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Life on mars?

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I think it's certainly possible. I so wish they would find life! that would be the discovery of the history of mankind! if there is life on mars... (the closest planet to earth?) imagine what could be out there in other worlds
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it would be especially exciting if they found life with different nucleic acids or anything that would tell them that it didn't evolve 1. in mars and then a meteorite carried it here or 2. in earth and a meteorite carried it there.
 

Finch

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.... Titan is mothly methaane, and the levals they talk about could fall under this precess
 

seedjar

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Sounds good enough for me. It could just be some inorganic process, but look at all the extremophile microbes out there... there are little bacteria that live in the thermal irregularities of boiling spring water! I've always thought that life from a meteorite was a distinct possibility. After all, even if life can arise from random reactions between carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and methane (ammonia, whatever,) it's a highly unlikely event. I find the hypothesis that life cooked up somewhere else and boiled over into our neck of the woods much more likely than most others.
~Joe
 
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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]After all, even if life can arise from random reactions between carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and methane (ammonia, whatever,) it's a highly unlikely event.
how do you know?
ok... imagine the earth... how big it is... HUGE
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 (and there are way bigger plannets)... and imagine how many environments there are now... and how many puddles of "soup" there are, how many combinations of that soup there are, how many times lightning strikes, etc...
I don't think life is all that rare considering all that.
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]just dong get your hopes up yet
I think there's a real possibility... I don't think that's proof of anything much though.
 

seedjar

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Well, there's a pretty good case to rule out the "warm, shallow pond" theory that was put forth in the mid-1900's. There's just too much random activity to sustain the types of connective processes required. Cells have walls keeping certain things inside and others outside for a reason - it's real hard to reproduce DNA and RNA when your parts are getting washed away by water all the time. There's a wide belief that the earliest life on Earth began deep undersea, fueled by geothermal activity. That's a very turbulent environment for autocatalytic activity, especially activity involving delicate carbon chains. But meteorites do sink, and this article does suggest that extremophiles survive in the organically-bare substrate of Mars (with little in the way of atmosphere and a comfy temperature range which hugs both sides of the liquid phase of water.)
I'm not saying life arising on Earth couldn't happen, just that from our understanding of it, from our combinatorical models of it, it's unlikely for any particular Earth-like planet to have progenated Earth-like biological processes.
~Joe
 

Est

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I saw this, and I thought "Err, how could I not have seen this article in my daily checks?? Slippin'." The next thought, of course 'RTFA'- Ahh, I saw this story a *cough* while ago. Of course, not this exact article, but was the same idea. Still, it sure would be fun to see some life on Mars.
 

schloaty

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]After all, even if life can arise from random reactions between carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and methane (ammonia, whatever,) it's a highly unlikely event.

This isn't really true. Chemicals don't react randomly. There are very specific laws that dictate how two chemicals will react when they come into contact with one another. When you see it this way, the most basic form of life goes from highly unlikely to quite probable, given any sort of environment to sustain it.
 

seedjar

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I'm afraid I don't follow, Schloaty. There may be specific laws governing chemical reactions, but that doesn't mean they have certainty. Chemistry is plauged by the non-determinism of quantum physics, albeit, not to the degree of elementary particles. As an oxygen atom approaches an iron atom, the probabilty of oxidation rises, but even if they are impossibly close to one another, there remains a possibility that they will not react.Regardless of how specific these laws are, there is still the issue of probability. When you account for all the combinatorical possibilities, it's not a matter of how well-defined the rules are; the complexity, the uncertainty is a consequence purely of the number of choices that can be made regarding which reactions happen among what chemicals when. I don't understand how chemical laws having narrow scope (being specific) would necessarily make any particular event more likely. Can you elucidate?
~Joe
 
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Well, I think schloaty's point is not that there is certainty in chemistry, it's just that the interactions of chemicals are not random. So, when considering the likelihood of life emerging from a chemical soup, you can't really assign probabilities based on random interactions. In earth's primordial soup, for example, there existed very specific conditions and very specific building blocks that would put specific chemicals in close proximity. The chance of the various proteins arising from slime ponds is far greater, for example, than in the middle of a desert.

