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New Clue for Life on Mars? 192

thhamm writes "Recent analyses of ESA's Mars Express data reveal that concentrations of water vapour and methane in the atmosphere of Mars significantly overlap. This result, from data obtained by the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS), gives a boost to understanding of geological and atmospheric processes on Mars, and provides important new hints to evaluate the hypothesis of present life on the Red Planet."
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New Clue for Life on Mars?

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  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:49PM (#10299262) Homepage Journal
    It's probably a bug that once exposed to humanity will wipe it out.

    all but the 5th planet are yours, oh, you might want to avoid that nasty 4th planet, too..

  • Fantastic! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cephyn ( 461066 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:50PM (#10299281) Homepage
    It's really awesome, and really amazing, that as we study Mars more, the evidence suggests more and more that life is possible. In other words, the body of evidence isn't ruling life out even as we gather more evidence. It's STILL premature to assume this is life-generated, but its another awesome piece of support for the increased possibility of life.
    • It's actually really awsome to notice how scientist's rabid speculation and extrapolation from insignificant data can be called "news".

      I mean, really. What is this but saying that they think it is possible (again) that there could be or have been life on Mars at one time? Is life on Mars possible? Sure. Probable? Not really.
      • Re:Fantastic! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cephyn ( 461066 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:12PM (#10299503) Homepage
        the more evidence you gather that can be explained best by life, the more probable it is. Occam's Razor and all that.

        Why do you find this to be insignificant data? It's really interesting regardless of the implications for life...why are the water vapor concentrations highest around the methane concentrations? Any way you look at it, its an important mystery to be solved.
        • Re:Fantastic! (Score:2, Insightful)

          Well in the grand scheme of things, it's really not an important mystery to be solved; at least the cost-benefit ration is skewed. On the other hand, I didn't say it was insignificant.

          I just find it suspect that every discovery coming from the surface of Mars is treated in light of the assumption that life exists/existed there. Talk about trying to prove your own presuppositions. It makes me wonder that if, in the rush to find evidence for life, we might be ignoring other data.
      • Re: Fantastic! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:15PM (#10299532)


        > Is life on Mars possible? Sure. Probable? Not really.

        Could you show us those probability calculations?

        • by XMyth ( 266414 )
          Since when does pure conjecture require calculations?

          Someone forgot to send me the memo.
      • Is life on earth possible? Sure. Probable? Not really. That nasty oxidizing atmosphere must kill most of it.
        • Re:Fantastic! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Trurl's Machine ( 651488 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:48PM (#10300692) Journal
          Is life on earth possible? Sure. Probable? Not really. That nasty oxidizing atmosphere must kill most of it.

          Quite contrary. If I were an alien watching Solar system plantes, I would guess Earth has huge biosphere just by detecting so high concentration of pure oxygene in atmosphere. Oxygene is highly reactive and without biosphere, it would quickly return to CO2 and other oxides - that's how it is on planets with no lifeforms. "If there is Oxygene, something must produce it" - that would be my guess (of course, as an alien I'd say something like "Ghrrbrghrgzzz wzgzhzzzz wzstktsch").
    • Re:Fantastic! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CodeWanker ( 534624 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:04PM (#10299425) Journal
      I read the article. It seems to me that they would get the same results from comet impacts slowly melting/evaporating in the equatorial regions, too.

      I really hope life is there, but nothing short of shipping a bunch of naked apes with petri dishes, nutrients, and microscopes will resolve it.
    • Re:Fantastic! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's really awesome, and really amazing, that as we study Mars more, the evidence suggests more and more that life is possible.

      I guess this is a glass half full/empty kind of thing, because I see the exact oposite. People used to be sure there were men living on Mars. Look at the history of the Martian canals. Even in recent years they've rules out much possible life on Mars. Now they are looking for a few slow growing niche bacteria.

      I still believe there are bacteria on Mars, but we seem to be havi

      • Re:Fantastic! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:29PM (#10300463) Journal
        People used to believe the reason for lunar eclipses was a dragon was swallowing the moon. They'd shoot cannons at the "dragon" to scare it off, and sure enough the moon came back into view. Guess that, in the lack of any better data or means of observation, the conclusion was rather scientific...

