They've done it again!
Congratulations to the NASA team responsible for this.
In these troubled times any good news is most welcome.
NASA just now successfully landed Perseverance, its largest and heaviest rover yet, on the surface of Mars in the Jezero Crater. The machine will conduct the ambitious mission to finding ancient microbial life on another planet. "Touchdown confirmed. Perseverance has touched down on Mars," Swati Mohan, Navigation and Control …
This is just the kind of wasteful, pork barrel expenditure that all right-thinking people should oppose! The government shouldn't pick winners and should instead leave scientific endeavors to private industry, which will be sure to advance the cause of pure science with much greater speed and efficiency!
Oh, well said, well said! Er, well written. Well played. Well, well. Whatever.
But of course we should not be exploring anything extraterrestrial at all until Holy Capitalism has finished its subjugation of Earth, put all peons in chains, and convinced consumers that Egyptian cotton is edible when covered in chocolate.*
It was unrighteous feats such as this which got Galileo in hot water with God, ya know.
* Catch-22. Milo Minderbinder. Etc.
Quite so, DaveFlagAndTenDigits and My_Handle. Some/So many are far too quick to judge and jump to erroneous conclusions.
The following is a novel development which, with regard to the discussion of the pork being expended on a seriously speculative adventure reported on here, is certainly encouraging and some would say, not before time and long overdue. I look forward to the result of what must surely be grants awarded for developing ideas rather than interest free loans issued for later principal repayment ......... ARIA .... DARPA UKGBNI
That's the one sure way to guarantee future successful results. However, what's the betting on the system doing their best to fcuk that up with an intellectually bankrupt and politically incorrect attempt at lead, although the Telegraph article does say, right at the beginning .......
The £800m Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) will be led by scientists who will be given freedom to identify and fund transformational science and technology projects.
...... which if true, would be somewhat different and laudable and give success every chance of rapid progress in smarter programs and SMARTR Projects .
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Non-paywalled links to ARIA news:
Sarcasm is a risky post anywhere - sarcasm used to be seen as funny until it became a political standard for many people. I think the problem is that these days we read things and always see the bad side first. As a kid I love ghost stories, but these days it's just a dead white guy walking around with his head in his arms.
Recent research indicates that the Martian magnetic field was still active 3.7 billion years ago. As the atmospheric loss due to the solar wind would not have occurred until this field collapsed, Mars would still have had an atmosphere up to that time.
Earth has had life since 4.5 billion years ago. During the overlap between life appearing on Earth and the loss of atmosphere on Mars, Earth was hit many times by meteorites big enough to cause the ejection of rocks from Earth. At least some of those rocks would have had bacteria on them that could survive the trip from Earth to Mars.
Given the above, I would think it very likely that Mars had life at one time.
The interesting question (but very difficult to determine the correct answer to) is did life start on Earth then infect Mars or did life start on Mars and then infect Earth ?
This icon seems appropriate =======================>
The Solar System is 4.5 billion years old. The universe is 13 bn yrs, the galaxy 12 bn yrs. It is possible to imagine that life arose elsewhere in the galaxy 8 bn yrs ago. Ejected rocks carrying bacteria could move around the galaxy at, say, 20 miles per second, or c/10,000. In 1 bn yrs they would then travel 100,000 light years, the diameter of the galaxy.
So life starting at one point in the galaxy could spread all over. It would not have time, however, to reach the Andromeda galaxy.
This is, of course, the old panspermia hypothesis. Maybe one day we shall be able to test it.
Panspermia is interesting, but I think the more likely case is that [like planets around stars] it is more plentiful in the universe than not. Life exists on earth in even the most hostile places, "finds a way" to continue existing. Perhaps the rest of the universe is the same way...
> heat caused as it went through the (then) substantial Martian atmosphere would have rendered it sterile?
That's what I thought too, but apparently it is possible. I don't remember the details, but the gist was that while obviously a living organism would had been killed, the building blocks for life can survive the quite ungentle transfer.
On arrival, if there is the necessary solvent (water) and the right temperature ranges, they can assemble into something which can assemble into the most primitive structure one could call "alive". And from there on evolve to invent Facebook.
On arrival, if there is the necessary solvent (water) and the right temperature ranges, they can assemble into something which can assemble into the most primitive structure one could call "alive".
That is indeed a popular theory. Except that all attempts to simulate such a thing in the laboratory has not once succeeded. If many thousands of *deliberate* attempts to create life have failed, the probability that it would happen *in this way* by pure chance is extremely remote. Events such as meteors from Earth hitting the surface of Mars before completely burning up in the atmosphere are *extremely* infrequent, so we are not talking about huge numbers of such events even over timespans of tens of millions of years.
I think you have forgotten the infinite number of monkeys. Any deliberate attempt to create life 'thousands of times' has nothing on billions of years of nature having billions of attempts in billions of combinations of environment. Life and evolution is definitely a numbers game.
"... surely the heat caused as it went through the (then) substantial Martian atmosphere would have rendered it sterile?"
Nope. Truly, the outer crust may get a bit hot but even a brick-sized falling rock could stay frozen at the core or even just a little way into it during the infall. Rocks don't fall through airs like Earth's or Mars's for very long, maybe only five or ten seconds or so, so there isn't time enough for them to be thoroughly cooked all the way through. Massive great boulders would be even more raw until they landed.
> I'm a bit skeptical
Why? You would be surprised how many martian rocks (stones ejected from Mars) have managed to land on Earth as meteorites, so one can assume there is a similar amount of Earth rocks on Mars. They could have cross-pollinated each other if the starting conditions were similar, but of course they could also have developed life all on their own.
A theory states that the basic organic stuff came on the asteroids which were at some point ejected from their orbit by Jupiter, in which case they would have sowed all inner planets with the building blocks of life, and life just caught where the conditions were right at the time. Simple life is apparently quite easy to create, so there is no reason why Mars wouldn't had been infected if it had the right conditions.
Actually... One would expect far fewer Earth rocks hitting Mars than Mars rocks hitting Earth.
To begin with, any rock ejected from Earth has to travel fast enough to travel outward against Solar gravity to get to Mars. The escape velocity is higher for Earth than for Mars (leading to fewer rocks escaping). And Earth is a larger target. Plus, the Moon tends to focus incoming objects towards the Earth.
atmospheric loss due to the solar wind would not have occurred until this field collapsed
Yes, this is the theory (along with a solid or nearly solid core which would lack the magma activity needed to generate a magnetic field from planetary rotation, etc.) along with other theories including the magnetic field generation theory.
Some direct proof of the above would be nice. Maybe on a later mission? The magnetic field could be measured with your standard 9 axis IMU. Just sayin'.
Until then, the Mars meteorites discovered over a decade ago [as I recall] had some evidence of structures that COULD have been caused by bacteria, and that the rocks themselves were supposed have originated on Mars. So, "some evidence" is already there. Proof time!
Maybe the helicopter can spot something better than on-ground cameras that would be worthy of the rover to analyze to a greater extent. Not sure exactly what they'd be looking for in that realm, but I kinda like the ancient lake bed approach so I think they've got a much better chance of finding that important conclusive evidence than on ANY other previous mission.
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