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Thread: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

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    Comrade Moose CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    NASA was saying there would be some news they would be revealing today and it looks like this is it:

    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6393/1096
    https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/n...ethane-on-mars

    Apparently they were found in ancient sedimentary rock which was 3 billion years old.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 07-06-2018 at 09:23 PM.


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    that's cool. Still lots of unanswered questions as you'd expect, but still cool nonetheless.

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    I'm not really sure what the discovery is supposed to show. Although it is cool that we(so to speak) have a roving laboratory on Mars. Who the hell cares if there was life on Mars. All we need to find is more habitable planets; not formally, maybe inhabited ones.

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I'm not really sure what the discovery is supposed to show. Although it is cool that we(so to speak) have a roving laboratory on Mars. Who the hell cares if there was life on Mars. All we need to find is more habitable planets; not formally, maybe inhabited ones.
    <headscratch>

    If a Planet or Moon shows previous organic life then Terraforming may be a possibility and have a higher chance of succeeding.

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    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Tea View Post
    <headscratch>

    If a Planet or Moon shows previous organic life then Terraforming may be a possibility and have a higher chance of succeeding.
    Don't really see how we can terraform a planet with gravity so low it can't hold on to atmospheric oxygen. Or much atmosphere at all for that matter, sounds like solar storms just erode it away. I'm sure people will go live on the planet at some point, but I don't see it being a nice place.

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraforming_of_Mars

    Terraforming is hypothetical science and we can't currently fix our own one that is screwed up so i can't see it being feasible either but getting to habitable planet is also hypothetical so i thought it was worth chucking in even though they are still in the realms of Sci-Fi.

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I'm not really sure what the discovery is supposed to show. Although it is cool that we(so to speak) have a roving laboratory on Mars. Who the hell cares if there was life on Mars. All we need to find is more habitable planets; not formally, maybe inhabited ones.
    Just about every major religion will go completely nuts
    Society's to blame,
    Or possibly Atari.

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Phage View Post
    Just about every major religion will go completely nuts
    no, not at all. Why would it? That's the typical line that gets trotted out by the media trying to drive wedges in things. You might want to look up the number of scientists who hold serious beliefs in God, and how their beliefs in an ordered universe makes them study science to find out more about it. That applies historically, and also today. I think this is exciting news.

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    Who the hell cares if there was life on Mars.
    If we can show there was life on Mars then it helps narrow down one of the values in the Drake equation. At the moment, as far as we know, life is unique to Earth. If we can show that life has arisen at least twice in a single solar system then life is probably somewhat common throughout the universe.

    What we still won't know is the probability of that life becoming complex/multicellular, and then the probability of complex life evolving intelligence.

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    i find the self potrait of the rover more astonisihing than the discovery of organic compounds..

    we, the human race, did that! we sent something to another planet, landed it safely, enabled it to survive in energy terms for a huge amount of time...AND TOOK A SELFIE, and then sent it back to earth!

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Phage View Post
    Just about every major religion will go completely nuts
    Only because Earth Jesus was clearly the one, true messiah and Martian Jesus was a false prophet....!!

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I'm not really sure what the discovery is supposed to show. Although it is cool that we(so to speak) have a roving laboratory on Mars. Who the hell cares if there was life on Mars. All we need to find is more habitable planets; not formally, maybe inhabited ones.
    1/. If it was a formerly habitable environment, it might give us clues as to why it was and how we might recreate it...

    2/. Who cares? David Bowie did...
    But yeah, you're right - I guess the football scores are of far greater relevance to society than the future of the rapidly self-destructing human race.... I guess we ought to shut down NASA and pump the cash instead into buying more foreign players, with even more outrageous haircuts and underwear modelling campaigns. That'll really help society out.

    3/. More habitable planets.... Likely much further away and costing far more to establish a colony, than the one on our doorstep that looks far more suitable already. Bit of a parallel thread, here, eh.
    Hey, you could always space-ship radical fundamentalists there... It's even a suitable Blair/Labour red colour!!

