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Mounting Evidence for Water on Mars

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  • The spherules (Score:4, Interesting)

    by corebreech (469871) on Monday March 01, 2004 @06:55AM (#8427778) Journal
    I don't see what's mysterious about these at all. You have to remember that Mars has much less gravity than Earth, ergo, the amount of force required to displace a pebble is so much less. So while the atmosphere is thinner there than it is over here, it is still sufficiently dense to allow for substantial winds to develop; winds that displace these pebbles and cause them to move over the ground, and over time--millions and millions of years--this repeated displacement causes the tiny stones to become spheroid in shape. The end.

  • Re:Tell news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MoonFog (586818) on Monday March 01, 2004 @06:57AM (#8427786)
    There's a bit of a difference between an orbiter and a rover located on the actual planet.

    I doubt you this kind of evidence from an orbiter:
    Other images show the rover tracks clearly are being made in "mud", with water being pressed out of that material, Levin said. "That water promptly freezes and you can see reflecting ice. That's clearly ice. It could be nothing else," he said, "and the source is the water that came out of the mud."
  • Re:Tell news (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @06:57AM (#8427788)
    Indeed. I submitted a story about the ESA's orbiter finding water on Mars months ago, but it was rejected. It's called "Not Discovered Here" syndrome.
  • Re:Great... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CdBee (742846) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:03AM (#8427805)
    "and even an oddly shaped object that looks like Rotini pasta."

    Could it be a fossil?
  • Life, Water & Power (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tronicum (617382) * on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:05AM (#8427808)
    We want to find artifical life forms, not only water.

    Another interesting point is probably a possible power source so if some of the nice red rocks contains a substance that is able to generate engergy, that would be better.

  • Re:The spherules (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kircle (564389) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:09AM (#8427823)
    And NASA is really concerned about martian dust devils and it's impact on future human missions to Mars. They're suppose to be 100 times larger than the dust devils you find on Earth. I believe they have scientists out in Arizon studying the dust devils there and working around that.
  • by heironymouscoward (683461) <heironymouscoward AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:14AM (#8427837) Journal
    I mean, seriously. I'm not trolling, just scratching my head...

    We are sitting on a planet that has everything we could possibly want. Water, food, sun, beaches, fresh mangos, carnival once a year, beer, ADSL for peanuts.

    And now the hint of the memory of water on Mars is enough to give us sciencegasms of pleasure. "Oooh, water, bacterial lifeforms,"... I know, water = life, life = understanding, etc.

    But it seems so perverse. There is such a huge waste of life and resources going on all around us. Nothing we ever find on Mars will be remotely as interesting as - say - a bucket of seawater from any corner of the world's oceans. We'll spend fortunes trying to extract a few nuggets of knowledge from the furthest corners of our domain while ignoring the mountains of knowledge that remain to be unpuzzled all around us.

    Are we just a perverse species, or what?
  • data and speculation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mike3411 (558976) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:20AM (#8427852) Homepage
    what a weird / poorly written article. maybe i'm misunderstanding some of their statements, but the author makes certain important conclusions that totally lack support. In particular, the possibiliy of liquid water (as evidenced by mud) is suggested. The article states "Levin points to Opportunity imagery that offers conclusive proof of standing liquid water and running water on a cold Mars." The argument is that freezing areas in the rover's tracks are filled with ice, which is supposedly identified through pictures. This may be valid, but to suggest that such an important conclusion can be made by theorizing on what could make a shiny surface in imagaes... seems excessive. This appears especially absurd to me because the rover has tools specifically designed to answer this question. I mean, why is this guy attempting to conjecture this based on images when we can use IR & GC to find out exactly what is there? I suppose the point in this article is that this data has been collected, and is to be announced soon, but the confidence with which the article makes these assertions and its lack of explication for the possible errors in these theories really frustrated me and seems totally inappropriate in a scientific publication, even one online :\

  • by Darkfred (245270) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:29AM (#8427874) Homepage Journal
    I don't think its the thought of the life forms themselves on mars that will give people 'sciencegasms'. It's the implications of what it would mean if we found similar cellular life to our own somewhere else in the universe.

