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View Diary: Getting to Know Your Solar System (11): Mars (Vol. 1) (38 comments)

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  •  It makes me smile (6+ / 0-)

    to read your matter-of-fact commentary about liquid water sculpting the surface of Mars.

    Not until Mars Global Surveyor (1997-2006) did we get enough evidence for that to be uncontroversial, and enough regular passes of the same area to see changes before our eyes. Dust devils and even evidence of a water flow!

    This is among my favorites:

    A new gully appears on Mars.
    NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
    Pretty. Freaking. Awesome.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:23:42 PM PDT

    •  I find the implications far more staggering. (5+ / 0-)

      With all the evidence built up over the years - the Antarctica meteorite, the anomalous seasonal methane in the atmosphere, and now we know liquid water occasionally makes it to the surface - it seems pretty likely that life processes are occurring.  I just hope people aren't so shocked when it's confirmed that they overreact and try to cordon off Mars to human settlement.

      Everything in moderation, including moderation.

      by Troubadour on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:02:29 PM PDT

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      •  In the 80's, these theories were ridiculous (3+ / 0-)

        and for example Mars Observer (which became Mars Global Surveyor) wasn't even supposed to have a camera... because everyone knew you couldn't do science with one.

        Fortunately, there was a group who disagreed and proposed a camera anyway.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 08:11:47 AM PDT

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      •  Biosafety would be a prime concern (4+ / 0-)

        going in both directions.

             Martian organisms, if they exist, would probably differ from any terrestrial organism more than any two terrestrial organisms differ from each other. If they had some function that was harmful to terrestrial life, no terrestrial organism would be adapted to resist them.

             Probably an even greater concern would be damage to the fragile Martian environment from invasive terrestrial species. While as far as we know Mars is pretty hostile to most terrestrial life, our current knowledge of terrestrial microbiota does not allow us to conclude that no terrestrial organism could grow wild on Mars, especially if a favorable microclimate were present.

             But probably the biggest unknown is how humanity would react to clear evidence of extraterrestrial life. You're quite correct that it would almost certainly be a shocking revelation given our cultural attitudes towards aliens.

        Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, unapologetic supporter of Obama and Occupy. Tammy Baldwin for Senate and Recall Walker!

        by fearlessfred14 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 08:32:11 AM PDT

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