How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

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How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Ney » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:19 am

...how would you react? What would your reaction be?

Details: Single cellular prokaryotes have been found in the northern polar ice cap (liquid water). Nothing else is known aside from the fact that they are bacteria-like. It has been confirmed these are alien and unlike anything found on earth.



edit: fixed the thread title.
Last edited by Ney on Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NEWS! They've just discovered life on Mars.

Postby Captain Obvious » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:21 am

polar ice cap (liquid water)


You do know that is kind of worded oddly, right? Isn't ice the solid state of water?

Very interesting news though.
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Re: NEWS! They've just discovered life on Mars.

Postby Ney » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:24 am

It isn't really news - I am asking what people's reactions would be if this were reported. Obvy, in the summer seasons it is warm enough for the polar ice caps to become liquid at certain levels of terrain on Mars. Sorry for the bad wording.
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Re: NEWS! They've just discovered life on Mars.

Postby Captain Obvious » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:25 am

I didn't know that. Thanks!
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Re: NEWS! They've just discovered life on Mars.

Postby Lord Tuvitor » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:25 am

Damn it, and here I thought you just read something awesome James.

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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Ney » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:28 am

I fixed the title. :|
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Lord Tuvitor » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:44 am

I'd be fricken' stoked. That's how I'd react. I'd probably piss my pants with joy. :D
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby soxtalon » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:48 pm

Agreed with LT. I think it would be an absolute amazing discovery. I would want to know everything I could!
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Salty » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:35 pm

I would hope the intelligent life there was more advanced than it is here.
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby herumorna » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:00 pm

I've always thought it logical that life (as we understand it) exists somewhere in the universe.
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Lord Tuvitor » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:42 pm

I've always imagined that basic life is all over the universe, possibly in a few other places within our solar system (Enceladus, Titan, Europa, and of course Mars) but intelligent/sentient life with the ability to create technology is probably extremely rare in the universe.
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Emperor's Prize » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:53 pm

Lord Tuvitor wrote:intelligent/sentient life ... is probably extremely rare in the universe.

God knows it's pretty rare here on Earth. :p
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Lord Tuvitor » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:09 am

Emperor's Prize wrote:
Lord Tuvitor wrote:intelligent/sentient life ... is probably extremely rare in the universe.

God knows it's pretty rare here on Earth. :p


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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Viper » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:18 am

herumorna wrote:I've always thought it logical that life (as we understand it) exists somewhere in the universe.


If we are taking about life arising from chaos randomly, then I'd say that the probability of that happening twice in the universe would be utterly astronomical. All the things that have to be *just right* for life to arise spontaneously would make the probability pretty crazy.

Now, if you're talking intelligent design, on the other hand, then it would be extremely likely. :D
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Ney » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:20 am

Viper wrote:
herumorna wrote:I've always thought it logical that life (as we understand it) exists somewhere in the universe.


If we are taking about life arising from chaos randomly, then I'd say that the probability of that happening twice in the universe would be utterly astronomical. All the things that have to be *just right* for life to arise spontaneously would make the probability pretty crazy.

Now, if you're talking intelligent design, on the other hand, then it would be extremely likely. :D


I'd argue. Kepler and other planet finding missions have proven that there are more rocky planets around stars than ice/gas/methane/liquid giants. And that there are some 90 billion planets in the the milky way. Given that life finds a way on earth to survive in the most extreme places on this planet... and how many planets we're finding in the "goldilocks" (habitable) zones around stars... life is probably pretty abundant. Life as advances as us in an evolutionary manner however is a different story.
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby herumorna » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:01 am

Yup, what ^ said.

