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(io9)   Scientists show microbes from Earth can survive conditions found on Mars. We came in peace...to give you the flu   (io9.com) divider line 38
    More: Followup, Earth, microbes, scientists, robotic spacecraft, food additives, Martian surface, flu, National Academy of Sciences  
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1030 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Dec 2012 at 12:11 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-26 07:36:40 PM
i1079.photobucket.com
 
2012-12-26 09:16:32 PM
www.openlettersmonthly.com
"AAAAAAAAAAAARGH! Mutagenic carnobacteria!!!"
 
2012-12-27 12:12:54 AM
What's with microbes today?
 
2012-12-27 12:14:48 AM
Old and busted. Covered in the Martian Chronicles.
 
2012-12-27 12:25:24 AM
HG Wells did it.
 
2012-12-27 12:32:41 AM
oh good we can stop those motherfarkers before they lift off and land their damn saucers here
 
2012-12-27 12:59:34 AM
So. Wouldn't it be ironic if we designed organisms with the intent of putting them on mars so that it self terraforms and a billion years from now some martians debate if they came about by intelligent design or natural evolution?
 
2012-12-27 01:02:20 AM
Ok, I've never understood the fascination with life starting on mars as an answer for life on earth. Why is that a thing? If it could have started on Mars couldn't it have just as easily started right farki g here. And Without the inter solar travel! They say the chances of life evolving, sorry creationists, on a planet are something on the magnitude of a donkzillion to f-all, so why is thinking life started on Mars a better thought than it starting here? How did it start there then? And why not simultaneously on earth as well?
 
2012-12-27 01:33:46 AM
But can the blankets that carry them survive the trip?
 
2012-12-27 02:36:21 AM

mrlewish: So. Wouldn't it be ironic if we designed organisms with the intent of putting them on mars so that it self terraforms and a billion years from now some martians debate if they came about by intelligent design or natural evolution?


Particularly if life on Earth was initially seeded by ancient Martians.
 
2012-12-27 02:46:39 AM
Hate to be that guy, but the flu is a virus. I'd be seriously impressed if viruses could live on Mars.
 
2012-12-27 02:54:39 AM

spacemanjones: Ok, I've never understood the fascination with life starting on mars as an answer for life on earth. Why is that a thing? If it could have started on Mars couldn't it have just as easily started right farki g here. And Without the inter solar travel! They say the chances of life evolving, sorry creationists, on a planet are something on the magnitude of a donkzillion to f-all, so why is thinking life started on Mars a better thought than it starting here? How did it start there then? And why not simultaneously on earth as well?


I don't know that many people consider it a "better" thought, just a different possibility.

Also, we really have no godly idea what the chances of life evolving on a particular planet are. We have a sample size of basically one, which doesn't tell you much other than that it's (almost certainly) possible for life to evolve, but doesn't give you much in the way of odds to calculate.
 
2012-12-27 03:01:07 AM

spacemanjones: Ok, I've never understood the fascination with life starting on mars as an answer for life on earth


It's more the fascination with the idea that life is elsewhere. If life is spreading, there's hope. If life is confined to earth alone of the countless trillions of star systems, there's no hope.

We want to find evidence of other life because that means one day we can go elsewhere.
 
2012-12-27 04:29:26 AM

Abner Doon: Hate to be that guy, but the flu is a virus. I'd be seriously impressed if viruses could live on Mars anywhere.


FTFY. A protein capsule around genetic material isn't alive.
 
2012-12-27 04:38:31 AM
They may find bacteria on Mars, and that will be very exciting, but I'll bet they find fish-sized life on Europa.
 
2012-12-27 04:58:32 AM

qlenfg: Old and busted. Covered in the Martian Chronicles.


Even older and busted. H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds (originally published in 1898), the Martians die because they have no biological defenses against the Earth's viruses and bacteria.
 
2012-12-27 05:06:08 AM
www.texarkanagazette.com

Really, I'm the first?
 
2012-12-27 05:21:51 AM

yukichigai: [www.texarkanagazette.com image 720x1116]

Really, I'm the first?


I'm more surprised that cryingindian.jpg hasn't shown up yet.
 
2012-12-27 06:25:05 AM
Whooptyfuggindoo.