    It gives us hope that somewhere else in the universe there would be life as well. After all if two planets in our own system have life it must develop quite easily, Or at least show that interplanet panspermia is possible.

    And most important to our motivations, it addresses two very basic interests inherant to our physque. Loneliness and the divine.

  • Re:Great... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CdBee (742846) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:31AM (#8427877)
    Troll???

    I'm asking a perfectly legitimate question. An odd-shaped object embedded in a rock on mars may be a chemical deposit, or it may be an organic product - or it may just be an anomalous rock.

    I fail to see what is trollish about my question.
  • by anish1411 (671295) <(anish.kothari) (at) (ntlworld.com)> on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:39AM (#8427888)

    The fact that for millions of years on Earth, nothing happened, and then all of a sudden BOOM life arose in the gap of about 10,000 (which is a small gap), might be suggestive that life really might not be able to happen many other way!

    If you look at life on Earth, it is based on long chains of carbon and some nitrogen, mixed with various other molecules. Not many other elements have the combining properties of carbon and nitrogen, so nothing too complex could be formed with anything else.

    If you take the example of a DNA molecule, this ia an extremely complex and precise little thing. It's double-helix structure is only possible because of the way it has been formed, and its replication has been masterfully engineered by millions of years of evolution.

    There are many, many other things about life on Earth that are so complex and specific, that I - and many biologists agree with this - think that life probably could not have happened any other way.

    Btw, the reason capillary action happens is because water molecules are polar, with the hydrogen side being slightly positive and the oxygen side being slightly negative. This is not true with most other liquids. And besides mercury, or ethanol wouldnt be very useful to plants, even if they could absorb it by capillary action.

  • Where's the Pasta? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by torpor (458) <jayvNO@SPAMsynth.net> on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:45AM (#8427902) Homepage Journal
    Anyone know where the images of this 'pasta-like' object are? I'd sure like to see that!!!
  • Re:It may have water (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ColaMan (37550) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:52AM (#8427922) Homepage Journal
    That doesn't rule out subsurface life.
    Which is a likely place for life (if any) to be, considering that there's:
    - Possibly liquid water / brine there.
    - Possibly adequate sheilding from the crap atmosphere above ground / radiation from space.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@ ... Dl.com minus bsd> on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:28AM (#8427995) Homepage Journal
    The Mars Global Surveyer found traces of hydrogen first, and also returned the first images which seemed like water carving the martian surface.

    And, to top it all off, there is a small but steady band of real scientists that believe that Viking did in fact find life on Mars.
  • What I don't get... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:30AM (#8427999) Homepage Journal
    We all know that hydrogen is the most common element in the known universe, why is it such a big deal that some of that greatly abundant hydrogen exists in H2O on Mars?

    With the countless gallons on earth, it shouldn't be a big deal that just a fraction of that much water ended up on Mars.

    LK
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:49AM (#8428060)
    what a weird / poorly written article. maybe i'm misunderstanding some of their statements, but the author makes certain important conclusions that totally lack support. In particular, the possibiliy of liquid water (as evidenced by mud) is suggested. The article states "Levin points to Opportunity imagery that offers conclusive proof of standing liquid water and running water on a cold Mars."

    Yeah, Levin is a bit nutty here. "Crackpot" may or may not be too strong. He has a history with mentioned Viking experiment. Nearly everyone else has concluded that the results can be explained through normal (but unexpected at the time) chemical properties of the martian soil. Google around for more info, it's also come up on Usenet recently.

    All this talk of "mud" and "liquid water" leaves me scratching my head... I can only assume that these people are desperately looking for something to support their preconcieved ideas.

    Let's take the "mud" first.

    Everyone knows Mars is a very dusty place. It's exceedingly obvious from the pictures. The behavour of the rover tracks (and airbags) is about what you'd expect from a very fine grained material. Go play with some flour in your kitchen if it helps. Also, the "pro-mud" people (shall we call them Elbonians?) also seem to forget that the rovers carry a microscopic imager... The pictures from it seem to clearly indicate that we're looking at sand and dust, not mud.

