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(Brain Pickings)   Welcome to Mars. It sure is dusty   (brainpickings.org) divider line 165
    More: Sad, Mars, Arecibo, Mars Science Laboratory, Carl Sagan, Ithaca, life on Mars, Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence  
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20934 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Aug 2012 at 12:22 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-08 09:27:46 PM
In many ways Carl, you're why we're there.
 
2012-08-08 10:17:40 PM
The first quote is way too premature. That is Carl Sagan imagining human beings walking on Mars and wanting to be with them. That is a long way off.

The second quote is far more interesting. It supposes that life elsewhere in the universe is going to be microbial. That makes sense. The biomass of Earth is overwhelmingly microbial. For 90% of Earth's existence so far, the only kind of life on it was microbial. Some accident happened on Earth that forced microbial life to go large. That accident may really have been unique.

The second quote is also interesting because, if that microbial life is the only life that the universe produces, Carl Sagan is urging respect for it, just as you would respect large life. In that, he's talking like a Jainist. Jainism is often derided as untenable because you cannot exist without killing microbes. But oddly that is exactly what Carl Sagan is promoting.
 
2012-08-08 10:26:41 PM
Send More Chuck Berry.
 
2012-08-08 11:23:36 PM

VelcroFez: The first quote is way too premature. That is Carl Sagan imagining human beings walking on Mars and wanting to be with them. That is a long way off.

The second quote is far more interesting. It supposes that life elsewhere in the universe is going to be microbial. That makes sense. The biomass of Earth is overwhelmingly microbial. For 90% of Earth's existence so far, the only kind of life on it was microbial. Some accident happened on Earth that forced microbial life to go large. That accident may really have been unique.

The second quote is also interesting because, if that microbial life is the only life that the universe produces, Carl Sagan is urging respect for it, just as you would respect large life. In that, he's talking like a Jainist. Jainism is often derided as untenable because you cannot exist without killing microbes. But oddly that is exactly what Carl Sagan is promoting.


Scratches chin at your well thought out response.

/an interesting article indeed
 
2012-08-09 12:19:12 AM

VelcroFez: The second quote is also interesting because, if that microbial life is the only life that the universe produces, Carl Sagan is urging respect for it, just as you would respect large life. In that, he's talking like a Jainist. Jainism is often derided as untenable because you cannot exist without killing microbes. But oddly that is exactly what Carl Sagan is promoting.


Yeah, and I can't say I agree with him that microbial life should be accorded such reverent treatment that we should simply stay off Mars.

Its no contest for me to put the survival of the human species above that of any microbial life on Mars. And it is a fact that one day we will need to be established beyond this planet to survive as a species. If its between us and them, I have no problem voting for us.
 
2012-08-09 12:21:04 AM

gilgigamesh: VelcroFez: The second quote is also interesting because, if that microbial life is the only life that the universe produces, Carl Sagan is urging respect for it, just as you would respect large life. In that, he's talking like a Jainist. Jainism is often derided as untenable because you cannot exist without killing microbes. But oddly that is exactly what Carl Sagan is promoting.

Yeah, and I can't say I agree with him that microbial life should be accorded such reverent treatment that we should simply stay off Mars.

Its no contest for me to put the survival of the human species above that of any microbial life on Mars. And it is a fact that one day we will need to be established beyond this planet to survive as a species. If its between us and them, I have no problem voting for us.


Our lack of respect for life is the reason we've ruined the planet we already have.
 
2012-08-09 12:27:20 AM

gilgigamesh: VelcroFez: The second quote is also interesting because, if that microbial life is the only life that the universe produces, Carl Sagan is urging respect for it, just as you would respect large life. In that, he's talking like a Jainist. Jainism is often derided as untenable because you cannot exist without killing microbes. But oddly that is exactly what Carl Sagan is promoting.

Yeah, and I can't say I agree with him that microbial life should be accorded such reverent treatment that we should simply stay off Mars.

Its no contest for me to put the survival of the human species above that of any microbial life on Mars. And it is a fact that one day we will need to be established beyond this planet to survive as a species. If its between us and them, I have no problem voting for us.


