Ice on Mars!!ELEVEN!!!

Ice on Mars. Or, at least, something frozen and white found underground that melted when exposed to the sun. If this is, as it appears to be, H2O, then there has got to be life on Mars.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

2 replies on “Ice on Mars!!ELEVEN!!!”

  1. This is pretty freakin’ cool. I don’t know that there has “got” to be life, but it sure gives more hope in that direction.

  2. Whoop de doo. This is only, what, the 5 millionth time in the last 8 years that we’ve discovered that there’s water on Mars?

    No, this changes nothing. We knew there was water on Mars long before the probe landed.

    Yeah, the odds of there *not* being life on Mars seem pretty unlikely, just given the fact that plenty of chunks of rock from Earth have been blasted up into space following major meteor impacts in the billion years and some percentage of them certainly ended up landing on Mars, since that is the nearest big thing in space with a gravitational field that would tend to attract such debris.

    Any hunk of rock that you could find anywhere on Earth, even digging down quite a ways underground, is riddled with bacteria. We’ve done experiments to see what the survivability of various bacteria is when exposed directly and indirectly to unfiltered UV rays in space, and there are a number of common microscopic organisms that could survive the trip to Mars inside a few inches or feet of rock to protect them. As for the time that it takes to get there, scientists have revived dormant bacteria that had been in stasis for 5 million years inside of a salt crystal deep within a mine. This involved nothing more than providing it with water and warmth.

    Given these various facts, OF COURSE there is life on Mars. If nothing else, it would have arrived there via asteroids from Earth ages ago. So long as there is water and sufficient warmth, that bacteria is going to get to work and start reproducing shortly after crash landing on the surface.

    Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be particularly complex or interesting life on Mars. But there is certainly something alive there, just like in the most barren wastelands of Antarctica.

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