PDA

View Full Version : If life is found on mars: What?



snowcelt
2003-Aug-01, 03:33 PM
Would we fall apart as men/women; or would we be men/women? Do or die? Dumb or dumber/ What would we do?

TheTruthHurts1
2003-Aug-01, 04:04 PM
what do you mean what would we do? we would not do anything, id say NASA and the Government would hide it for a few years at least until they get every detail, then MAYBE release it, but when you say what would we do... i dont get that part, we would not do anything, why would Man fall apart??...very strange of you to say that, there not looking for life like us if you think thats the case, if they are going to find life, it will be tiny organisms, plants etc etc. Not big fat aliens running around killing eachother! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :o :o :o :o

snowcelt
2003-Aug-01, 04:28 PM
what do you mean what would we do? we would not do anything, id say NASA and the Government would hide it for a few years at least until they get every detail, then MAYBE release it, but when you say what would we do... i dont get that part, we would not do anything, why would Man fall apart??...very strange of you to say that, there not looking for life like us if you think thats the case, if they are going to find life, it will be tiny organisms, plants etc etc. Not big fat aliens running around killing eachother! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :o :o :o :o
For god's sake, get a hold of your self. I have two things to say to you and all the other dna defeatist,
! Any life found outside of earth will make Darwin's finches look like new found dog sh**. 2. Jesus ,Budda, and Foo-man chu will become minor prophets. None, with a mind. will deny the reality that man is but one of many beasts that dwell in the universe.

eburacum45
2003-Aug-01, 04:28 PM
Some pepole think that the discovery of life on Mars would mean that we should avoid contamination by Earth-type organisms; Carl Sagan was one, I believe. It may even be to late for that, thanks to the few sucessful landing missions already present on the red planet.

There is no NASA policy or international protocol yet concerning the discovery of extraterrestrial life; soon we may need one.
Here are two PDF'S considering the situation from a moral and scientific standpoint;
http://www.seti.org/pdf/m_race_guidelines.pdf
http://www.seti-inst.edu/pdf/m_race_ethics.pdf
Three axioms defined in one of these links are of interest; faced with the discovery of extraterrestrial life of any kind, the most important considerations are considered to be the Preservation, Stewardship and Intrinsic Worth of the lifeforms concerned.

Some however consider that the preservation of extraterrestrial lifeforms, intelligent or non-intelligent, should be subordinate to the propagation of Terrestrial species and civilisation; it is important to remember that the expansion of terrestrial life into the universe is a respectable aim. If we find even primitive lifeforms on every terrestrial type planet this aim will be difficult to achieve without disturbing such lifeforms.

For this reason the policies of Preservation and Stewardship should be observed as far as possible, but if it is possible to remove any primitive ecosystems from a planet and preserve them in smaller, tailor-made environments,
preservation could be possible while allowing the planet concerned to be developed for terrestrial life.
In other words, let them have Phobos and Deimos, if possible; let us have Mars.

snowcelt
2003-Aug-01, 04:43 PM
No way. If there is any type of life on Mars we must at least spend many years thinking about what too do.
We can do many things if we figure that would be good.,

Eddington
2003-Aug-01, 04:56 PM
Some pepole think that the discovery of life on Mars would mean that we should avoid contamination by Earth-type organisms; Carl Sagan was one, I believe. It may even be to late for that, thanks to the few sucessful landing missions already present on the red planet.



I think people realised that that's why all the landers to mars were built in a sterile environment and sterilised before flight. The russians used to do that by having a radioactive source on the S/C that released radiation when on orbit and practically kill everything that survived. But to tell you the truth not much would survive (not even bacterial spores) the harsh environment of interplanetary travel.

ToSeek
2003-Aug-01, 05:24 PM
No way. If there is any type of life on Mars we must at least spend many years thinking about what too do.
We can do many things if we figure that would be good.,

The intrinsic rights of Martian bugs (http://www.spacedaily.com/news/mars-life-03e.html) - An apropos article.

Doodler
2003-Aug-01, 06:01 PM
Personally, it be interesting to see if any terraforming efforts actually re-enervate any latent Martian life. The question could easily be answered by testing terrestrial extremophiles in less than extreme conditions to see if they flourish or perish. Secondly, given the nasty persistance microbial life is known for, whats to say we could even "scour the toilet" if we wanted to? If the biosphere is planetwide, even if tenuous, how do we clear that much area shy of making it useless to us? I think a better terrestrial analogy is the so called urban interface, where suburban homes are being built in very undeveloped areas rife with wildlife, not in tree-barren, preplanned neighborhoods. These areas are always the worst hit by wildfires and wild animal attacks, yet these people seek to live here. We could get a good feel for how human colonization will handle native Martian life on a psychological scale by comparing it to these psuedo-frontier settlers. It ain't pretty IMHO.