That seems fair enough to me.

However, I must admit I'm a bit of a "Red" when it comes to Mars (read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy for the reference). While I don't completely disagree with human exploitation of the planet, I really hope we explore the hell out of it before doing something massive and world altering like terraforming. And, even if we do that, I hope a decent portion of the planet is preserved in as close to its pristine state as possible.

Even if no Martian life is ever found there.

Mars has some amazing spectacles (largest mountain and largest single canyon system in the Solar System, entire northern hemisphere is one giant impact basin, two other amazing large impact basins, etc), and I think it would be wrong to deny future generations the chance to see them.

If we ever do get around to exploiting Mars, I hope we can do it conscientiously and with some respect for the planet itself. And if life is found there (which I highly doubt, but would LOVE to be proved wrong), I hope we don't take it upon ourselves to wipe it out.
 
2012-08-09 12:34:04 AM

gilgigamesh: And it is a fact that one day we will need to be established beyond this planet to survive as a species


1) You're a certifiable nutcase. Ask your doctor if Haloperidol is right for you.
2) Evolution is still happening. What species are you talking about long term?
 
2012-08-09 12:38:14 AM

gilgigamesh: Yeah, and I can't say I agree with him that microbialnon-human life should be accorded such reverent treatment that we should simply stay off Mars.

Its no contest for me to put the survival of the human species above that of any microbialother forms of life on Marswe encounter.


Quantum Apostrophe: gilgigamesh: And it is a fact that one day we will need to be established beyond this planet to survive as a species

1) You're a certifiable nutcase. Ask your doctor if Haloperidol is right for you.
2) Evolution is still happening. What species are you talking about long term?


Ah. Now i remember why I have you tagged as "idiot".
 
2012-08-09 12:38:48 AM
Yeah, fat chance on that second one.
 
2012-08-09 12:41:35 AM

VelcroFez: Some accident happened on Earth that forced microbial life to go large. That accident may really have been unique.


Perhaps astronauts from some other planet monkeyed (intentionally or not) with our microbe ancestors.
 
2012-08-09 12:45:44 AM
Is it wrong that, sometimes when I'm drunk, and looking at vids like this, or vids of the ISS up there filming the Earth, that I get a bit teary-eyed at the wonder of it all? At the beauty? At the human achievement? I also get teary knowing I'll never be able to go into space before I die.

Goddamit, yes, I am drunk right now, and feeling all maudlin. Dammit.
 
2012-08-09 12:47:20 AM

gilgigamesh: VelcroFez: The second quote is also interesting because, if that microbial life is the only life that the universe produces, Carl Sagan is urging respect for it, just as you would respect large life. In that, he's talking like a Jainist. Jainism is often derided as untenable because you cannot exist without killing microbes. But oddly that is exactly what Carl Sagan is promoting.

Yeah, and I can't say I agree with him that microbial life should be accorded such reverent treatment that we should simply stay off Mars.

Its no contest for me to put the survival of the human species above that of any microbial life on Mars. And it is a fact that one day we will need to be established beyond this planet to survive as a species. If its between us and them, I have no problem voting for us.


Yea, but only if such scenario actually occurs.
 
2012-08-09 12:48:13 AM

VelcroFez: The second quote is also interesting because, if that microbial life is the only life that the universe produces, Carl Sagan is urging respect for it, just as you would respect large life. In that, he's talking like a Jainist. Jainism is often derided as untenable because you cannot exist without killing microbes. But oddly that is exactly what Carl Sagan is promoting.


It's understandable and actually feasible.

We can't live on Earth without killing microbes.
We CAN live on Earth without killing microbes on Mars.
 
2012-08-09 12:58:03 AM

VelcroFez: Some accident happened on Earth that forced microbial life to go large. That accident may really have been unique.


To the best of evolutionary biologists' knowledge thus far, the development of multicellularity, and the corresponding increase in complexity and size, and the evolutionary forces that reward such development, isn't even unique on Earth and still occurs. It's extraordinarily difficult to imagine, given the forces at work that reward complexity and cooperative behavior (competition, scarcity of resources, etc.), primordial Earth and beyond to be the only place in the universe complex life has, or would, develop.