Make with aliens already.
 
2012-12-27 06:53:24 AM

spacemanjones: Ok, I've never understood the fascination with life starting on mars as an answer for life on earth. Why is that a thing? If it could have started on Mars couldn't it have just as easily started right farki g here. And Without the inter solar travel! They say the chances of life evolving, sorry creationists, on a planet are something on the magnitude of a donkzillion to f-all, so why is thinking life started on Mars a better thought than it starting here? How did it start there then? And why not simultaneously on earth as well?


Well, it appears that there was life on Earth almost as soon as it was possible for life to survive on Earth. There is evidence of bacterial life in the oldest rocks capable of having such evidence, or something like that. That leaves three possibilities: Abiogenesis is easier than we thought, Earth got really really lucky, or life was introduced from elsewhere. If Mars cooled and solidified sooner, and wasn't re-melted the way the Earth was when it got wacked by the impact that created the moon, then that gives Mars some time to develop life that can then be transfered to Earth via meteorite or whatever.
 
2012-12-27 06:55:31 AM
They say the bacteria can survive under Martian conditions--but what are they finding to eat? If these are autotrophs, or able to digest minerals or something like that, then this really is impressive.
 
2012-12-27 06:57:21 AM
What are we waiting for? If we have found life that can survive on Mars dump the buggers on Mars and see what happens. Could care less if life ever existed on Mars in the past. However if we get life there now it's a really GOOD thing.

However I doubt any life could exist on or near the surface of Mars due to a lack of a substantial magnetic field. Everything at or near the surface is basically being subjected to an x-ray every couple of minutes. This constant exposure to cosmic background radiation (CBR) makes it doubtful, even if all other conditions were ideal, that life ever existed at or near the surface of Mars.

Mars couldn't be terraformed to hold life as we know it. It's to small. Even if the Martian atmosphere was 100% oxygen you would suffocate. If you attempted to add atmosphere it would leak off into space. If oxygen (o2) were added to the Martian atmosphere it would react with the CBR to produce ozone (o3). Any permenant colony on Mars would need to be 60 to 600 feet under the surface and inside a Faraday cage.

Virus particles flaunt one of the basic definitions of life, the ability to reproduce themselves. A virus can only reproduce by reprograming a host cell to produce them. A virus lacks any of the organic "machinery" to reproduce itself. Thus for a virus to exist on Mars an existing, compatible cellular biology would have to already be in place.

The article plays up the fact that this bacteria survives without oxygen and can survive cold (it was found in Siberia). What little atmosphere Mars does have is mostly co2 which I believe is required by some forms of anaerobic repiration, but is there enough of it? While Siberia is cold in winter, it is quite warm in the summer. Does this bacterium thrive in the cold winter conditions or merely survive them so as to thrive in the warm summer months? Siberia has lots of water. It's covered in snow in winter and quite swampy in summer. Mars has a distinct lack of moisture at the surface.

There have been extremophiles found in rocks located in extremely dry Antarctic valleys. If anaerobic bacteria could be found under these conditions it would be a much better bet. The radiation is the spoiler though. The article has one through away line about "the highly irradiated surface of Mars." Talk about understatement. We use small doses of radiation to keep our food fresh longer in a process called food irradiation because radiation is that good at killing things. Even with the Van Allen belts Life on earth probably wasn't even possible out of water until the ozone layer formed. I favor the idea that life originated around deep ocean vents for the added protection from CBR.

The idea that life might have existed on Mars is based on mighty big ifs. Mars almost certainly had more atmosphere in the past before it all slowly leaked into space, but how long did it last? Mars might have had a more robust magnetosphere in the past when it's core was warmer and more volcanically active. How long did that last? There is a large amount of evidence that a hydrosphere once existed on Mars when its atmosphere was thicker (under the current atmospheric pressure water boils at below freezing, thus no surface ice). Was it water or could it have been a hydrosphere composed of liquid methane like we've discovered on Titan?

If you look at Mars (approx 1/5 earth mass) it's to small to support life as it can't hold enough atmosphere. Venus (approx 5/8 earth mass) is to big to support life as it holds to much atmosphere. Niether Mars or Venus have any magnetic field to speak of. The reason the earth can support life is the moon.

