Life on Mars?
Life on Mars?

Astrobiology, Extreme Life, Mars, Missions

Imminent Discovery of Life On Mars?

13 May , 2008 by

Do you think there is life on Mars? Do you think Phoenix will find evidence of it? Now there’s a blog that’s trying to collect a snapshot of the opinions of scientists, amateurs, and everyday people. “Imminent Discovery” thinks Phoenix may find simple life. Finding this evidence will definitely become headlines… If it happens. Is it possible it might have originated from earth? Perhaps from space, like the famous Antarctica meteorite which was believed to contain evidence of life transported here from Mars?

According to Richard Trentman, a Minor Planet Coordinator at Powell Observatory, “The idea of life in some form on other planets, I believe is highly probable. I have studied about the extreme places on this planet where life has been found and many are far more extreme than may be found on Mars and other planets or moons in our solar system. I believe that anyone that thinks life cannot be “out there” has their eyes closed and blinders on.”

Over time, many astronomers have spent a lifetime dreaming of life and formations on Mars like the misguided Slipher: “Some form of vegetation exists. …The evidence is in the blue-green areas and the changes in their appearance. Vegetation would present exactly the appearance shown, and nothing we know of but vegetation could. The season change that sweeps over them is metabolic…” And yet others take more pragmatic views like astronaut Pete Conrad who commented on bacteria surviving on retrieved Surveyor III remains: “The most significant thing we ever found on the whole Moon was that little bacteria who came back and lived an nobody ever said (anything) about it.”

What’s your opinion? Help to update the book “Imminent Discovery, NASA’s Phoenix and the Secret of Life on Mars” in a post-discovery edition with some of these inputs. Please feel free to Post Your Thoughts On The Imminent Discovery of Life On Mars. Responses may be anonymous or you may use initials if you prefer. To make it more interesting, there is a random drawing of all individuals who enter comments to give away one copy of the classic 1962 book by Earl Slipher “Mars, the Photographic Story”, and a competition between astronomy clubs. Have fun!

By    
Tammy was a professional astronomy author, President Emeritus of Warren Rupp Observatory and retired Astronomical League Executive Secretary. She’s received a vast number of astronomy achievement and observing awards, including the Great Lakes Astronomy Achievement Award, RG Wright Service Award and the first woman astronomer to achieve Comet Hunter's Gold Status. (Tammy passed away in early 2015... she will be missed)


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Astroman
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Astroman
May 13, 2008 5:58 PM

I believe ther is a 100% chance that there is life on other planets in the universe. Maybe there is no life on mars but ther sertainly life in the universe besides here.

zeb
Guest
zeb
May 13, 2008 6:07 PM

Well… we’ll just have to wait and see.

Colin
Guest
Colin
May 13, 2008 6:14 PM

Tammy, cool article as I count down the hours to the Phoenix landing.

I imagine that finding life would get the public behind putting a bit more money into the space program – so please please please find something!!!

One note though, the Surveyor III bacteria story may be an urban myth – I wiki’ed it after I read your article and “they” (and really who knows who “they” are!) basically said that it was.

Cheers!

Astrofiend
Member
Astrofiend
May 13, 2008 6:38 PM
In my opinion, there is no more than (and probably much less than) a 1% chance of finding either currently living or fossilized life on Mars with Phoenix. And when I say life, I mean some sort of simple bacteria or more primitive form of life. I would be delighted to be wrong though! Colin Says: May 13th, 2008 at 6:14 pm “One note though, the Surveyor III bacteria story may be an urban myth – I wiki’ed it after I read your article and “they” (and really who knows who “they” are!) basically said that it was.” Very interesting – I must admit I was guilty of just swallowing the ‘bacteria surviving the moon’ story (not Tammy’s… Read more »
Astrofiend
Member
Astrofiend
May 13, 2008 6:45 PM

Chances of finding either current or fossilized life on Mars with Phoenix are << 1% I would have thought.

It would be great if I were wrong though!

In relation to Colin’s comment on the Surveyor 3 bacteria – interesting! I must admit my guilt – I’d always assumed it was true, but it does seem as if there are very strong arguments that the claim of ‘bacteria surviving the moon’ doesn’t hold up.

jonclarke
Member
jonclarke
May 13, 2008 7:12 PM

So long as it works Phoenix will better define the question, one way of the other. And find lots more interesting stuff beside. Who needs life when you have rocks?

