Monday, September 20, 2010

Explaining absence of organic compounds on surface of Mars and a sign of alien intelligence

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Abodes - A new model has been proposed to explain the absence of organic compounds on surface of Mars. See article.
g Life - A mineralogist believes he's discovered how life's early building blocks connected four billion years ago. See article.
g Intelligence - A new study shows how fitter kids generally score better on academic tests. See article.
g Message - What would be a sign of alien intelligence? Forget mathematics — try a simple, pure-tone radio signal. See article. This article is from 2003.
g Cosmicus - NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, aka Curiosity, is scheduled to launch in late 2011. The goal of the mission is to determine whether or not Mars once had environments capable of supporting life as we know it. For astrobiologists, Curiosity will be a major step toward understanding the habitability of our solar system. See article.

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Michael Nunn said...

Hi Rob, sadly, we don't have any solid, irrefutable evidence of alien life or prehistoric life on mars, the moon or any other celestial body. Discoveries of water are often touted as being important precursors to life, but water is just a combination of a couple gases and really it would be more of a surprise if it's presence wasn't commonplace. Oh how we wish to find life anywhere but here :)

Rob Bignell said...

While water is fairly commonplace, finding it in sufficient quantities in the "right" location (such as a planet) is significant. Water appears to be an excellent solvent for carbon-based life, but such life will need a variety of other requirements - possibly clay to form upon and certainly an atmosphere to protect it from UV radiation. Water on Mars provides an argument for continuing to examine that world for life (existent or extinct) rather than turning our attention elsewhere (such as Europa). It is indeed sad that we have yet to resolve the question; if we had remained committed to our space program post-Apollo, we likely would have people on Mars now conducting the necessary palentological research.