Pi Man
2003-Aug-01, 06:25 PM
For god's sake, get a hold of your self. I have two things to say to you and all the other dna defeatist,
! Any life found outside of earth will make Darwin's finches look like new found dog sh**. 2. Jesus ,Budda, and Foo-man chu will become minor prophets. None, with a mind. will deny the reality that man is but one of many beasts that dwell in the universe.

So, your only problem with finding little one-celled martians is that it will give almost un-deniable proof to evolution?

dgruss23
2003-Aug-01, 06:49 PM
I think from a scientific point of view the discovery of life on Mars, Europa, Titan or anywhere else would indicate that most likely the process of life originating is fairly flexible. It might also allow us to gain a better understanding of requirements needed for the development of life. What would be most fascinating IMO would be the comparison of the life chemistry of extraterrestrial life with life on Earth.

Pi Man
2003-Aug-01, 06:56 PM
I think from a scientific point of view the discovery of life on Mars, Europa, Titan or anywhere else would indicate that most likely the process of life originating is fairly flexible. It might also allow us to gain a better understanding of requirements needed for the development of life. What would be most fascinating IMO would be the comparison of the life chemistry of extraterrestrial life with life on Earth.

Yeah! I hope we one day discover some silicon based lifeforms! (Awww. No alien smilie!)

nebularain
2003-Aug-01, 07:04 PM
Would we fall apart as men/women; or would we be men/women? Do or die? Dumb or dumber/ What would we do?

I guess that depends on who you are.

Scientists will be \:D/ =D> .
Creationists will be :o , :-# , or [-( .
Hoaxers will be :-k .
The majority of people, however, will be =; (just watch, you know they will!).

Kaptain K
2003-Aug-01, 07:08 PM
Silicon based life is not very likely. Although silicon is chemically similar to carbon, there are significant differences. The most important (biologically speaking) is that carbon readily forms chains: C-C-C-C...C-C. Silicon is more likely to form chains containing oxygen: Si-O-Si-O-...Si-O-Si.

dgruss23
2003-Aug-01, 07:11 PM
Neb, do you think creationists would be upset by that? Couldn't they just say that we are seeing evidence for the multiple ways that God creates life?

What would be ironic would be if we contaminated Mars with some hardy bacteria that hitched a ride on one of our probes. That life is discovered having multiplied at some point in the future and then the creationists claim that we have proof that God must have created life because science would not expect identical DNA to be created on different worlds.

Doodler
2003-Aug-01, 07:32 PM
I think the creationists will balk over the concept. Especially the real loonies like Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan and their ilk. For life to exist anywhere else in the universe opens the door to the insignificance of Earth and chops their beliefs off at the knees, groin and neck.

dgruss23
2003-Aug-01, 07:41 PM
I think the creationists will balk over the concept. Especially the real loonies like Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan and their ilk. For life to exist anywhere else in the universe opens the door to the insignificance of Earth and chops their beliefs off at the knees, groin and neck.

I really don't understand why they take that point of view. If a person's position is that God created this universe and created us, then why would you want to limit that God by taking the position that we are the only life God created? Wouldn't a more consistent position be that God created life throughout the universe? And why limit God's influence to the last 6000 years? Isn't it more consistent with the view of an omnipotent creator to have the universe be 13.7 billion years as opposed to only 6000 years?

Could any creationists out there help me understand this?

aurorae
2003-Aug-01, 07:50 PM
But to tell you the truth not much would survive (not even bacterial spores) the harsh environment of interplanetary travel.

Actually, one of the early moon landers was visited by Apollo astronauts, who returned one of the cameras from it for study. The camera contained streptococus (sp?) bacteria, which was still viable. So, it survived the flight from Earth to the Moon, plus a couple of years on the lunar surface. Pretty tough stuff, hard to kill.

Pi Man
2003-Aug-01, 07:58 PM
I really don't understand why they take that point of view. If a person's position is that God created this universe and created us, then why would you want to limit that God by taking the position that we are the only life God created? Wouldn't a more consistent position be that God created life throughout the universe? And why limit God's influence to the last 6000 years? Isn't it more consistent with the view of an omnipotent creator to have the universe be 13.7 billion years as opposed to only 6000 years?

Could any creationists out there help me understand this?

No. :)

Doodler
2003-Aug-01, 08:19 PM
I think the creationists will balk over the concept. Especially the real loonies like Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan and their ilk. For life to exist anywhere else in the universe opens the door to the insignificance of Earth and chops their beliefs off at the knees, groin and neck.