The moon (approx 1/6 earth mass) causes a tidal pull that has over time bled away most of the earth's atmosphere. The earth does the same to the moon, the moon is big enough to have an atmosphere but earth's gravitational pull has caused it all to escape. The moon's gravitational pull interacts with the earth's iron core causing friction and keeping the core rotating thus generating the magnetic field that protects us from CBR.

The best chance to discover life elsewhere in the solar system is Europa. It's loacted within Jupiter's magnetosphere, has it's own magnetosphere due to tidal friction with Jupiter, and it's ocean is further protected from CBR by 40 to 60 miles of ice cover. Europa is supposed to have more liquid water than the earth. What little atmosphere it has is composed of oxygen.

It's my sincerest wish that a probe be landed onto Europa during my lifetime.
 
2012-12-27 08:11:00 AM
www.troll.me
 
2012-12-27 08:15:48 AM

spacemanjones: so why is thinking life started on Mars a better thought than it starting here? How did it start there then? And why not simultaneously on earth as well?


I don't think anyone thinks it is 'better' if life started on Mars before on Earth. Finding signs of life on Mars would be huge in that it would be proof that Earth is not unique and would hint that life is a common phenomenon throughout the galaxy.
 
2012-12-27 08:31:21 AM
but, the chances of anything coming from mars was a million to one, they said.
 
2012-12-27 09:22:10 AM

pciszek: They say the bacteria can survive under Martian conditions--but what are they finding to eat? If these are autotrophs, or able to digest minerals or something like that, then this really is impressive.


Ars Technica just posted a story covering this topic.
 
2012-12-27 09:23:16 AM

MightyPez: pciszek: They say the bacteria can survive under Martian conditions--but what are they finding to eat? If these are autotrophs, or able to digest minerals or something like that, then this really is impressive.

Ars Technica just posted a story covering this topic.


...which is a covering of the posted story here. I need to start reading the damn articles
 
2012-12-27 09:30:19 AM

spacemanjones: Ok, I've never understood the fascination with life starting on mars as an answer for life on earth. Why is that a thing? If it could have started on Mars couldn't it have just as easily started right farki g here. And Without the inter solar travel! They say the chances of life evolving, sorry creationists, on a planet are something on the magnitude of a donkzillion to f-all, so why is thinking life started on Mars a better thought than it starting here? How did it start there then? And why not simultaneously on earth as well?


I'll be frank in my opinion:

It would be a massive F*CK YOU to the endless waves of Creationist idiots who take the Bible literally.
 
2012-12-27 09:41:52 AM

spacemanjones: Ok, I've never understood the fascination with life starting on mars as an answer for life on earth. Why is that a thing? If it could have started on Mars couldn't it have just as easily started right farki g here. And Without the inter solar travel! They say the chances of life evolving, sorry creationists, on a planet are something on the magnitude of a donkzillion to f-all, so why is thinking life started on Mars a better thought than it starting here? How did it start there then? And why not simultaneously on earth as well?


Also I believe Mars had solidified and had an atmosphere earlier than Earth, so it had a head start.
 
2012-12-27 10:09:03 AM

Scarlioni: What are we waiting for? If we have found life that can survive on Mars dump the buggers on Mars and see what happens. Could care less if life ever existed on Mars in the past. However if we get life there now it's a really GOOD thing.

However I doubt any life could exist on or near the surface of Mars due to a lack of a substantial magnetic field. Everything at or near the surface is basically being subjected to an x-ray every couple of minutes. This constant exposure to cosmic background radiation (CBR) makes it doubtful, even if all other conditions were ideal, that life ever existed at or near the surface of Mars.

Mars couldn't be terraformed to hold life as we know it. It's to small. Even if the Martian atmosphere was 100% oxygen you would suffocate. If you attempted to add atmosphere it would leak off into space. If oxygen (o2) were added to the Martian atmosphere it would react with the CBR to produce ozone (o3). Any permenant colony on Mars would need to be 60 to 600 feet under the surface and inside a Faraday cage.

Virus particles flaunt one of the basic definitions of life, the ability to reproduce themselves. A virus can only reproduce by reprograming a host cell to produce them. A virus lacks any of the organic "machinery" to reproduce itself. Thus for a virus to exist on Mars an existing, compatible cellular biology would have to already be in place.