        The same goes for the "men" living on Mars idea. You have very limited data, poor observation techniques, and a starved imagination. Result? Wild hypotheses. As data quality improves we can get a better understanding of what's going on, fantasies be damned!
        =Smidge=
    • I share your sense of excited pragmatism. All we have at this point are hints, and a tonne more exploring to do, but it's tremendously exciting to think that we also haven't been able to disprove present life on Mars.

      I don't know about you, but my heart literally starts to race when I think that maybe... MAYBE... we could find evidence of life on another planet in my lifetime. It would boggle the mind.

    • Life on Mars? Absolutely! NASA knows all about it, and has been covering it up since the Viking probe. Read these informative articles: http://www.uncoveror.com/martians.htm http://www.uncoveror.com/mars2.htm http://www.uncoveror.com/zhtitikofft.htm http://www.uncoveror.com/outage.htm
  • Water!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by allden ( 748789 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:51PM (#10299287)
    Why the assumption that life can't evolve without water??
    • Re:Water!! (Score:4, Funny)

      by Trigun ( 685027 ) <{xc.hta.eripmelive} {ta} {live}> on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:53PM (#10299313)
      Stop drinking it and I'll tell you in a week.
    • Re:Water!! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew.thekerrs@ca> on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:55PM (#10299342) Homepage
      This is actually a fairly common viewpoint. And its a common way of limiting your viewpoint based on previous experience. Life must be carbon based, requires oxygen and water to survive. (I think there may be silicon life on earth near deep ocean vents, but I can't remember). Most people do this in there every day lives. Make assumptions based on the experiences they have lived through. Remeber the Earth was flat because it looked that way. The Sun orbits the Earth because it looks that way.
      • Re:Water!! (Score:5, Informative)

        by The Only Druid ( 587299 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:11PM (#10299500)
        I'm pretty postive that there is no verified example of silicon based life. Rather, due to the chemical similarities between carbon and silicon it is speculated that life (as we know it) could have or could in the future evolve based on silicon rather than carbon.

        This is not a limitation of the viewpoint, but rather an acknowledgement of our intrinsically limited conception of life: life which we will recognize as being life must have certain characteristics to differentiate from..."not life", and it those characteristics hinge on certain chemical processes.
        • Re:Water!! (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Charvak ( 97898 )
          In the textbook fo biochemestiry by Lehinger, he asked this question about silcon based life and then answer the question in negative. The reason he gave was that the bonding between silicon and oxygen is very strong and difficult to break.
        • Re:Water!! (Score:5, Informative)

          by brainstyle ( 752879 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:28PM (#10299682)
          Seth Shostak of SETI [seti.org] has an interesting article on the silicon-vs-carbon life thing here. [seti.org] Among other thing, carbon dioxide is a much nicer waste product than silicon dioxide.
        • Re:Water!! (Score:5, Informative)

          by barawn ( 25691 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @04:59PM (#10301447) Homepage
          I'm pretty postive that there is no verified example of silicon based life. Rather, due to the chemical similarities between carbon and silicon it is speculated that life (as we know it) could have or could in the future evolve based on silicon rather than carbon.

          Silicon's unstable on long chains. Carbon is not, as evidenced by proteins, DNA, and other "let's make a molecule out of a few thousand atoms!" gigantic molecules that make chemists hide underneath their blankets shuddering, whimpering about pi bonds.

          OK, OK, that was a bit severe. :) But looking to silicon to replace carbon is a bit silly - carbon will always exceed silicon in abundance by orders of magnitude, as it's one of the end products of the triple-alpha process (hence the reason that CNO are roughly tied for the third-most abundant elements in the Universe, after hydrogen and helium). So silicon-based life will, quite simply, never exist.