/Still think if anything's found on Mars, it'll be fossilized microbes.
//Also still think our best shot at finding life, or evidence of life, in our solar system as we understand or could imagine it beyond Earth is the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
 
2012-08-09 12:58:04 AM
Cool find subby. Looks like an interesting site. Thanks.
 
2012-08-09 12:59:04 AM

suziequzie: Is it wrong that, sometimes when I'm drunk, and looking at vids like this, or vids of the ISS up there filming the Earth, that I get a bit teary-eyed at the wonder of it all? At the beauty? At the human achievement? I also get teary knowing I'll never be able to go into space before I die.

Goddamit, yes, I am drunk right now, and feeling all maudlin. Dammit.


No. It means you're human and being so are capable of great thought and insight.

This is why science offers more wonder and awe than any mythology could ever concoct. With each new answer come even more questions. Reality is much more engaging than dogma. It's exciting to make progress and even discover we might have been wrong when a better model to fit the data comes along.

Sagan bridged that wide-eyed wonderment with the discipline of science to make it accessible by more people and thus show some people that by demystifying science it made it that much more wondrous and vital.
 
2012-08-09 01:01:12 AM

TsarTom: Cool find subby. Looks like an interesting site. Thanks.


Brainpicker's twitter feed is a gold mine. She should be a Farker. I already have a geek crush.

/subby
 
2012-08-09 01:06:20 AM

suziequzie: Is it wrong that, sometimes when I'm drunk, and looking at vids like this, or vids of the ISS up there filming the Earth, that I get a bit teary-eyed at the wonder of it all? At the beauty? At the human achievement? I also get teary knowing I'll never be able to go into space before I die.

Goddamit, yes, I am drunk right now, and feeling all maudlin. Dammit.



Quite normal. I keep getting all misty at these photos they are releasing. Just...imagining all the things out there that are to know, and to remain unknown...there's a lot of 'em

mars.jpl.nasa.gov

Let's go exploring!
 
2012-08-09 01:08:42 AM
www.buddytv.com

Wanna get high?
 
2012-08-09 01:10:27 AM

lohphat: suziequzie: Is it wrong that, sometimes when I'm drunk, and looking at vids like this, or vids of the ISS up there filming the Earth, that I get a bit teary-eyed at the wonder of it all? At the beauty? At the human achievement? I also get teary knowing I'll never be able to go into space before I die.

Goddamit, yes, I am drunk right now, and feeling all maudlin. Dammit.

No. It means you're human and being so are capable of great thought and insight.

This is why science offers more wonder and awe than any mythology could ever concoct. With each new answer come even more questions. Reality is much more engaging than dogma. It's exciting to make progress and even discover we might have been wrong when a better model to fit the data comes along.

Sagan bridged that wide-eyed wonderment with the discipline of science to make it accessible by more people and thus show some people that by demystifying science it made it that much more wondrous and vital.


It was kind of embarrassing - there was a fark submission of the ISS filming earth at night - just a couple of weeks ago maybe - northern lights, beautiful views from the ISS window, etc... and the BF walked in on me and said "Are you crying?" Yeah - I was - it was very moving for me. He said "Sue - you're a geek - of course this is affecting you" Still, felt very weird for it. But yeah - this kind of stuff gets me. Even the Futurama episode where Fry visits the moon for the first time, and he and Leela are holed up in the old lander, and he describes why this is a big deal for him: it makes me kinda sad that I'll never be able to do that. Not in my lifetime.

I really hope we get off this planet someday and colonize somewhere else. Lots of beauty here on Earth, but so much more awaits us out there.
 
2012-08-09 01:11:13 AM

gilgigamesh: Its no contest for me to put the survival of the human species above that of any microbial life on Mars. And it is a fact that one day we will need to be established beyond this planet to survive as a species. If its between us and them, I have no problem voting for us.