    As for the "shiny" pictures implying brine/ice...

    This also seems uninformed to me. There are plenty of things that are shiny that are not ice. I think most of this is a result of not being able to correctly intrepret what the rover sees. The Pancam takes images though a variety of narrow-pass filters, and this can sometimes make things look funky. In fact, you can see that rocks sometimes look "shiny" in one wavelenth, but dull and normal in another.

    It's easy to find examples of rocks like this in NASA's "raw image archive" -- eg some of the Sol 14 Pancam pics at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit. html

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:54AM (#8428085) Homepage
    Discovering evidence suggesting that there is life on Mars could be a serious stumbling block to further exploration, and definitely to exploitation.

    Remember when Chekov was scanning Ceti Alpha 5 for life before testing the Genesis device there, and his captain said that even a microbe meant the test would be a no-go? Remember what happened to the invading Martians at Grover's Mill NJ: they're highly vulnerable to Terran bacteria.

    But seriously, a dead, sterile Mars is one we could start sending people to, and eventually set up a permanent settlement (with waste products and all). But one with actual life would - for scientific, and arguably for moral reasons - have to be quarantined.

  • Re:The spherules (Score:3, Interesting)

    by corebreech (469871) on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:56AM (#8428098) Journal
    But they aren't perfect spheres. [space.com]

    If they were solidified droplets of molten rock, the surface should be a great deal smoother. The surface on the spheroids in contrast have considerable detail, and these details appear to be consistent with a long lifetime of tiny impacts with other spheroids/rocks, gradually creating the spherical shape we are observing today.
  • by awol (98751) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:15AM (#8428189) Journal
    No, the Mars thing is the many worlds thing. We, for all are faults have some outward looking characteristics. Couple this with the pretty classic zero, one or many nature of most things and you realise that if we can find two planets around our sun that have (or had) life then we know that as far as life is concerned we are in the many domain. Whoa. That is huge. If we know that we are in the many domain, then the search for other intelligent life becomes much more a search for life supporting suns than life supporting planets and that is a big deal, because we care about what is out there.
  • by art6217 (757847) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:45AM (#8428312)
    Several of the photographed spherules seem to have various features close to their tops, i.e. they seem to be pointed like here [nasa.gov]. There is also a photo of a cut of one of the spherules. If you brighten dark colors in the image [nasa.gov] something like a central stem, dendritic structures in, relatively to the image, upper part of the spherule, and a `glue' to the left of the spherule, can be seen.

    These can be illusions, of course.

  • Re:The spherules (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bdeclerc (129522) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:50AM (#8428335) Homepage
    First of all, they aren't perfect spheres.

    No, but they are way way more spherical than any pebbles on earth.
    Secondly, it isn't random physical phenomena we're talking about here.

    Yes it is, rocky object colliding with each other in the wind is about as random as it gets...
    Third, why do you assume the rock fragments were of variable size and shape?

    Because it is the most logical starting point, I mean, why wouldn't they be variable (By this, I mean "considerably more variable than we see in the spherules", not "rocks smaller than an atom to larger than mount Everest".
    As we can plainly see, there is an abundance of material on the surface of Mars that is neither similar in size or shape.

    Indeed there are, but these spherules are inside the layered material and are eroding out of it (presumably because they are made out of tougher material than the surrounding stuff), so the other stuff lying around is less relevant (and probably mostly rocks thrown out by the many meteroite impacts in the neighbourhood, or meteorites themselves).
    similarly sized particles are going to behave similarly as the conditions of the surface change

    I agree, but this only explains (more or less) why they would all be similar in size, it doesn't explain the spherical nature (they may not be perfectly spherical, but they are very close)

    Nobody is shouting anything, and I fail to see how mysticism plays any role here whatsoever

    I'm sorry, this was just a reaction to your short and pretty "handwavy" answer [slashdot.org] to my previous post. The frog was a kind of CowboyNealish and feeble attempt at humor.
    The differences between the planets is anything but minor.