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I'm not really sure what the discovery is supposed to show. Although it is cool that we(so to speak) have a roving laboratory on Mars. Who the hell cares if there was life on Mars. All we need to find is more habitable planets; not formally, maybe inhabited ones.
    Before searching for habitability/life on other planets we need to understand which atmospheric elements/molecules indicate those properties. The best means of probing exoplanets for habitability/life is a technique called transmission spectroscopy. Essentially you wait for a planet with a suitable orbit to pass in front of its host star and gather as many photons as you can with a massive telescope. This gives you the spectrum of star (almost all the photons) + starlight transmitted through planetary atmosphere (tiny % of photon count). You then subtract the spectrum recorded without the planet in front and (hopefully, signal to noise permitting) are left with the transmission spectrum of the planetary atmosphere. Various absorption lines indicate different elements/molecules in the planetary atmosphere.

    It is therefore very important to understand whether methane (or other atmospheric markers) indicates life or habitability. Are there other atmospheric markers that can help to discriminate between biological and non-biological sources of methane? What else should we be looking for? Astrobiologists can come up with theories of how life develops and what the atmospheric signatures are likely to be. However, it would be foolish not to test those theories against the examples we have on our doorstep (relatively speaking) before drawing conclusions about planets we can't even directly resolve from their host star.
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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I'm not really sure what the discovery is supposed to show. Although it is cool that we(so to speak) have a roving laboratory on Mars. Who the hell cares if there was life on Mars. All we need to find is more habitable planets; not formally, maybe inhabited ones.
    We don't know if it's possible for life to survive outside of Earth. To date, the only place life is known to exist in this massive universe is here, on Earth. If we can find life next door, then that seriously changes the view of the universe.

    We won't last for long on this planet, now that we have the ability to start looking elsewhere we need to jump on it. Colonising Mars is a distant bit of science fiction, but one that would ensure the longevity of the human race if there was a disaster on Earth - and ultimately (and even more challenging) colonising another star system.

    But bear in mind. Manned flight was born in 1903, before that the human race couldn't fly, we could float with things, or fall in style, but not fly. And then in 1976 we successfully landed an unmanned craft onto another planet, over 50 million km away through the vacuum of space. That's less that two generations of humans. I wouldn't underestimate future generations ability to propel us further.

    It also has a significant impact on our understanding on the source of life. We currently theorise that life originated on Earth exclusively, if life can be identified on neighbouring planets, then there is more doubt to that, there is more possibility to the idea of life being seeded from asteroids etc.

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Dashers View Post
    If we can find life next door, then that seriously changes the view of the universe.
    Especially since the difference is a commute of 13 light minutes rather than 13 light years.... and that's without heavy traffic!!

    "Hi, hon, it's me. I'm stuck on the M-459 just past Ceti-3B... Yeah, someone came out of hyperspace without looking and hit a freighter. Yeah, BMW pilot, as usual! GalNav says I'll be home in about eleven generations, but feel free to start dinner without me..."

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    Oh don't get me wrong, I think it's a great achievement, putting a lab on Mars. I think this is what I'd call a historical search for life.

    Thanks Lanky123> I am aware that the search for habitable planets is ongoing and they are using different methods. I just like asking questions, playing with ideas. I for a long time have been suggesting we use comets that are known to return periodically , and place a recording system on them. Which after that test a few years ago, is possible. The recording device would become active within distant solar systems.

    I believe there is life out there. Another of my theories is that all life on this planet is one organism. I think we often focus on humans, but life itself just evolves to suit any environment(almost). So therefore alien life might have the same bases as life here but simply adapted to a different environment. I don't know about 'gods' that's all mythology to me.

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    Re: Ancient organic compounds found on Mars

    Quote Originally Posted by Dashers View Post
    It also has a significant impact on our understanding on the source of life. We currently theorise that life originated on Earth exclusively, if life can be identified on neighbouring planets, then there is more doubt to that, there is more possibility to the idea of life being seeded from asteroids etc.
    Supposedly the only way the heavier elements in our bodies are created is through multiple super-nova. Maybe it isn't just elements that get pushed across space by exploding stars, if a system started to support life then would a super-nova of the host star be enough to break molecules on a goldilocks zone planet into constituent atoms, or would they be blown across space?

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