On a universal scale, even extreme probabilities become plausible due to the sheer size of the sample set.
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Viper » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:52 pm

I think you guys underestimate the size of the probability. That's what I'm saying is that the probability of life arising randomly is on par with the size of the sample set when you consider everything that has to happen for life to exist in the first place.
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Ney » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:00 pm

I see your point, Viper... but water has been found on every terrestrial planet except Venus. It is one of the most abundant materials found in the universe. I could be wrong on my numbers but on a sample of about 5,000 planets Kepler found by 2011 about 1/4 of them were found in the habitable zone around stars. If all you need is some heat, water and some organic molecules to eventually stir up into life... then we'll likely find it on Enceladus and Europa and probably Mars (northen polar ice cap since it is water vs the southern one being dry ice). Those two moons have the heat (from geothermal activity + gravitational tension from their host planets), the supply of water and organic chemicals to form the building blocks of life.

As for intelligent (I'd prefer to call it evolved life) however I'd say you'd need a lot safer environment.

Now, jumping back to other planets - we've also spectrographed other planet's atmospheres and found a few with water based atmospheres close enough to their stars to have liquid water. If you can have liquid water there's enough heat for the magical cocktail of life to kick in + water. Throw in a comet with some organic material and who knows what is out there! It is fantastic.

And this is all just assuming life only happens based off of a carbon structure. Titan holds a very similar type of geological composure to Earth's but instead of water and so forth it is a hydrocarbon ocean with methane atmosphere. It is theoretical to biologically engineer fruit flies to survive there; that said, given the conditions and how similar the moon is to earth with other chemicals perhaps another type of life is sprouting up? We won't know for a long time (due to NASA's decadal survey and budget cuts we'll be stuck exploring Mars and possibly only Europa for the next few decades).

I'll also break down the sample size a bit more - with recent Kepler data we're finding enough rocky planets in habitable zones to put us probably between a 3-5% chance of life favouring conditions of all the planets found so far just based on Earth's biochemistry in our local cluster (the area we're using to find these planets). That's a really high sample number in comparison to the size of our galaxy and universe.
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Emperor's Prize » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:08 am

Evolution ... accepted as fact since, oh, say, 1979 ...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWxlLzQWM64[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odEO1W_rgiM[/youtube]
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Viper » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:28 am

^ Not arguing against evolution. On the contrary, I'm saying that because of evolution I would say that the likelihood of life randomly arising in multiple places within the universe would have to be crazy small. Think of all the things that have had to happen for it to happen on earth and how, if but one of those things were off by just a little bit, life as we know it would not exist. (Even something as simple as the earth's axis and the way it's tilted supports life in a way that couldn't happen otherwise.)

It's not enough to just have water...or an atmosphere...or to be within a system's habitibal zone. There are literally millions of other things that have had to happen to make life happen just here on earth.

I'm just saying that to suggest that those things can happen more than once is playing with a set of odds/probabilities that would have to be utterly astronomical.
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Emperor's Prize » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:49 am

Viper wrote:I'm just saying that to suggest that those things can happen more than once is playing with a set of odds/probabilities that would have to be utterly astronomical.

Yes, astronomical ... such as the vast canvas that is the cosmos that exists beyond the planet earth ... in which case, with astronomical odds ... the likelihood of life is ... well, quite likely. The odds might be small, but the cosmos is incredibly vast ... more than large enough for life to have occurred on more than one planet. And quite likely on many.
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Scarlet » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:50 am

I think it was Neil deGrasse Tyson who said: "People say, 'Well, have you found life yet?' 'No.' 'Well...' That's like going to the ocean, taking a cup of water, scooping it up and saying, 'There are no whales in the ocean.'
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Viper » Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:23 am

Speaking of Tyson, he just did a podcast with Joe Rogan the other night that was pretty awesome:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhcxffIENBU[/youtube]

Next time you get a couple of hours to spare, it's definitely a great podcast.
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Re: How would you react if we discovered life on Mars?

Postby Ney » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:27 am

Thanks for the link, Vipes. I need a few good podcasts to listen to since I just follow a few from TWiT.

And yeah, your statement about all sorts of factors playing into life being here is spot on - however, that's just our incident. What about other worlds? Personally, I think the moment we find intelligent life elsewhere we'll not realise it at first because it'll be so incredible that we won't understand it.
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