    Here we disagree, while I agree that they are not the same, they are not off by a huge amount, meaning that the physics will act more or less the same, which to me means that if you propose a mechanism that acts fundamentally different then it does on earth, you should be prepared to give some rasoning beyond "well, it ain't exactly the same there".
    Moreover, your depiction of the processes that take place here on Earth is similarly flawed... pebbles don't form in streams at the kind of altitudes that are remotely comparable to Mars.

    Again, I disagree with the "are not remotely comparable".
    If you're going to throw stones at the conjectures others have on geological processes on other planets, it would behoove you to have a better grasp on those that take place on your own.

    I'm sorry, are you saying no pebbles are formed in mountain rivers? Or are we again diagreeing on what constitute "comparable surroundings"? I will concede that we cannot rule out that these objects were formed in a way similar to what you describe, I would argue that, excluding the frog joke, my other possible explanations are considerably more likely...

    Anyway, the spectrometric data from the rovers should provide good evidence of the actual formation process, so this will all likely be resolved in a couple of months
  • by Angry Toad (314562) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:52AM (#8428347)

    They seem to be keeping the most interesting shots and other data to themselves - and no surprise, the only benefit the scientists get out of their participation in the project is publication rights. I'm quite sure that we'll see the most interesting stuff before too terribly long.

    Of course there's always the mysterious "horned" Opportunity object, which simply up and disappeared from one day to the next. I still suspect that it may have been a torn bit of material from the airbags that got blown away, but all the same it's an odd thing.

  • Re:The spherules (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @10:45AM (#8428666)
    Not meaning to be critical, but the reason dust devils do less damage on Mars is due to the very low density of its atmosphere. The atmosphere is so much less dense than Earth's, that 200mph winds would produce the same amount of force as a strong gust of wind on Earth. Gravity has no direct impact.
  • by barawn (25691) on Monday March 01, 2004 @10:56AM (#8428751) Homepage
    But what is it exactly about water that makes it so important?

    Actually, that web site you linked to shows a lot of properties that are generic to all liquids - the unique one being that water expands when it contracts.

    However, the question should be "why only water?" and the basic answer to that is pretty simple.

    Life, simply put, could be described as nature selecting out certain configurations from a system that contains an almost infinite amount of states. Therefore, you need something that allows for many states and many configurations to form - that is, you want a dipole - subatomic "glue", basically - something that can take ions and join them together in weird ways to get bizarre states. Dipoles also act simultaneously as solvents - that is, they break down objects into dissolved ions.

    Well, if you want a dipole for life, then you're probably going to get life based on the simplest dipole available. So you start with hydrogen, the most common element. And the simplest dipole you can form with hydrogen is water.

    This, of course, doesn't preclude other elements from being the basic dipole for life if the region isn't compatible with water - though, unlike what the article says, Earth is not at the triple point of water - the blackbody temperature of Earth is ~255K, which is far underneath the freezing point of water (granted, triple points require knowledge of pressure, which eliminates a simple blackbody approach, but...). Earth's atmosphere, however, is at the triple point of water, but that's because it's been tuned to get to that point by the various thermal cycles and biological cycles which keep Earth's temperature near that point. What you really needed was liquid water, because as a solid or as a gas, the dipole properties are really being wasted. So, one can imagine a world where something just slightly more complicated than water (say... ammonia) is liquid, and maybe, just maybe, you'd get a complex chemistry out of that, too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @11:27AM (#8429009)
    Ummm, I should think that quite a lot is known about dust devils.

    Every cumulus cloud that you see is a dust devil (though usually without the dust). The rising air of the dust devil is itself responsible for the cloud. Oft times it happens that the rising air either runs into an inversion or is sufficiently dry that it doesn't reach the dew point to condense a cloud. In deserts and dryer climes those rising air columns often find plenty of dust to pick up, making them visible.

