Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Asking the musical question: Is there life on Mars?

Scientists have always speculated that life could exist in the subterranean reaches of Mars.  Now, a study seems to lend credence to that speculation and go it one better.

A paper has been published, detailing the findings of experiments conducted by the Australian National University.  These studies found that over three percent of Mars is capable of sustaining life, underground life that is.  By way of comparison, only one percent of the Earth is habitable.  Adding to the case for either bacteria or simple organisms beneath the surface is the fact that Mars has vast deposits of ice in its interior.  It might even have liquid water.  This might even be, as the study suggests, on a planet-wide scale rather than just isolated pockets.

Sure, microorganisms and single-cell life isn’t all that exciting; except for the virtue of it being the only life we will have encountered off-planet.  Officially, anyway.  But I keep coming back to these “extremophiles” we continue to discover here on Earth.  These are organisms living in locales like say, the icy reaches under Antarctica, that science previously deemed inhospitable.  It’s not a far stretch to then imagine microorganisms in the harsh and unforgiving landscapes of space or a planet like Mars.

What of intelligent life?  Granted the leap from microscopic life to intelligence is a vast one, yet I still wonder.  Could an entire civilization of intelligent life exist beneath the surface of Mars?  Unaware of the tiny probes landing above it? 

And of course, how else would I close out this post?

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  1. Only 1 percent of the Earth is habitable? I'm not mocking you, but you have to educate me on the math behind that.

  2. Click the link in the post. It explains it.
    The figure takes into account the entire Earth from core to upper atmosphere.


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