I really don't understand why they take that point of view. If a person's position is that God created this universe and created us, then why would you want to limit that God by taking the position that we are the only life God created? Wouldn't a more consistent position be that God created life throughout the universe? And why limit God's influence to the last 6000 years? Isn't it more consistent with the view of an omnipotent creator to have the universe be 13.7 billion years as opposed to only 6000 years?

Could any creationists out there help me understand this?

Ask that question to one, Jerry Falwell. A man who is on the record stating his disbelief in extraterrestrial life.

nebularain
2003-Aug-01, 08:24 PM
You have to understand the way they are reading the Bible, specifically Genesis 1. They see "6 days" - and so 6 24-hour time periods it is! Forget the fact that reading it this way makes no sense! (How can you have a timed "day" before the sun and moon are created?) I think they also have a hard time with seeing God as an artist. Sometimes looking at things that way helps me to reconcile elements I do not understand. But for some reason, they have a hard time believing Gen. 1 is not a scientific account of creation - even after you tell them science was not around when it was written! It's like they think that because God is sovereign, He would have written then account to our understanding and that's all we need to know.

So, what does this have to do with life - even if only microscopic life - on Mars? Well, from the literist perspective, life elsewhere but this planet threatens that view. And I'll admit, it is hard to break out of. If you think about it, people in general have ideas about how life is ordered and what orders life. No one likes to have this positioned threatened. No one likes dealing with uncertanties (ever have "everything you believe" crash down on you?). So, it's easier to stick with what is comfortable, no matter how unsound, than to venture into uncharted waters, not knowing if you will make it through or not.

It's like this skit we had in my youth group. A guy is mountain climbing, slips, manages to grab the rope (for some reason, he is not properly hooked to the rope the way one should - oh well, it works for the skit!), and is hanging in mid-air dangling from the rope. When he cries for help, God answers. To make a long story short, God promises to rescue him, but he must do one thing first - let go of the rope. His response - "Ri-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ght! That's a good one! Ha-ha! Let go of this rope! . . . No way!"

I'm not sure I am explaining this well enough. But if you can understand basic human psychology on dealing with beliefs and how uncompfrtable it can get having beliefs challenged and needing to find re-adjustment, then understand how Creationists hold a literalist translation that I do not believe it was meant to be read in, then maybe you can appreciate the conflict.

Keep ion mind, also, that everyone has their priorities in life, and not everyone is science-obsessed like us, and so they don't care enough about knowing more of these matters to rock any boats in their lives. I am a rarity, it seems (a Christian willing to take the risk to walk this tightrope across the canyon - that's how it felt going through it!).

So, does that make sense?

Pi Man
2003-Aug-01, 08:38 PM
Also, the ones that I know would have their faith in God severely shaken if it were (somehow) proven to them that the universe has to be older than they think, and that the universe was not constructed in 6 days, but in several billion years! I still don't understand why they put that much importance on the age of the universe, when it put's their faith in Jesus at steak.

Doodler
2003-Aug-01, 09:12 PM
Because to debunk the nature of the creationist universe is to undermine the power of God himself. If he didn't create life, is he really all that powerful? If life does not need a creator, then does one even exist? To demonstrate that life on this planet is not unique to that universe is to undermine the very pages of the Bible itself. This is a direct threat to the very fabric of creation from which the whole of the religion is woven. That the belief system upholds certain moral and ethical values is an aside to the reality that it is based on primitive mythology and superstition. The future success of creationist religions can only come if there is a way to keep their belief in a creator relevant to modern thinking, and the discovery of life elsewhere in the solar system is a definite step in the wrong direction for them.

man on the moon
2003-Aug-01, 09:25 PM
I think the creationists will balk over the concept. Especially the real loonies like Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan and their ilk. For life to exist anywhere else in the universe opens the door to the insignificance of Earth and chops their beliefs off at the knees, groin and neck.

I really don't understand why they take that point of view. If a person's position is that God created this universe and created us, then why would you want to limit that God by taking the position that we are the only life God created? Wouldn't a more consistent position be that God created life throughout the universe? And why limit God's influence to the last 6000 years? Isn't it more consistent with the view of an omnipotent creator to have the universe be 13.7 billion years as opposed to only 6000 years?

