other hand, it might not be compatible with a different environment at all. But I bet we'll have a lot of angst over it no matter what.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Jun, 2018 01:50 pm
@rosborne979,
capturing genomes was a way they think that archea evolved toward several other microrganism phyla. Id be concerned that our xisting flora would be given a dose of some minor nucleotide and we would see a super bug develop. Sorta like the way that HIV or Hanta "jumped species" (where there were already specific animals where the organisms sometimes even developed a "commensal relationship:)

Id think that e would have to develop whole new ways to prevent our known organisms from "bonding" with Martian critters. Theres one way to do it simply, make sure that all spacecraft have a light coating of something like Zinc Oxide.
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maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Jun, 2018 06:38 am
I personally think that this investigation should have been shut down years ago. I mean if you can’t find anything in the first 6-12 months then it really doesn’t need to go on any longer.
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Aug, 2018 07:28 am
I'm still waiting for the next big data "reveal" to come from NASA Smile
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Aug, 2018 07:57 am
@edgarblythe,
agreed. The overall message , way premature for that date was somewhat prophetic as we approach becoming more of an invasive presence on the red planet.
We do make sure that all the gizmos are uber clean when sent out there but that still is no guarantee. Life will persevere.
Im not excited about mthane since it can be formed in small quantities by non biological tectonic processes. Tell me they foound long chain esters and fatty acids and a coupla things like purines and pyrimidines, Im there with a microscope and my handy butterfly net.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Aug, 2018 07:59 am
@edgarblythe,
Nother thing is that the JPL project directors gotta go before Congress and beg for focused appropriations, so they best have some really convincing stories to make sure they even get a funding check that is spent here on earth
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