I'm pretty sure we're still millions of years away from Earth being unable to support human life. Assuming we don't fark up in the meantime. But, if we do so horribly fark up Earth to the point that it can no longer support human life, do we really deserve to start over on another world? We need to learn respect our own world before we go and fark up other worlds.
 
2012-08-09 01:13:04 AM
So how long before the first Carl Jr's opens there?
 
2012-08-09 01:15:13 AM

peewinkle: So how long before the first Carl Jr's opens there?


Sometime after the Golden Arches are there. No doubt, McD's will be there first.
 
2012-08-09 01:15:29 AM

peewinkle: So how long before the first Carl Jr's opens there?


"billions....and billions served!"

/I know he never said that
//prefer Brazillians anyway
 
2012-08-09 01:15:35 AM
I find QA so annoying that he is one of two people I have on ignore (the other is meowsaidthedog) so I hate to say it but I mostly agree with him. I really doubt we are going to terraform Mars. I believe it's far, far easier to live within our means on Earth than it is to try to make Mars habitable. It is fun to speculate about it but I don't think it's ever going to be worth the effort. However I am sure that someday people will walk on Mars, even if they know they might die in the process or even if they know they will never make it back alive. Some people are just crazy that way.

/Mars - nice place to visit but I would not want to live there.
//I know plenty of people will disagree with me, we're just going to have to wait and see....
 
2012-08-09 01:18:18 AM
You are my lucky star....
You are my lucky, lucky star....


download.esa.int

Isn't she beautiful?

Our palace in the heavens, for all mankind.

A great light from out of the West, changing from silver to gold as she passes overhead.

Our first small step to all the worlds.
 
2012-08-09 01:18:36 AM

that bosnian sniper: VelcroFez: Some accident happened on Earth that forced microbial life to go large. That accident may really have been unique.

To the best of evolutionary biologists' knowledge thus far, the development of multicellularity, and the corresponding increase in complexity and size, and the evolutionary forces that reward such development, isn't even unique on Earth and still occurs. It's extraordinarily difficult to imagine, given the forces at work that reward complexity and cooperative behavior (competition, scarcity of resources, etc.), primordial Earth and beyond to be the only place in the universe complex life has, or would, develop.

/Still think if anything's found on Mars, it'll be fossilized microbes.
//Also still think our best shot at finding life, or evidence of life, in our solar system as we understand or could imagine it beyond Earth is the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.


Don't forget the oxygen. At some point, microbes started generating oxygen and with the increase that ensued, life became larger and larger. That's why insects in the paleozoic and dinosaurs in the mesozoic were so large. With the decrease of oxygen, life followed suit and became smaller again, although not so small as before.
 
2012-08-09 01:22:04 AM
As I posted in another Mars thread, the main problem with terraforming Mars is its lack of a large iron core to generate a magnetic field and thus van Allen belts.

The solar wind cooks the surface with radiation which would othwise be deflected by the belts and it's actually stripping the atmosphere away faster than it can accrete. It's a dead planet.

Any colony would have to build a heavily shielded base and tunnel system to survive any length of time.
 
2012-08-09 01:22:54 AM

rocky_howard: Don't forget the oxygen. At some point, microbes started generating oxygen and with the increase that ensued, life became larger and larger. That's why insects in the paleozoic and dinosaurs in the mesozoic were so large. With the decrease of oxygen, life followed suit and became smaller again, although not so small as before.


I thought that had more to do with air pressure than % of O2. Current air pressures do not favor exoskeletal life beyond a certian size.
 
2012-08-09 01:37:35 AM
Yes, Mars is dead and staying that way.

We're looking at "what might have been" instead of "what might be".
 
2012-08-09 01:43:10 AM

suziequzie: peewinkle: So how long before the first Carl Jr's opens there?

Sometime after the Golden Arches are there. No doubt, McD's will be there first.


Neil deGrasse Tyson already posted this image yesterday joking it was "censored by NASA"
i1158.photobucket.com
 
2012-08-09 01:44:54 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: gilgigamesh: And it is a fact that one day we will need to be established beyond this planet to survive as a species

1) You're a certifiable nutcase. Ask your doctor if Haloperidol is right for you.
2) Evolution is still happening. What species are you talking about long term?