Could any creationists out there help me understand this?

maybe. i'm something of a creationist...but even i find there diatribes somewhat ridiculous. i'm something of a liberal--politically and otherwise. i don't see why God couldn't have existed for billions or millions or whatever years. the Bible does say "I am the Alpha and the Omega..." and "before there was time, I was..." etc. now i'm not going to go into the whole literal or figurative debate about the 24 hour thing, but as far as being alone in the universe? as a christian that is silly to me. looking at (from my view now, i'm going to stray from straight science for a minute) the incredible variety of life on Earth what with birds, fish, animals, prants, and even to microscopic levels...it is incredible. both in nature and in the Bible you can see beauty and variety whether you are an atheist or a biblical literalist. i highly doubt that God (again, assuming a creationists view) would have made this smal world the only one in the universe. even the Solar System shows incredible beauty and variety in the types and colors and makeup of the planets. that is obvious regardless of whether someone has faith or no.

if life is found on Mars (no comment on that at the moment), i don't know what those folk will say about it. perhaps that it is a fraud, or that it was taken there on one of the probes. i haven't studied any of them thouroughly enough to make a call on that at the moment, but i do know what i believe. and i know i'm not the only one. there are plenty of creationists who hold a similar viewpoint. (where do you think i picked it up?). i do believe there is other life in the universe, as for Mars? we can only wait and see. personally i doubt it, but i'm not going to say it's impossible.

hope that helps--just know we aren't all the same!

(would that make "we" unusable? hmm...if i'm sort of like them but disagree greatly...:-k )

man on the moon
2003-Aug-01, 09:30 PM
now don't take that as i'm discounting science! please! science is great, and reveals incredible information and knowledge about, well, everything. i see it more as "God created everything, now i'm trying figure out how all those things work". that's what i view science as, a great voyage to discover God's works. not to dominate and squash others. please....i'm in the same boat as all of you. (just a different deck perhaps. :wink: )

NOT A NUT!!!

ok. i'm done. back to science. :D

if life is found on Mars, do you think it will be able to survive in an earth atmosphere? or will we have to make a "biosphere" for it to be studied in?

Archer17
2003-Aug-01, 10:24 PM
...if life is found on Mars, do you think it will be able to survive in an earth atmosphere? or will we have to make a "biosphere" for it to be studied in?I agree with TheTruthHurts1, any life found on Mars would be simple (ie microorganisms) and, if that's the case, they would probably survive in Earth's atmosphere. aurorae's post about bacteria surviving on the moon would be a case in point as to the hardiness of such organisms (interesting BTW, never heard of that before today). As far as the religious/philosophical/scientific implications go, I think the human race is more adaptable than some might presume. Think of some of the old theories (like everything revolving around the Earth for example) that went by the wayside. There was initially some growing pains (ask Galileo!) but eventually truth won out without the world descending into anarchy. Both science and religion were affected by the contributions of Copernicus and Galileo (and a host of others in our history) and life went on anyway. I'd like to think that we, as a world, can thrive on new discoveries no matter whose boat it rocks without descending into chaos.

Chip
2003-Aug-02, 12:34 AM
Would we fall apart as men/women; or would we be men/women? Do or die? Dumb or dumber/ What would we do?

If life were detected on Mars:

1.It would likely be microbial.
2. The location on Mars where it was detected, including its immediate habitat would be of vital importance for further study.
3. A robotic probe would likely detect it, though on-site human research would eventually be inevitable.
4. It would have to be determined if the life form(s) had properties peculiar to the Martian environment, or did they originate on Earth, and later adapt to Mars?
5. There would be unforeseen spin-offs of research.
6. In addition to the biologists, the geologists, astronomers, physicists, and many more would all become involved.
7. There would be foreseen and unforeseen scientific, philosophical and religious implications.
8. Lots of new speculative papers, books, popular science books, magazine articles, PBS & BBC specials, would be produced.
9. New experiments developed (on Earth) to test theories in the lab.
10. Nobel prize goes to someone or a group for discoveries in this field.

dgruss23
2003-Aug-02, 02:29 AM
nebularain wrote: So, what does this have to do with life - even if only microscopic life - on Mars? Well, from the literist perspective, life elsewhere but this planet threatens that view. And I'll admit, it is hard to break out of. If you think about it, people in general have ideas about how life is ordered and what orders life. No one likes to have this positioned threatened. No one likes dealing with uncertanties (ever have "everything you believe" crash down on you?). So, it's easier to stick with what is comfortable, no matter how unsound, than to venture into uncharted waters, not knowing if you will make it through or not.


I understand that what you're saying is what they think - and what you go on to say about people not liking to have belief's challenged (As a side note this is why political debates can get testy - for many people political views are held as close and personal as religious views), but I don't understand why a certain amount of logic doesn't come into play here.