          As for why you need water - that's also pretty easy. Water's the simplest strong dipole you can make out of hydrogen, and you need a dipole to make very very weird chemicals like life needs. Ammonia might be possible, but the full dynamics would need to be worked out.
          • carbon will always exceed silicon in abundance by orders of magnitude, as it's one of the end products of the triple-alpha process

            That's true for the universe in general, but that doesn't mean it's always true on every place that could possibly bear life. Let's take the only place we know for certain life exists in, yup, that's Earth. Guess what? Silicon is orders of magnitude more abundant than carbon on/in this ball of rock.

            Earth is basically made of iron, oxygen, silicon (15.2% by mass, that's a lot)
      • (I think there may be silicon life on earth near deep ocean vents, but I can't remember)

        I think you might be watching too much Star Trek TOS.
      • Re:Water!! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bpd1069 ( 57573 )
        I think you mean H2S based life, as opposed to H20 based...

        In any case these worms are proof that you don't have to have water to support life...
      • Re:Water!! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mikael ( 484 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:28PM (#10299687)
        Do a google search on the Horseshoe Crab, which isn't actually a crab, but a 350 million year old ancestor of spiders. It's blood is actually based on copper rather than iron (hemocyanin) and contains a enzyme called limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL) which is used to test all pharmaceutical products for bacteria. No-one yet has been able to create this enzyme synthetically, which means that these critters have to be harvested for their blood (around $15000 per vial).
      • Re:Water!! (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Life must be carbon based, requires oxygen and water to survive.

        There wasn't any free oxygen until the plants made it. They count as life by the way.

      • Re:Water!! (Score:3, Informative)

        by lawpoop ( 604919 )
        IIRC, the big discovery about life near ocean vents was that they got their energy from metabolizing the nasty (read, highly reactive) checmicals that spew out of the vents, rather than make energy through photosynthesis, or eating other organisms.
      • So far, no Silicon life found, but that is probably due to the weakness of the Silicon bond. OTH, there are plenty of anarobic life all over the planet. But lake of H2O? Not yet.
      • Re:Water!! (Score:3, Informative)

        by wass ( 72082 )
        I think there may be silicon life on earth near deep ocean vents, but I can't remember

        Close. scientists used to say light was essential for life to develop, but then found life forms in deep ocean vents that had a modified photosynthesis chemistry based on heated sulphur, instead of light, stimulating the construction of sugars.

        I have alot of problems when scientists claim carbon or water is essential for life. What they should claim instead is that carbon or water is essential for life as know it.

      • It's extremely difficult to come up with any other chemisty that could support life that isn't carbon-based. Carbon's ability to create a near infinite variety of different compounds, and in particular complex macromolecular structures, isn't found with any other element or combination of elements. Silicon doesn't come anywhere close.

        Water OTOH might be more open to negotiation. It's difficult to concieve of life without some form of polar solvent cycle, but ammonia might substitute. Slightly more out
    • Re:Water!! (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tribbin ( 565963 )
      Because the creature would scratch itself to death because it can not stand the ache caused by skin dehydration.
    • Re:Water!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:58PM (#10299368) Journal
      Noone assumed life can't evolve without water.

      It's just that life as we know it evolved with water.

      The only type of life we could hope to positively detect and identify would be life as we know it.

      It's possible there's life made out of magical moonbeams and fairy farts but unless you've engineered a gizmometer to test for it, it's hopeless.
    • Re:Water!! (Score:5, Informative)

      by jericho4.0 ( 565125 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:05PM (#10299438)
      This page [physics.hku.hk] has a look at some of the reasons why. Basicly, no (known) combonation of a common element, a solvent, and temperature range display the chemical flexibility of H20 + C + (0 - 100 degrees).

      Of course, life could probably exist in a totally different paradigm, but it's kind of hard to design space probes or experiments to test for the unknown.

      • I had a biology teacher that once speculated that aside from chemical concerns, environments with pools of liquid made up of something that did not float when frozen would present a nearly impossible environment in which to grow, because if the crystals sank, then a pool could end up freezing anything that grew in the bottom of it, rather than providing the insulating environment that ice and other similar floating-when-frozen materials do.
      • Yey Bro. It sure is an interesting chemical. SO interesting in fact that if you go look in a serious university library you'll find a shelf + of books just called "water".