Capslock
 
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I wish I had a single clue of what you guys are talking about. I'm all confuzzled...methane this...titan that? I know what methane is but what's titan? Is that a new planet or something?
 

seedjar

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That's true, and I do understand that when I say that it's unlikely that, given the chemistry in question, the conditions for life to arise are hard to come by. You can read all about it, just do a search on combinatorics and evolutionary biology I'm certain you'll be able to find the kinds of mathematical models I'm thinking of. At the moment I don't have time to put up any internet sources, but the books Quantum Evolution by Johnjoe McFadden and Darwin's Black Box by Michael J Berthe examine the probabilities of catalyzing the fundamental chemicals of known biology; one estimate, I believe it referred to types of nucleic acids, put the probability of the production any of the fundamental varieties of acid (DNA, mRNA, tRNA, etc.) at one in 6^160, that's a 10 followed by 109 zeroes, and I believe that probability refers to the timeframe within which single-celled organisms are thought to have originated. Earth hasn't had the time for this type of reaction to be 'likely.' It is a possibility, but not a plausible one, given our understanding of Earth at the time of protogenesis (the origin of the first cells or whatever DNA and RNA originally used to propogate themselves.) As soon as I'm back from my evening classes I'll look up the details for you; chemists have been crunching these numbers since Watson and Crick, guys.
I was disappointed when I first read about this myself. But hey, anthropocentric universe; we're here today, so DNA must have come up somewhere! There's no need to fret just because Earth isn't a good candidate. :)
~Joe
PS - Titan is a moon. I believe it is a moon of... Saturn? Jupiter? One of the bigger planets in our solar system. Anyhow, Titan, and one of her sister moons, (is it Ganymede?) are likely candidates for places harboring extraterrestrial life, as they have liquid oceans of water (maybe ammonia) and other conditions thought to be helpful for raising living things.
 
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I've read the alleged calculations before, and have to say that they are on very shaky ground. There are so many unaccounted-for variables, and so many things we don't know about how life started that it's impossible to calculate. Further, the book Darwin's Black Box is written by Michael Behe (not Berthe) , and he is a big proponent of ID, which, in MY opinion, is nothing but a subversion of pseudo-science by creationists. His goal, in other words, is to disprove the notion life arose from matter, and was not "created."

It's clear from a quick look around our known universe, though, that life is at minimum very uncommon. While I doubt we're the only life in the universe, it's clear that proper conditions have to exist, and that those conditions are rare.

Earth is actually a uniquely good candidate, clearly posessing the conditions necessary to sustain and evolve life.

Capslock
 
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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]PS - Titan is a moon. I believe it is a moon of... Saturn?
titan is one of saturn's moons. it's also the largest. Many astronomers believe that titan is just like the earth was some billions of years ago before life began so they want to analyze it and get a better picture of what the earth might have looked like.
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Titan, and one of her sister moons, (is it Ganymede?)
I think ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system and I'm sure it's one of jupiter's moon. ... but I'm pretty sure you meant europa. I'm not sure where europa is (I thought it was jupiter too :p) but it is believed to have liquid water under the thick layer of ice and some also believe that it has underwater volcanoes and stuff where life could exist.


[b said:
Quote[/b] ]You can read all about it, just do a search on combinatorics and evolutionary biology I'm certain you'll be able to find the kinds of mathematical models I'm thinking of. At the moment I don't have time to put up any internet sources, but the books Quantum Evolution
argh... evolution has nothing to do with the origins of life.
 
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and by the way, odds don't mean much. Life only had to happen once (in earth) and probably did... since it looks like all organisms came from common ancestors.
What are the odds that a certain rock would end up in a certain back yard? they're astronomical... but that happens all the time because the world is such a huge place.
oh.... and many people's claims about the odds of life beginning are completely fake. (like the one about a tornado passing through a junk yard and forming a car or something... or throwing the components of a clock in the air and it forming a clock... that's just ridiculous)

so besides there being probably billions of "slime" puddles and billions of them being struck by lightning, etc. etc., you also have to give them billions of years. ...
 

FlytrapGurl

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Dude, I saw this coming. The odds going for other life in the universe are HUGE! It's inevitable that we will eventually find life elsewhere. There's no way we're the only speck of life in a universe that never ends. And just because there might not be water doesn't mean there's no life there. Oh, sure, all life needs water. ON THIS PLANET. Just because our life needs water doesn't mean that there isn't life elsewhere that can thrive without water. There could freaking-well be life somewhere in this universe that drinks liquid nitrogen and breathes ammonia gas. And there's the possibility that there are other elements in this universe that do not exist on this planet. The laws of this planet do not bind the whole universe.

Scully: "Mulder, it is such a gorgeous day outside. Have you ever entertained the idea of looking for life on this planet?"
Mulder: "I've seen the life on this planet, Scully, and that is exactly why I'm looking elsewhere."
 
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