Do you deny that some day something Very Bad is going to happen to earth that will kill almost everything our size? Because that tends to happen every some tens of millions of years when a city-sized asteroid lands.

I'm sorry for your bizzare antipathy towards human space travel (were you molested by someone at NASA as a kid or something?) but, we leave the cradle or we will (eventually) die because Earth will (eventually) suffer an event that renders it unable to support our kind. That's the wonderful thing about sci-fi, it is our future. It or nothing.

/Battens down the hatches for a "space nutter" rant
 
2012-08-09 01:52:23 AM

suziequzie: Is it wrong that, sometimes when I'm drunk, and looking at vids like this, or vids of the ISS up there filming the Earth, that I get a bit teary-eyed at the wonder of it all? At the beauty? At the human achievement? I also get teary knowing I'll never be able to go into space before I die.

Goddamit, yes, I am drunk right now, and feeling all maudlin. Dammit.


Don't be too sure. Right now, yes, it's unlikely that even most humans even in a position to conceive of it will get the chance. But tomorrow is not today, and there's no telling the future. If space elevators prove workable, maybe a lot of us will get to go. My own strategy is to not hold my breath, but always hope. Hope for such a thing costs me nothing, and is a lot more enjoyable than despair.
 
2012-08-09 01:53:52 AM

Ambivalence: rocky_howard: Don't forget the oxygen. At some point, microbes started generating oxygen and with the increase that ensued, life became larger and larger. That's why insects in the paleozoic and dinosaurs in the mesozoic were so large. With the decrease of oxygen, life followed suit and became smaller again, although not so small as before.

I thought that had more to do with air pressure than % of O2. Current air pressures do not favor exoskeletal life beyond a certian size.


Well, Nitrogen is heavier than Oxygen, so wouldn't a higher concentration of the former cause higher air pressures as well? I'd think so.
So it's still Oxygen related :P

Any scientist among us that can confirm that?
 
2012-08-09 01:54:40 AM
Mars-wide dust storms

It won't be an easy thing at all. It's obviously the distance and the horrid slow grinding of time to travel that distance, and the consumables to cover that distance. Radiation shielding. New technologies undreamed of. All the million other fragile marvels and terrors and magic tricks and intricate details.

We are going to somehow lose at least one manned shot to Mars, if we are able to gear up our economic machine and political will for the attempt. We should be prepared for this.

It won't be a nasty but luckily recoverable stumble like Apollo 13, it will be a total loss of mission, crew, and vehicle. The whole thing will sail into imperishable Eternity, if Fate and the outer planets are kind.

People die from falling off ladders and getting hit by cars every day. They have since cars and ladders were invented.

Let's slog gloriously across that cosmic street ten or twenty or fifty or a hundred years from now with our balky mechanical miracles!

Will we have the guts? Will we have the brass balls to try someday?

Man must explore! Mankind must reach out!!

I hope we will, even if none of us here live to witness it.
 
2012-08-09 02:02:07 AM

that bosnian sniper: To the best of evolutionary biologists' knowledge thus far, the development of multicellularity, and the corresponding increase in complexity and size, and the evolutionary forces that reward such development, isn't even unique on Earth and still occurs. It's extraordinarily difficult to imagine, given the forces at work that reward complexity and cooperative behavior (competition, scarcity of resources, etc.), primordial Earth and beyond to be the only place in the universe complex life has, or would, develop.


It's been my understanding that all life on earth is related, through a common genetic chain going back three billion years -- the majority of it prokaryotic -- and the single event creating eukaryotes is unknown, and has never been witnessed or replicated. And that mutilcellarity may actually be very rare, and therefore we shouldn't expect to find complex life on other worlds. Either I'm not understanding you, or one of us has some more learning to do.
 