        We don't understand why. Both O and H are pretty common, but H2O is darned weird. So darned weird
        I'd guess we'll *still* be writing books about it
        1000 years from now.

        I like the stuff myself (from a distance). My Cretan
        friend here Manolis loves it and insists on risking his life on a yacht. Personally I'm too damn scared. You can never d
    • Re:Water!! (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by eggstasy ( 458692 )
      If you studied some chemistry and biology you might get a clue.
      Chemistry tells us that carbon and water are very special substances, exhibiting many properties that I am too lazy to bore you with.
      Evolutionary biology tells us that "nature", if you'll excuse the personification, pretty much tries all possibilities at random and selects the ones that work.
      And, like the other guy said, we can only build sensors for things we know very well.
  • Tens of centimeters? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew.thekerrs@ca> on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:52PM (#10299298) Homepage
    They used the phrases "tens of centimeters" and "tens of degrees celsius". I really hate these terms, especially in what should be a scientific article. This could mean anywhere from 20-100 (or more) which is a pretty broad range. Would it be so difficult to say 20-50 (or whatever the measurements are) which would give a much more accurate picture?
    • "They used the phrases "tens of centimeters" and "tens of degrees celsius"."

      What they've done there is given you the order of magnitude for the measurements. Letting you know that it's in "tens of centimeters" is very accurate since you now know it's not picometers or kilometers. You now know the proper exponent to use in scientific notation.

      <SARCASM SLANT="anti-metrication">
      Of course, now the question is "Why 'tens of centimeters' instead of 'decimeters' and why 'tens of degrees Celcius' instead
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:53PM (#10299307)
    Where the hell do the Martians come from?
  • by physicsphairy ( 720718 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:53PM (#10299316) Homepage
    Put life on mars.
  • afterlife (Score:5, Funny)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:53PM (#10299318) Homepage Journal
    Vampires don't breathe, and they're teeming beneath the dried-blood surface of Mars. Those telltale methane/water signals must be more residue from the victims from which the iron-rich surface powder was derived, shielding the biters from the rays of the Sun.
  • hrm. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by anzha ( 138288 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:55PM (#10299330) Homepage Journal

    It just seems that there are some spots that might be a little warmer than others, or so goes the hypothesis as I understand it, from geothermal sources. It seems like a little bit of a stretch to link it directly with life on Mars. Perhaps this gives some ideas where to look for life on Mars, but the article itself doesn't seem to make much in the way for claims about Martian life.

    Am I reading this wrong?

    If I am not, does every discovery about Mars need to really be linked to life for it to be fascinating? Or does the press feel that's the need these days?

    • What makes this news interesting, life or not, is that it appears to be indicative of some sort of geothermal activity. Mars is thought to be a frozen solid planet, no liquid core, no mantle, etc, just a rock. Geothermal, or in this case, Areothermal activity would shift a lot of current thought on mars.
    • Am I reading this wrong?

      If I am not, does every discovery about Mars need to really be linked to life for it to be fascinating? Or does the press feel that's the need these days?


      Well, to the averge joe, it is much more interesting than stories about the latest geological formation. Really, I hate to break it to you, but no many everyday people care much about the "changes in our understanding of Martian history" that these probes are creating.

      Life is cool.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:55PM (#10299335)
    The martians have your rover in a containment unit that makes you humans think that you're exploring their world!

