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← Evidence of life on Mars lurks beneath surface of meteorite, Nasa experts claim

Evidence of life on Mars lurks beneath surface of meteorite, Nasa experts claim - Comments

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 1 by SaganTheCat

@David Bowie


Sat, 28 Nov 2009 11:46:00 UTC | #417561

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 2 by Ignorant Amos

Does this mean that life did start in two separate places...or was the life on Mars and Earth seeded from further's fascinating stuff.

Ha Ha Ha....what story will the cretinists come away with to work this one into the "not" so Good Book....I suppose the biomorphs could have left the ark after the flood and made their own way to Mars...marsupials got to Oz after all.

*tongue in cheek*

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 12:12:00 UTC | #417566

gobes's Avatar Comment 3 by gobes

Well God obviously had to have a trial run right? So Mars may have been Earth 1.0.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 12:35:00 UTC | #417570

Saerain's Avatar Comment 4 by Saerain

Call me crazy, but the fact that we may have found fossilized bacteria in a meteorite makes the fact that it came from Mars seem insignificant. The implications are significantly greater than, 'Hey, Mars could once support life,' which we are already pretty comfortable in asserting.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 12:38:00 UTC | #417572

Friend of Icelos's Avatar Comment 5 by Friend of Icelos

I think I'll remain skeptical about this for the moment, not because the research may or may not be good, but because the discovery of life on or from another planet is so significant that I'd rather wait until these findings have a chance to percolate within the greater scientific community.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 13:21:00 UTC | #417580

DanDare's Avatar Comment 6 by DanDare

So, would the microbes have been fossilised before being blasted into space? That would suggest life may have died out on Mars before 16m years ago. Or maybe it never got further than bacteria and that's what is still there now.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 13:41:00 UTC | #417582

GodsDontExist's Avatar Comment 7 by GodsDontExist

Interesting stuff. Thanks

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 14:35:00 UTC | #417597

j.mills's Avatar Comment 8 by j.mills

Wait just a cotton-pickin' minute. Didn't Richard Dawkins invent biomorphs about 25 years ago, for The Blind Watchmaker? So, what, in our future he time-travels to Mars's distant past and seeds it with biomorphs that then turn up in a meteorite - and maybe seeds life on Earth? OMG! Richard is god after all!!!

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 14:57:00 UTC | #417608

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 9 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Damn, this is exciting. I wonder what this life's DNA equivalent is.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 15:14:00 UTC | #417614

whatwoulddawkinsdo's Avatar Comment 10 by whatwoulddawkinsdo

Give Mars a few billion years... they'll have even more complex life forms than us

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 15:33:00 UTC | #417617's Avatar Comment 11 by

'Meteor form Mars' How does this work? What phenomenon can start a stone from a planet and launch it into space?

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 15:34:00 UTC | #417618

amuck's Avatar Comment 12 by amuck

Meteor form Mars' How does this work? What phenomenon can start a stone from a planet and launch it into space?

A big object striking the surface of Mars would do it, one of the many "flying mountains" in orbit between Mars and Jupiter.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 15:47:00 UTC | #417622

Darwinorlose's Avatar Comment 13 by Darwinorlose

It would be a whole lot easier to "start a stone from a planet" like Mars simply because the escape velocity is a whole lot less. From Mars, it's 5 km/s while Earth's is about 11 km/s. Plus thinner atmosphere means less resistance, and Mars has been hit by a lot of asteroids/meteor's (or is it meteorite?), which would have kicked up and out a lot of martian material. Heck! An eruption from Mons Olympia - whose summit is above the "air line" might send a lot of stuff up! What an adventure that would be to climb Mons Olympia from base to summit!

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 15:52:00 UTC | #417624

alphabravo's Avatar Comment 14 by alphabravo

So this could either be a different kind of life entirely, or the seeds of early bacterial life on earth?

Either possibility seems thrilling, with huge implications for biology and indeed exobiology!

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 15:56:00 UTC | #417626

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 15 by Steve Zara

I would be very cautious. First of all the worm-like structures are far too small to be bacteria as we know them. There could well be some other origin for them. What is more interesting is the chemical evidence, but being "consistent with" being formed by bacteria is not the same as definitely being formed by bacteria.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 16:01:00 UTC | #417628

squinky's Avatar Comment 16 by squinky

Wow, 16 million years in space. Forgive me if I'm a bit skeptical of bacterial life surviving that long. "This is very strong evidence of life on Mars" is hype. What he means to say is 'we have preliminary findings that might suggest the presence of bacterial life on a single Martian meteorite but there is so much more work to do'.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 16:17:00 UTC | #417638

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 17 by TIKI AL

"Meteor from Mars' How does this work? What phenomenon can start a stone from a planet and launch it into space?"

...Martian kids, stone, duct tape, large bottle rocket, match = life on Earth.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 16:22:00 UTC | #417640

bluebird's Avatar Comment 18 by bluebird

Monday I hope to receive a NASA E newsletter about the meteorite.