The article plays up the fact that this bacteria survives without oxygen and can survive cold (it was found in Siberia). What little atmosphere Mars does have is mostly co2 which I believe is required by some forms of anaerobic repiration, but is there enough of it? While Siberia is cold in winter, it is quite warm in the summer. Does this bacterium thrive in the cold winter conditions or merely survive them so as to thrive in the warm summer months? Siberia has lots of water. It's covered in snow in winter and quite swampy in summer. Mars has a distinct lack of moisture at the surface.

There have been ...


I really pains me that you seem fairly straight-forward and logical, and maybe even reasonable with this post, and yet fail to grasp the word 'too', and how it is different from 'to', and why your posts are triple painful to read as a result.

Lemme guess...American public school?
 
2012-12-27 10:15:18 AM

Cerebral Knievel: but, the chances of anything coming from mars was a million to one, they said.


Which means it succeeds 9 out of 10 times.
 
2012-12-27 10:17:02 AM

xaks: If you attempted to add atmosphere it would leak off into space.


Not for a fairly long time. I forget the time constant for Mars, but one estimate is that if you gave the Moon an atmosphere, it would have a "half life" of over a hundred years. Mars would be much longer than that.
 
2012-12-27 10:41:20 AM

JRoo: Whooptyfuggindoo.

Make with aliens already.


Aliens from Mexico, Canada, South America, Central America, South East Asia, Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia or one of the islands?
 
2012-12-27 10:55:34 AM
Fark, we probably got our microbes from Mars. Or beyond. Martian ejecta has made it to the Earth.

/Earth was a hot, fetid mess until she received a dose of Mars' ejecta. Then she straightened up, had the baby, got a job and is doing very well now.
 
2012-12-27 11:01:48 AM
What's stopping us from taking a crop duster to Mars to start seeding the entire planet with bacteria that could prepare the soil for fast spreading plants?

To me that seems like a no-brainer. You can look for fossils AFTER it's livable.
 
2012-12-27 11:03:15 AM
so how soon can we begin terraforming?

otherwise i'd rather throw money at earth's problems
 
2012-12-27 11:25:46 AM
Hey, microbes from outer space come here to Earth...in the past and now. (as well as landing on Mars too...)
We give it to them too...what's the difference??

As with Nature here...the universe is one big cluster-fark.

The truth is...will you survive??
or anything you care about.

The Universe & Mother Nature say, let the die roll...
 
2012-12-27 01:55:32 PM

spacemanjones: Ok, I've never understood the fascination with life starting on mars as an answer for life on earth. Why is that a thing? If it could have started on Mars couldn't it have just as easily started right farki g here. And Without the inter solar travel! They say the chances of life evolving, sorry creationists, on a planet are something on the magnitude of a donkzillion to f-all, so why is thinking life started on Mars a better thought than it starting here? How did it start there then? And why not simultaneously on earth as well?


It's simply because how life started is one of the great currently unanswerable questions which requires more evidence before it can be definitively answered in any way. Any evidence which can be found is one step closer to answering that question.

If you answer the question "Is there or has there ever been life on Mars?" then there are two potential answers: Yes or No. If No, then you shrug and go off looking for evidence elsewhere, and at most chalk it up to life being a bit harder to come about in the first place. If Yes, then you create another question to be answered. Is the life related to us? If not, then life is probably very common throughout the universe, since it arose independently twice in such a small area. If it is related to us, then it opens a whole can of worms. Did life start here, there, or elsewhere in the solar system, or is it from outside entirely? If it's confined to the solar system (i.e. bacteria cannot possibly under any circumstances survive the depths of space for long enough to get out or in), then you really haven't answered any questions about how common life is in the universe, but you can potentially locate where it started at definitively, which gives you the conditions and answers a lot of questions about how exactly life started, around these parts at least. If it's from outside though, and migrated here through some long dormant simple bacterial colony, then you're looking at the possibility that at least this neighborhood of the galaxy is literally awash with life, if not the galaxy as a whole, and you have to go a whole lot farther out to actually answer the question of how life arose, if it's even answerable at all at that point.
 
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