  • ObQuotes (Score:3, Funny)

    by YetAnotherName ( 168064 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:55PM (#10299343) Homepage
    • I for one welcome our new Martian overlords.
    • Methane? See, overfarming of cattle on Mars is what wiped them out and the same thing is happen here!
    • All your Mars are belong to us.
    • Martian business plan
      1. Advertise life-supporting real estate
      2. ???
      3. Profit!
    • Don't we have a Starbucks on Mars already?
    • Where's the Cowboy Neal option?
  • Of Course (Score:4, Funny)

    by bluewee ( 677282 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:56PM (#10299353)
    the Wong's have all those herds. Of course they have methane and ammonia. Duh.
  • by Prince Vegeta SSJ4 ( 718736 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:57PM (#10299355)
    Found on Uranus. Especially after drinking a few too many Beers and eating some mexican food.
  • by maunleon ( 172815 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:58PM (#10299364)
    I do wonder if and when it is decided that mars could support life but no life exists, wouldn't it make a damn cool experiment to start planting life there? Could start with some sort of simple plant life (algae?) that would help prime the atmosphere for higher life forms. They may need to be genetically altered to survive in the environment.

    And if Mars does turn out to have some sort of life, could we do it on the next candidate that matches the requirements? Europa maybe? That in fact may be an even better candidate because there is less chance of indigenous life making it to earth (by hitching a ride on a rock after a meteor impact). That is, until they develop space flight. ;)

    The only bad thing would be that I wouldn't be around to see the end results of the experiment.

    • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:18PM (#10299563) Homepage Journal
      I'd just as soon leave it alone. We don't encounter new planets every day, and I'd really hate to have future generations say, "If only they'd left it alone rather than screwed it up." History is full of well-meaning scientists who didn't understand what they were doing and therefore lost valuable information. How many artifacts have been cut open or broken before we had X-rays and CAT scans?

      Humanity will be around for a long, long time. There will be plenty of opportunities to seed Mars with whatever we want, but only one chance to see the untouched Mars and perform experiments we haven't yet conceived.
      • Oh, sure....

        And myabe Columbus should have waited for super-sized ocean liners before crossing the Atlantic.

        We have to start somewhere, might as well be now. (But lets be careful not to cut EVERYTHING open, or dig up EVERY site, since there's a probability of 1 that there will be a better way of doing later.)

        • Breeding life on Mars has the tendency to affect the entire planet all at once. The poster was talking about changing the entire atmosphere, which will weather the rocks differently and change the chemistry at least meters if not kilometers down. That will make it hard to determine, for example, if there ever was life. I'd kinda like to spend a few centuries examining the planet in its pristine state first.

          I don't think Columbus should have waited before crossing the Atlantic, but I'd have preferred it
  • by kippy ( 416183 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:59PM (#10299372)
    I didn't RTFA so please mod me down if this was already addressed.

    I thought that the probe was just able to discern hydrogen. Since water and methane are both hydrogen rich, couldn't it be mistaking one for the other?
    • They are looking at the stretching vibrations of hydrogen attached to oxygen and carbon. These vibrational frequencies are pretty distinct in the infrared reqion due to the differing masses of carbon and oxygen, and also changes in electron density in the bond.
  • Wooo! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Klowner ( 145731 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:01PM (#10299394) Homepage
    Little farty green men!

    We should capture them as use them as fuel
  • by Artie_Effim ( 700781 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:02PM (#10299408)
    Noted scientist Marvin, native to Mars, had disclosed his observations concerning the 3rd planet from the Sun. From his latest discourse "... ohhh, you are making me very angry.." Critics agree, he is green with envy and possibly has access to a BFG. One warns "... be on the lookout for a 'flying saucer' type craft in the Earth's moon's orbit..." and suggests getting some local wildlife, perhaps a rabbit, to meet the threat. Stay tuned for details.
  • by bluewee ( 677282 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:03PM (#10299418)
    If NASA were to say collect some of the water vapor, bottle it, and get it back here, then they would have no need for goverment funding...
  • I don't know. I'm stil not sold. I wanna see some physical evidence. Bones, fossils, physical junk that can be hauled back to DC, put on display at the Smithsonian Museum, and drooled on by elementary school students.