    Further, these things are useful. Skilled pilots can use them to fly hundreds of miles in a day (1000km is not unheard of; I've personally flown > 300 km several times). As the poster mentions, they are often visible and rise up to two miles. (Actually more; in New South Wales (Australia) or Arizona (US) on a good summer day, they go regularly to 3-4,000m and more than 5,000m is not unheard of.) In mountainous areas where pilots are likely to carry supplemental oxygen, dust devils are scarcer, and orographic winds are more practical for achieving very high altitude (10,000m+) and long distance (500km+) flights. The orographic winds ("ridge lift", "wave") also tend to break up dust devils, strongly limiting their altitudes in mountainous regions.

    Without thunderstorms (on earth) dust devils sometimes reach upward speeds of 30 knots (15m/s) or more. With thunderstorms (condensing and freezing water release heat), much more powerful winds are created (> 70 knots).

    Further, in many areas of the world, you can get soaring forecasts. These provide some indication of the likelyhood of "thermals" (dust devils, w/ or w/o dust), what time of the morning they are likely to start (they are driven by sunlight), how strong they are likely to be, how high they are likely to be, and how many can be found per unit area. (Or you can use a T-phi chart or a Stuve chart (aka "skew chart") and a few measurements to figure these things yourself.)

  • Re:Great... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Melantha_Bacchae (232402) on Monday March 01, 2004 @11:59AM (#8429398)
    "Fossil" is exactly what I was thinking when I saw it. It is, after all on the bottom of an ancient lake, which is exactly where fossils form on Earth.

    Here is something else to consider: Mars may be recovering from a mass extinction event. Had we sent a probe to Earth just after the Permian extinction wiped out 90% of all life, the place would be a devastated mess, with what little life remaining hiding out and clinging by a thread. Life takes decades to recover in the vicinity of a major volcanic eruption. Life took far longer to recover in the vicinity of the Yellowstone super volcano. It is not inconceivable that Mars could take as long as we have been watching it or more to recover from a severe mass extinction. While it did, it would look dead to us, at least until we had the technology to find its life, and had looked in enough places.

    If there is life on Mars, I believe it should be left alone. No more probes, unless it can be proven that they are made of harmless materials (as the current ones are not) and will not damage anything. Certainly not any human visits. Our species has a terrible record for destroying life. It is one thing to go back in time and destroy our own ancestors, ensuring we do not evolve. We have no right to be going to another planet and messing up their evolution.

    "It's a miracle! The sea water has once again created new life."
    Moll, "Rebirth of Mothra 2"
  • by demachina (71715) on Monday March 01, 2004 @12:33PM (#8429855)
    Mars is interesting because the Earth is headed for a resource crash in the not so distant future. One reason is we continue to fail at population control [prb.org]. There are a lot of reasons, religions that suppress birth control because they want to maximize their flock and we've interefered with some of the natural, brutal, mechanisms of population control with technology, being two.

    We are already at the point that we are waging wars for control of oil (i.e Iraq and Venezuela), control which will determine the economic winners in the near future. Once the earth's population hits 9 or 10 billion and has to be maintained there, for an extended period, its unlikely that you will have enough "water, food and fresh mangos" unless you are affluent and living in a 1st world nation with a military defending its resources and borders. A runaway climate could also rob the first world of the basics needed for survival.

    Mars is a desert island to an Earth that resembles a leaking ship. Its precisely because its hard to get to and to live on now that means, to a handful of people, it may be the only refuge from an Earth that will be an increasingly unpleasant to live if the leak isn't fixed and it starts to go down. Mars is unpleasant for natural reasons while Earth is becoming unpleasant due to man made causes.

    We could hope for technological and social breakthroughs that would solve earth's looming crisis, and plug the leak. We could, for example, launch an Apollo program to break Earth's dependence on fossil fuels, through nuclear fusion or solar power, but that doesn't seem to be happening. Perhaps its because no one has the capital and the wisdom or perhaps its because breakthroughs would threaten the economic empires of some powerful corporate nations who are acutely short sighted.

    Mars is a blank slate. It could go to either of two extremes with a rainbow in between.

    We could go there and start fresh, starting with a wealth of knowledge and technology and with no social or economic inertia. We could solve the problems involved with making Mars a habitable place and hopefully build a society that would control population, poverty and pollution and avoid the ravages of capitalism on one extreme and totalitarianism on the other. It may be the only place to create a first world nation that won't have to struggle to shut out the starving masses of the 3rd world.