Dr. David McKay - any relation to Dr. Chris McKay? He was on a recent NatGeo show about terraforming Mars. His idea of how it can possibly be done (& the ethics involved) made for a great program.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 16:34:00 UTC | #417644

ggab7768's Avatar Comment 19 by ggab7768

No one is saying that bacteria survived the journey. The possible remains of fossilized bacteria were found inside the rock.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 16:43:00 UTC | #417651

DoctorMelkor's Avatar Comment 20 by DoctorMelkor

Of course, one would not expect something that had originated on Mars to BE "bacteria as we know them." Personally, I don't like the fact that the word "bacteria" is even being used to refer to such possible organisms. If they actually came from a completely separate evolutionary process, they couldn't be bacteria at all, though the term "microbe" could still be applicable.

Of course, if these things really are the remains of "bacterial" life on a single Martian meteorite and that life didn't come from Earth, then it either came from Mars or from the impactor that blasted it off of Mars...either way, that's extraterrestrial life.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 17:46:00 UTC | #417664

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 21 by Jos Gibbons

Comment #436093 by DoctorMelkor

Good point. Do you think "prokaryote" would be OK? These things are presumably small enough to lack nuclei.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 17:53:00 UTC | #417666

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 22 by Steve Zara

Comment #436093 by DoctorMelkor

The point is that bacteria as we know them can get very small, but the smallest (mycoplasma) seem to be just about as small as you can get while still having all the proteins and structures for metabolism. The structures in the meteorite are smaller than that, so it is very unlikely indeed that they are fossils of living organisms.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 17:58:00 UTC | #417668

DoctorMelkor's Avatar Comment 23 by DoctorMelkor

Comment #436097 by Steve Zara

I'm not so certain, though. Bacteria, even mycoplasma, are already very advanced and complex organisms. In the very early days of life on Earth there would have been simpler and possibly much smaller forms of life, especially if things had not gotten to the point where resources were scarce and much-competed-for, and so it might have been if life was developing on Mars. They might not need much more than genetic material and something to encourage the formation of a lipid-bilayer or the equivalent. Of course, I know that I'm speculating and that the evidence is very far from conclusive that there was life. Also, I know that it's dangerous to draw conclusions when you have strong desires for particular explanations. But I don't think it's quite as unlikely that these could be evidence of former life as some think...though I think that we have to be pretty ruthless about ruling out ALL possible other explanations before coming to the "life" conclusion on this issue.

Extraordinary claims...etc., etc.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 18:45:00 UTC | #417675

Drosera's Avatar Comment 24 by Drosera

Speaking of bacteria is jumping to conclusions. Bacteria are after all highly specific, DNA-based life forms. If life evolved independently on Mars I wouldn't take it for granted that it was DNA-based.

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 19:30:00 UTC | #417695

Tallus's Avatar Comment 25 by Tallus

ggab7768 "...possible remains of fossilized bacteria were found inside the rock..."

original post..
"The microscopes were focused on tiny magnetite crystals present in the surface layers of the meteorite, which have the form of simple bacteria. Some argued that these could be the result of a carbonate breaking down in the heat of the impact."

scientific caution here - it's so important to read the reports carefully

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 20:46:00 UTC | #417722

Demotruk's Avatar Comment 26 by Demotruk

Oh come on, can't we just take the conclusion and skip the skepticism? It would be cool if it were true, and as the religious have thought us, that makes it true!

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 20:56:00 UTC | #417724

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 27 by Reckless Monkey

The Catholics, Mormons, JW's and all the rest have a whole new world to convert. I'm trying to image push bikes on Mars. The banning of tiny little condoms and tiny little Watchtowers being left under rocks.

Sun, 29 Nov 2009 00:35:00 UTC | #417785

King of NH's Avatar Comment 28 by King of NH

I can't seem to find any information on this study at Nasa's page. Maybe they don't think it's all that big of a deal. In fact, all Google searches lead me back to the Timesonline website in round about ways.

I'm not trying to be skeptical here. I do honestly want someone to smack me across my head with the study's abstract. But I must say if the claim was "Bigfoot found!" or "Jesus's Divinity Proven!" I would demand more evidence then I seem to want for "Tiny Aliens Found on 13M Year Old Frozen Rock!"

Why does it seem Nasa has no idea they did this study, or, to be kinder, have no idea people would want to know?

Sun, 29 Nov 2009 00:47:00 UTC | #417790

j.mills's Avatar Comment 29 by j.mills

King of NH: from the article:

The investigation was published in the November issue of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, the journal of the Geochemical and Meteoritic Society. Nasa is expected to announce the findings formally on Monday
So hold yer horses...

Sun, 29 Nov 2009 01:11:00 UTC | #417798

Koreman's Avatar Comment 30 by Koreman

"Daniel my brother, you are older than me
Do you still feel the pain,
of the scars that won't heal, your eyes have died but you see more than I, Daniel,
You're a star in the face of the sky"

Sun, 29 Nov 2009 01:30:00 UTC | #417805