    Hypothesizing over gases and trace h20 evidence, and similar will not get me interested. Just like I told the church, faith won't get me there alone, I wanna see something.
  • water vapour and methane in the atmosphere

    Nah, that's just residue from the Uranium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator....
  • atmosphere (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:19PM (#10299570)
    The only problem with terraforming mars is the lack of magnetic field and its weak gravity. The weak gravity allows the atmosphere to escape http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~soper/Mars/atmosphere.htm l [uoregon.edu] and the lack of magnetic field allows the solar wind to blow the rest of the atmosphere away. http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast31jan_1 .htm [nasa.gov] So, we could make it fit for human habitation, but we would have to continually replenish the atmosphere making it uneconomical.
  • OK, but I want O2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fallen Andy ( 795676 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:25PM (#10299644)
    Yeah. If we see the sig of *both* methane and
    oxygen then its pretty much a nobrainer there's
    life.

    Methane on it's own, given mars' current atmosphere
    composition is just a teaser. Annnoying, real sexy, but geologic processes could be responsible.

    I hope we see lots more surprises. Heck. we are just
    starting to play with this place. Its one big planet even though it looks small and I for one pray that no
    nasty stupid monkey hobnail boots it before we get
    to do serious science...
  • by solarlux ( 610904 ) <noplasma.yahoo@com> on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:35PM (#10299759)
    If there is indeed life on Mars, and a future sample retrieval mission obtains a sample, AND the replicating mechanism of that sample is NOT RNA/DNA (but perhaps, a more primitive form of it), would that be enough to convince significant numbers of creationists of evolution? The body of evidence keeps growing -- there's gotta be a point somewhere when the argument is as straight-forward as round Earth -vs- flat Earth.

    (Of course, one might say we're already at that point, but we also don't have Ph.D. scientists from Berkeley and the like advocating a flat earth...)
    • I don't think you can ever convince them. From most of what I've seen, they aren't looking for an honest evaluation of the ideas, but are just out to support they viewpoint they already hold.

      Leaving the origin of life aside for now, I would say the evidence for divergence of species from a common ancestor is pretty good, yet people still refuse to accept the theory. IMO, what would be really nice is an experiment where we keep a population of well-understood organisms (both morphologically and genetically,

      • Man, I was worried for a second there glancing at that FAQ, until I got here:

        "19. What is the "Springfield Effect"?

        The Springfield Effect is the name given to the phenomenon by which every place named Springfield is hard-linked in hyperspace to every other place of this name. In other words, there is only one place named Springfield, but it is "linked" to various locations in the world."

        Sadly, creationist FAQs [aol.com] aren't quite so amusing. (Well, okay, there's this one [antievolution.org].)

      • If there is indeed life on Mars, and a future sample retrieval mission obtains a sample, AND the replicating mechanism of that sample is NOT RNA/DNA (but perhaps, a more primitive form of it), would that be enough to convince significant numbers of creationists of evolution?

      Thanks for a great question - allow me to jump into the fray.

      <DISCLAIMER>Okay, first of all, let me offer a caveat: I'm a creationist, but I don't believe that evolution is impossible: I just don't believe that God chose to u

      • This is so funny I couldn't leave it unremarked:

        I'm a logical Christian - I believe that the very definition of "god" implies infinite ability - and I don't believe it's my place to artificially limit His ability simply because it's too difficult to comprehend.

        having just disclaimed ...

        I just don't believe that God chose to use evolution to create man. More specifically, the Bible says God created Man - it doesn't say HOW, but since it says He created us "in His image", I don't believe that leaves much r

  • by halivar ( 535827 ) <bfelger&gmail,com> on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:38PM (#10299797)
    ...and hence we will never be able to do anything useful with the place.
  • by RumorControl ( 82735 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:53PM (#10299973)
    There is already evidence of life in extreme conditions on earth. Our biosphere extends [ed.ac.uk] from as deep [cornell.edu]as we can measure to space [scienceagogo.com]. There is evidence that life can sustain radiation [microbe.org]that would kill a city.

    To look at a rock in space and say, " I doubt there is life there" is to ignore the fact that we have yet to find a place where life can't exist (maybe the sun...). In essence, if there is energy, then there exists the potential for something to exploit that energy. And more often the not, something does.

    The question should be "What is living on this rock, and why can't I find it?"

  • That we sent up there in the Mars Polar Seeder are doing well?

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