[meteorite-list] OCEANS ON MARS

From: Mark Crawford <mark_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 00:06:53 +0100
Message-ID: <4670788D.7040205_at_annasach.net>

>>I get more convinced as time passes, that we *will*
>>find either active or fossil life forms on Mars in my lifetime.
>Don't kid yourself Mark,
>Did you ever do that calculation in physics where you If not, it works out that the chances are that you
>have to leave the box for something like 10^20 times
>longer than the universe has been around for to have a
>chance of it happening or something ridiculous like
>that. My point is that random chemical production of complex
>amino acids is one thing but DNA is quite the other
>and how it manages to develop from a molecule to
>sentience is off any scale.
Completely agree - but we're here to argue about it, right? So, given
the universe has a greater than zero chance of life emerging (which I
hope we can all agree on, even on metlist), it either happens in a tiny
fraction of potential cases, or we're unique. Since I specifically
mentioned Mars, I'd argue that the chances are somewhat higher than
(arbitrarily) 10^20, because we share a common environment. I'm not
positing panspermia (nor ruling it out); just noting the fact that we
have a stable single star, a habitable zone which extended further out
in geological time, and demonstrably a place where the right stuff
emerged to do it at least once. I think Mars is a hot bet, and getting
hotter by the year :)

>A group of British scientists predicted finding life
>on extrasolar planets in the next 10 years in the last
>week. How presumptious is this???
Probably pretty presumptious, I agree; but this species does tend to
get a little excitable on this topic. I offer myself as a type specimen
in evidence ;)

>You really have to believe that life will form wherever it can which is not the
>same as life finding a way to hang on
Personally, I do believe that life will form, a lot of the time, in an
environment where the conditions are right. You're completely right in
about 'forming' vs 'hanging on' in a place where it's close to extant
life, like sulphur vents vs rainforests - but as I say above, narrow the
field of view. Maybe in our solar system, Mars is the sulphur vent to
our rainforest?

>I REALLY think it will be. (ohhh, geez, I hope proof isn't found next week)
I'll happily join you in humble pie and a decent pint if we ever get
proof either way :) Hell, I'll buy you a pint anyway and we can argue
till the cows come home 8)

Received on Wed 13 Jun 2007 07:06:53 PM PDT

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