back to article Good news: Sub-surface life on Mars possible, moons from big impacts. There is no bad news

In a double dose of Martian research, scientists believe that the planet once had the right environmental conditions to support life underground and its moons may have been born from an ancient collision. Deep life NASA boffins are increasingly convinced that the best chances for finding microbial life on Mars is under the …

  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Very interesting stuff!

    Great boffinry all round! Really curious to see if the JAXA mission can shed more light on the origins of Phobos and Deimos.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Very interesting stuff!

      I guess a sample return mission from one of the moons will be a good trial run for a Mars (surface) sample return.

  2. Crisp

    I've got a red moon

    And I want to paint it black

  3. Dr Who

    after a powerful collision event

    There it is again. It's not a collision event, it's just a collision. Why does everything have to be an event these days. Extreme weather event (storm), seismic event (earthquake) etc... etc... Just stop it everybody.

    1. DropBear

      Re: after a powerful collision event

      Hey, stop trying to change the narrative...!

    2. VinceH

      Re: after a powerful collision event

      Tut, you're just having a stamping your feet event.

      And it's prompted me to have a reply to your post event!

    3. taxythingy

      Re: after a powerful collision event

      But with events, anyone interested can get on with what they are doing, as they know they will get notified when the collision happens.

      Everyone else spends far too much of their time running around with hands in the air asking "Did something just happen?!", instead of getting on with things.

    4. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

      Re: after a powerful collision event

      You can easily avoid such reporting by going beyond the event horizon.

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    "Sign on tunnel leading into moon's/martian depths : "Abandon hope all ye who enter here - Morlocks be skulking here."

    Jokes aside, this is very interesting. We always thought the moon/Mars is cold and lifeless, but a microscopial examination may tell something different.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. DJV Silver badge

    Japanese are developing a mission called MMX

    Is that the one with the single instruction, multiple data (SIMD) instruction set?

    1. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: Japanese are developing a mission called MMX @DJV

      Nope, it's a marble machine that plays music. It may need a bit of amplification in Mars' thin air

      Joking aside, this video is very interesting.

  7. Kaltern

    I do hope that, if microbial life is indeed found on Mars, or even our own moon, that they don't try and bring it right back to Earth...I don't really fancy being exterminated by an unrelenting bacterial infection that, being from a completely different ecosystem, is totally invulnerable to all forms of anti-biotic, and that the human immune system is incapable to fighting off.

    Now, where's my oxygen tent...

    1. jmch Silver badge

      " if microbial life is indeed found on Mars, or even our own moon, that they don't try and bring it right back to Earth...I don't really fancy being exterminated by an unrelenting bacterial infection... "

      The reason that certain types of bacteria 'infect' humans (and other animals) is that they have co-developed over millions of years. Bacteria (and viruses) that cause human illnesses are highly evolved to take advantage of specific characteristics of human physiology. It is extremely unlikely that any alien bacteria would cause widespread and fatal epidemics except by pure chance. (not that we should be betting the survival of the species on chance, however small)

      Sorry HG Wells, your plot twist wouldn't work in real life :)

      1. xeroks

        "The chances of anything coming from Mars (capable of taking advantage of specific characteristics of human physiology and causing widespread and fatal epidemics) are a million to one, he said.

        But still, they come."

        It has a nice ring about it, but could do with some work.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The plot twist was basically "and it was all a dream".

        Worst. Film. Ever.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        HG Wells is right, we best beware of plot twists

        The idea that earth life forms need not worry about off earth life forms because life here has co-developed is flawed, so much so that I think most can see why if they thought about it.

        We have only one example of life and can only take educated guesses at what other life forms there could be. Having only one example when there may be many other examples should not inspire confidence that all are similar.

        Even if one considers that life forms of similar kind would be contained by distances between systems we should be cautious based on the characteristics of life here on earth, in our own system.

        When life here experiences a major disruption it tends to oscillate between extremes, with one life form dominating, then collapsing as another grows to dominate and so on. It takes some time, some long time, before a homeostasis, or equilibrium develops making the system more stable for all remaining life.

        Any new life form could cause a major disruption. Our current success as a life form is dependent on earths ecosystem. That is changing and hopefully it will not be too long before we are not so dependent but until we invent free energy of energy "too cheep to meter" we are very dependent on earths ecosystem.

        A quick thought of the risk analysis shows that the negative outcome of not controlling the introduction of foreign life forms, at least when we can, is so great that it must be addressed.

        At least more so than a confident "Sorry it wouldn't happen".

        Although in my experience most people prefer such false confidence and will promote the confident fool offering empty assurances (not that jmch is a fool I thinking of you Bob). Further promotions follow when catastrophe strikes and the same fool (you again Bob) jumps up to claim no one saw it coming and then uses the procedure developed by the person who not only saw it coming, spoke up at cost, and then developed a response just in case. But I digress.

        We can't know, the consequences are high, caution is warranted.

        1. D@v3

          Re: energy "too cheep to meter"

          My concern is that when 'energy to cheap to meter' does finally become a thing, those who are in control of it will find a very efficient way to meter it, and make themselves (as near to) 100% profit (as makes no difference), and we plebs will be no better off for it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: energy "too cheep to meter"

            Given that the 'overpriced but too cheap to meter' would augment existing production, it couldn't charge more than current costs.

            And thanks to having a market economy and patents being time limited, some crafty bugger engorged with the prospect of filthy lucre will generate the free electricity and make themselves 50% profit rather than 100%, leading to either the original company dropping prices or going bust.

            Over a relatively short period of time profits would be driven down to the cost of capital.

      4. kouja

        Well, except the alien bacteria and us having the same ancestors long time ago...

  8. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Life on Mars?

    It's a God-awful small affair.

    1. DJV Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @Aladdin Sane

      Hah, just how long since you took your "Aladdin Sane" name have you waited to post that?!

      Made me laugh, anyway!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To paraphrase Douglas Adams "The Martians lived happily under the surface of Mars oblivious of there being anything else in existence ... until one day some scientists from a small blue planet in the vicinity called Earth drilled down through the Martian surface and found them. The Martians climbed up through the hole to the surface, saw the vast universe around them and said: "it will have to go".

  10. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

    Whose moons are these?

    “I would not consider this to be a final solution to the mystery of the moons' origin, ...." It’s difficult to replicate the surface of the Moon’s in a laboratory, ....

    Martian moons: where auto-correct isn't.

  11. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    You don't want a red dwarf ripping Uranus asunder

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