2012-08-09 02:08:50 AM

rocky_howard: Well, Nitrogen is heavier than Oxygen


Uhhh... how do you figure? Nitrogen has an atomic mass of ~14 (atomic number 7) and Oxygen has an atomic mass of ~16 (atomic number 8). Both have diatomic molecular forms (N2 and O2 respectively), so molecular oxygen would still be heavier than molecular nitrogen.
 
2012-08-09 02:10:08 AM

mamoru: rocky_howard: Well, Nitrogen is heavier than Oxygen

Uhhh... how do you figure? Nitrogen has an atomic mass of ~14 (atomic number 7) and Oxygen has an atomic mass of ~16 (atomic number 8). Both have diatomic molecular forms (N2 and O2 respectively), so molecular oxygen would still be heavier than molecular nitrogen.


If N2 were heavier, we'd not be here.
 
2012-08-09 02:12:57 AM
Might be polluting Mars already with the microbes on the probes.

So fark it, terraform that biatch.

www.users.globalnet.co.uk

Calling dibs on California/Mediterranean-style climate area
 
2012-08-09 02:14:00 AM

mamoru: rocky_howard: Well, Nitrogen is heavier than Oxygen

Uhhh... how do you figure? Nitrogen has an atomic mass of ~14 (atomic number 7) and Oxygen has an atomic mass of ~16 (atomic number 8). Both have diatomic molecular forms (N2 and O2 respectively), so molecular oxygen would still be heavier than molecular nitrogen.


Yeah, I got them reversed while thinking about it. Anyway, why is air pressure higher nowadays if there's more Nitrogen and it's lighter than Oxygen?
 
2012-08-09 02:16:32 AM

VelcroFez: ...he's talking like a Jainist.


Oh FFS. No.

Respect his work and memory by not injecting this BS into a thread about someone who campaigned for reason and science over superstition and religion.
He spoke like a guy who values the life on Mars if it exists. People can have opinions outside of religion.

fark, this is angering me more than it probably should...
...need to calm down... deep breaths...
 
2012-08-09 02:37:14 AM

Ambivalence: But, if we do so horribly fark up Earth to the point that it can no longer support human life, do we really deserve to start over on another world?


I've never understood the "we may have made a mistake, so we should lay down and die" mentality. We fought our way to dominance of this planet. We have also made huge strides in understanding how we can derive energy and materials from it without disrupting its ability to support a diverse ecosystem. If the mistakes we make render it uninhabitable for us, then I say hell yes we "deserve" to start over somewhere else, if we can.

People are so quick to defend animals. The animals are not so quick to defend us.
 
2012-08-09 02:38:04 AM
Sagan should have stuck to astrophysics itself. When he started tying to be some kind of psuedo-scientific spiritualist he went off the deep end into the crazy pool.
 
2012-08-09 02:40:12 AM

mamoru: gilgigamesh: VelcroFez: The second quote is also interesting because, if that microbial life is the only life that the universe produces, Carl Sagan is urging respect for it, just as you would respect large life. In that, he's talking like a Jainist. Jainism is often derided as untenable because you cannot exist without killing microbes. But oddly that is exactly what Carl Sagan is promoting.

Yeah, and I can't say I agree with him that microbial life should be accorded such reverent treatment that we should simply stay off Mars.

Its no contest for me to put the survival of the human species above that of any microbial life on Mars. And it is a fact that one day we will need to be established beyond this planet to survive as a species. If its between us and them, I have no problem voting for us.

That seems fair enough to me.

However, I must admit I'm a bit of a "Red" when it comes to Mars (read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy for the reference). While I don't completely disagree with human exploitation of the planet, I really hope we explore the hell out of it before doing something massive and world altering like terraforming. And, even if we do that, I hope a decent portion of the planet is preserved in as close to its pristine state as possible.

Even if no Martian life is ever found there.

Mars has some amazing spectacles (largest mountain and largest single canyon system in the Solar System, entire northern hemisphere is one giant impact basin, two other amazing large impact basins, etc), and I think it would be wrong to deny future generations the chance to see them.

If we ever do get around to exploiting Mars, I hope we can do it conscientiously and with some respect for the planet itself. And if life is found there (which I highly doubt, but would LOVE to be proved wrong), I hope we don't take it upon ourselves to wipe it out.