Andrew James
Member
May 13, 2008 10:52 PM

Nonsense. Pre-emption isn’t written in the scientific method.
Scientists are just hedging their bets so that is a discovery that some prediction comes true. Only then they can justify their funding and claim the one who discovered it.
Evidence is one thing. Evidence gained by chicken entrails, well that’s another thing….

TD
Member
May 13, 2008 8:05 PM

I think it’s the variety of comments that surprised me the most. From the poetic:

“Its May already, and perhaps, the last moments alone in the Universe =)”
Eduardo Lopez

to the humorous:

“…I think that there was life on mars but went extinct because the inhabitants spent all their money on gas and starved to death.”
matt

And from the technical and precise to the hyper-concise: “hahaha. i agree.” from Zack.

Thanks, Tammy
Good Luck Phoenix!

Dave
Guest
Dave
May 13, 2008 8:38 PM

I would guess that there is definitely life on: Mars, Europa, Ganymede, Titan, Enceledas
And at one point, there was life on Venus, before its plate tectonics locked up

Chris Farmer
Guest
Chris Farmer
May 13, 2008 8:51 PM

Prehaps life seeks life and the desire to find it is because some part of us knows it is out there.

Silver Thread
Member
Silver Thread
May 13, 2008 9:28 PM

I am dubious about our odds of finding life on Mars, I think that there is a greater chance where a substantial fluid medium might be present such as one of the Moons of a Gas Giant.

I will confess however that I think Mars might be capable of harboring life and is a potential candidate for terra forming in the distant future. The presence of life on the planet will certainly redefine the parameters of future exploration there.

spheros
Guest
spheros
May 13, 2008 11:11 PM

Opinions one way or the other on this topic are a meaningless distraction from the science.

Chris Farmer
Guest
Chris Farmer
May 13, 2008 11:18 PM

What did the poor chickens do to get their entrails stretched across this forum.

giovanni
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giovanni
May 13, 2008 11:26 PM

lets just wait to see phoenix land safely and begin operating as its ment to only then may be able to discover some form of life on this alien planet

LLDIAZ
Guest
LLDIAZ
May 14, 2008 6:42 AM

It is ignorant to think that some sort of alien has never visited our planet which has a life span of 4 billion yrs. If you think about it a million yrs is along time 4 billion is unimaginable

Craig
Guest
Craig
May 13, 2008 11:58 PM

Why would you ask if found life on Mars would have its origins here on Earth?

It’s more likely that Mars seeded Earth eons ago when chunks of it were blasted away by meteors and the Earth flew into the Martian space debris.

I think also that once we quit looking for Earth-like life we will find lots of life out there. Our biological basis can’t be the only possible combination that would support life.

But Giovanni has it right — let’s just get the lander onto the planet FIRST and then worry about discovering little green men and women.

afrodream 'n' beaded sandals
Guest
afrodream 'n' beaded sandals
May 14, 2008 4:58 AM

i do believe out there, there is life. maybe more intelligent than we humans. With all those stars up in the sky believe me there is life and the sun or our sun is one among millions of stars out there. every star has its own solar system, the milky way the galaxy just name them. life is there out

Kevin F.
Member
May 14, 2008 4:27 AM

I get so tired of the “Did Earth get seeded with life from Mars” discussion. It glosses over the fact that life must have come from somewhere to be seeded from.

Until we have definitive evidence that life couldn’t have developed here on its own there’s no point in even arguing it.

website design
Guest
May 14, 2008 4:40 AM

So long as it works Phoenix will better define the question, one way of the other. And find lots more interesting stuff beside. Who needs life when you have rocks?

Shane
Guest
Shane
May 14, 2008 4:59 AM

Life on mars will certify that life is common in the universe. But, even if there is no life on mars, recent discoveries show that life is viable in a myriad of environments. From water to earth’s surface to undersea volcanic vents to miles beneath the surface where no light or oxygen exists to the insides of other creatures. Life exists everywhere and doesn’t seem to follow the rules we’ve decided for it. It’s not unreasonable to assume that life exists elsewhere.
The question that we can’t answer yet is “has any of that life made contact with earth?” That I assume hasn’t happened and is unlikely any time soon.

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