    On the other hand we could go there and repeat all the mistakes we made here and eventually ravage it too, though it would take a while which is some comfort I guess.

    If you want to spark your imagination about the possibilities in Mars there are several books though my favorite is Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars trilogy. Its is not Star Wars or Star Trek action packed sci fi, but if you have the patience to read it, it is thought provoking and can light a fire under you for a colonizing mission to Mars.

  • by crivens (112213) on Monday March 01, 2004 @12:58PM (#8430229)
    So we have been pointing fingers at NASA, criticising them for their recent disasters, resulting from budget cuts. Now all of a sudden we're seeing lots of stories about "water on Mars". "Hey look, we think we found water on MARS! We need more money to go investigate further!". Is this a case of using the ends to justify the means?

    A troll? You bet!
    Just call me the drole troll!
  • by mattblanchard (551123) on Monday March 01, 2004 @01:36PM (#8430756)
    One scientist that was quoted in the article, Dr. Gilbert V. Levin, was the lead scientist on a life detection experiment that was aboard the 1976 Viking lander mission. He's been trying to tell NASA and the world for the past 3 decades that "the Viking LR experiment detected living microorganisms in the soil of Mars". Check out this paper [spherix.com]. Amazing stuff. Truly amazing.

    After reading this paper and several others [spherix.com] by Dr. Levin, I have to wonder why the general public has no idea about these findings. Don't they merit public discussion? Why don't *any* of NASA's planned Mars missions contain direct life-detection experiments? IANACT (Conspiracy Theorist), but something smells fishy to me.

  • by fredmosby (545378) on Monday March 01, 2004 @02:20PM (#8431407)
    If you look at the spheroid in the upper left of this image [nasa.gov] you see a spheroid that actually looks like two partial spheres stuck together. It looks to me like it's caused by an imperfection in the crystal structure. Anyway the shape couldn't be caused by the spheroid rolling around on the surface.
  • by b-baggins (610215) on Monday March 01, 2004 @02:35PM (#8431671) Journal
    We're not anywhere near a resource crash. And saying we went to war in Iraq over oil just underlines your lack of thinking. It would have been a lot easier to get cheap oil from Iraq by just lifting the sanctions. No need to fight about it at all.
  • by jafac (1449) on Monday March 01, 2004 @04:20PM (#8433058) Homepage
    Actually, it's my understanding that from a purely scriptural standpoint, the moon, mars, venus, ALL heavenly bodies were put there by God to help us mark the time and the seasons, and also portents and omens, etc.

    Which doesn't specifically say anything about what they are or are not, or whether there is or is not life on those bodies. It wasn't specifically mentioned in the Bible whether God created life there or not, or whether that life has souls, or whatever. Spiritually, it's pretty much a non-issue whether life exists there or not.

    Even if the life were intelligent life, it wouldn't make any difference. However, given the paranoid nature of the Christian Fundamentalist mind (everything is an evil leftist conspiracy by the devil to persecute and destroy them) - there is a contingent of Christians who are worried that SUPERIOR alien life will someday be discovered, and they will come and impose THEIR religion on us - and since there's no guidance on that at all in scripture, they'll be interpreted as demons bringing false religion from the devil.

    One point that is made in scripture, is that the Earth was specifically given to man, to do with as we please. The heavenly bodies were not. So if we were go colonise other planets, and exploit them, we don't specifically have God's permission. I'm sure that's probably not going to be an important point for Fundamentalists heavily invested in mining consortia.
  • by anantherous coward (695798) on Monday March 01, 2004 @04:50PM (#8433371)

    I've read a fair amount of the Creationist stuff. Views in fact vary widely (young earth, old earth, etc., etc.), but I believe that the position that will be taken is that the life on Mars is Earth life populated via span-spermia.

    That view may in fact be a correct one, but we could only know after analysis of Martian life forms bio-chemical strucure, i.e -- does it have earth like DNA? Assuming of course that such life forms are present.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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