Nuts to that, we should just start blasting all of our nuclear and other toxic waste to Mars. It would be easy, you wouldn't need much accuracy or even need to really land the ship, just crash it into the planet wherever. Maybe I can get some venture capital on this- 100% worry-free toxic waste disposal could be worth some major space cash.
 
2012-08-09 02:46:50 AM

Quaker: Nuts to that, we should just start blasting all of our nuclear and other toxic waste to Mars. It would be easy, ...


images.nationalgeographic.com

Can't miss. Launch accidents never happen, right?
 
2012-08-09 02:47:03 AM

Sylvia_Bandersnatch: It's been my understanding that all life on earth is related, through a common genetic chain going back three billion years -- the majority of it prokaryotic -- and the single event creating eukaryotes is unknown, and has never been witnessed or replicated. And that mutilcellarity may actually be very rare, and therefore we shouldn't expect to find complex life on other worlds. Either I'm not understanding you, or one of us has some more learning to do.


It's a bit presumptuous to assume the development of eukaryotic life stems from a single event when there's no evidence in any case, isn't it? Especially in light of the fact prokaryotes also colonize and multicellularize (myxobacteria and cyanobacteria, if I recall correctly), and that more than a couple theories on the development of eukaryotic life argue its development is a further evolution of such phenomena.

My point is, multicellularity , complexity, size, and cooperation/symbiosis has been rewarded on Earth; not exclusively, but it has. And, there is no reason to assume the factors which led to the trend of increasing complexity would necessarily not exist on other worlds; when, in fact, the converse (those factors, such as the need to compete for, conserve, and most-efficiently use finite resources) is reasonably assumed (in fact, it would damn near be a universal constant).

To say multicellular, or complex, life beyond Earth would not, or almost certainly would not, exist is simply unreasonable given what we know and can surmise. To say it would likely not be proliferant is reasonable, though.
 
2012-08-09 02:47:33 AM
rocky_howard
Yeah, I got them reversed while thinking about it. Anyway, why is air pressure higher nowadays if there's more Nitrogen and it's lighter than Oxygen?

Air pressure is proportional to the number of molecules (or moles) of gas present, but is unrelated to the mass of the gas itself. That is, one mole of O2 exerts the same pressure as one mole of N2 (Dalton's Law).

Total atmospheric pressure (PTOT) = pressure exerted by nitrogen (PN2) + pressure exerted by oxygen (PO2) (plus some other stuff that I'm ignoring for simplicity)

I'm a chemist, not a paleoclimatologist, so I can't speak with any authority from here on in, but if PO2 decreased because oxygen was taken out of the atmosphere and locked up in biomass (...somehow), while the total amount of nitrogen remained constant, you'd have a drop in air pressure because you'd essentially have less air. That is, PTOT would decrease because PO2 decreased, even then PN2 didn't change.

Quantum_Apostrophe
1) You're a certifiable nutcase. Ask your doctor if Haloperidol is right for you.
2) Evolution is still happening. What species are you talking about long term?


Last time I saw you threadshiat I made the mistake of trying to reason with you, and all I got for my trouble was a concussion from the brick wall. Now you've earned a place of my ignore list, plus some parting vitriol because you're an abrasive shiathead.

All the anti-aging research in the world won't save your senescent ass when a meteor falls on your head and tanks the ecosystem, or the sun eats the planet.
 
2012-08-09 02:49:08 AM

Quaker:

Nuts to that, we should just start blasting all of our nuclear and other toxic waste to Mars. It would be easy, ...


The Sun would be a much better target if we were going to do that. There's no need to junk up Mars.
 
2012-08-09 02:51:20 AM

wraith95: Quaker:

Nuts to that, we should just start blasting all of our nuclear and other toxic waste to Mars. It would be easy, ...

The Sun would be a much better target if we were going to do that. There's no need to junk up Mars.


It's all downhill, too, and there's only a tiny chance of it slingshotting around to come back and hit us in the face.

/might get us in the ass, though
 
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