Richard Anthony Proctor wrote a book in 1870 titled "Other Worlds than Ours". The thrust of the book was a common view held at the time known as the Plurality of Worlds. According to this line of thinking God would not have created "waste" in the universe so everything must have had a purpose that supported life in some way. The book contains a fascinating set of arguments which tied the science of the time with the Plurality of Worlds concept. For example, knowing Jupiter was not a suitable place for life Proctor proposed that the Galilean Moon's themselves were inhabited and received energy from Jupiter as it was known by then that Jupiter puts out more energy than it receives from the Sun. Comets were thought to support life by colliding with the Sun to help the Sun generate heat.
And it was speculated that the othe stars must have inhabited planets around them!

The Plurality of Worlds view - despite its scientific flaws was far more logical than the Young Earth Creationist position - and in fact was more consistent with the science of the time than YEC is with today's science. Rather than limiting God's creation to a single inhabited planet of only 6000 years age, they saw the entire universe as filled with life. I'm still struggling to understand why YEC cannot see that they in fact are limiting the scope of their creator by taking a literal view of the Bible.

man on the moon
2003-Aug-02, 03:19 AM
I think the human race is more adaptable than some might presume...I'd like to think that we, as a world, can thrive on new discoveries no matter whose boat it rocks without descending into chaos.

=D>

Archer17
2003-Aug-02, 06:55 AM
Thanx man on the moon .. color me an optimist, I hope I'm right.

beskeptical
2003-Aug-02, 07:58 AM
But to tell you the truth not much would survive (not even bacterial spores) the harsh environment of interplanetary travel.

Actually, one of the early moon landers was visited by Apollo astronauts, who returned one of the cameras from it for study. The camera contained streptococus (sp?) bacteria, which was still viable. So, it survived the flight from Earth to the Moon, plus a couple of years on the lunar surface. Pretty tough stuff, hard to kill.
streptococcus

But you said just what I was thinking when I read Eddington.

And Archer added what I would have about the church surviving the discovery that the Earth orbited the Sun.

The comment that NASA isn't prepared is probably out of date. There is a link on another thread where NASA is asking for comments on their quarantine plans when Martian soil and/or rocks are returned by a probe. The policy looked very thorough and well done from my brief perusal of it.

And as to anyone covering it up, even temporarily, I can't see why. Unless they need to prepare for the news release in some way. The press conference on the Alan Hills meteorite was delayed so that the scientists could thoroughly research the possible interpretations of the data. They didn't want to look dumb if someone pointed out an obvious error in their work. But I'll bet they couldn't wait to go public with their work.

As to the reaction of the world, don't get your hopes up. It will probably fill about a week or two of "Life On Mars" headlines then fade into scientific oblivion. People might be real excited and real curious, but the majority will likely have a short attention span.

It is not going to 'prove' to anyone their religious beliefs are wrong. It won't 'prove' to anyone evolution is correct. We have that proof now and folks who want to ignore the evidence do. Folks who want to adjust their interpretation of their world will.

I imagine the change in Biblical interpretation when the Solar System was better described took a generation or two to become established. Then life went on as usual.

nebularain
2003-Aug-02, 11:25 AM
I'm still struggling to understand why YEC cannot see that they in fact are limiting the scope of their creator by taking a literal view of the Bible.

The only way I can describe it is to say that they have an inflexible opinion/belief on what it means for the Bible to be God's word. Any view other than taking the Bible literally is treated as spiritual immaturity or doubt or compromise. It is very disheartening to be told I am spiritually immature because I view Gen. 1-2 as an account written out of a different time and culture that had a different understanding and purpose in its explanation than we would look for, and thus we have to read it as they would understand it, which is not how we would (i.e. literal 6 24-hour time periods). :(

I think that people less prone to intellectualism tend to be less inclined to explore the challenges to their thinking. (Remember sharing your experience about the students who didn't recognize the moon in daylight, and one refused to believe the moon could be seen in daylight?) It's easier to brush it off, ignore it, and make excuses rather than to allow your understanding to be upturned and shaken and re-arranged. And then there's peer pressure.

I guess its the same illogic of hoaxers. It seems they believe there has to be some conspiracy going on somewhere, and so they latch on to whatever hoax theory comes along just because they know the government is hiding information. They can't believe the conspiracy is a hoax becasue then they might have to believe that there is no conspiracy - but they can't believe that. (For whatever reason.)

dgruss23
2003-Aug-02, 12:43 PM
Thanks Neb! I'm sure you're right on the mark. But the logical part of me would like to think that even the person committed to literal interpretation could consider my point and say "That's an interesting idea!".

nebularain
2003-Aug-03, 05:36 PM
Yes, the logic brain would like that very much. Just like it would like Bart Sibrel, Nancy what's-her-name, Hoagland and all of them to access their intellect. :roll:

Anyway, glad I could help clarify that for you. 8)