March 13, 2013
Martians ... Men from Mars ... are all part of the things we read about as children. We find references to Martians in films, literature, channelings, art, alien abductions, and perhaps physical evidence found across the landscape of planet Earth and below the surface. Many believe. Others don't. None of it seems important without the physical proof so many of us have long sought.
When you study metaphysics and conspiracy theories, you are told that intelligent life existed on physical Mars in ancient history, moving either below the surface or into ethereal form due to catastrophic events in the past. There are those who believe humans in this timeline can transport to Mars through some sort of 'stargate', setting up colonies below the surface - with or without extraterrestrial intervention. There is allegedly a link between the moon, the gray aliens, Mars, and the creation of humans. From a scientific perspective, any goes. Only the future will bring the truth ... hopefully.
Could Life Have Evolved on Mars Before Earth? Live Science - March 13, 2013
The discovery that ancient Mars could have supported microbes raises the tantalizing possibility that life may have evolved on the Red Planet before it took root on Earth. New observations by NASA's Curiosity rover suggest that microbial life could have survived on Mars in the distant past, when the Red Planet was a warmer and wetter place, scientists announced Tuesday (March 12). It's unclear exactly how long ago Mars' habitability window opened up, researchers said. But the timing may be comparable to that of Earth, where life first appeared around 3.8 billion years ago.
"We're talking about older than 3 billion years ago, and we're probably looking at a situation where, plus or minus a couple hundred million years, it's about the time that we start seeing the first record of life preserved on Earth," Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger, of Caltech in Pasadena, said during a press conference Tuesday.
The Curiosity team's conclusions are based on the rover's study of material collected from the interior of a Martian rock. Last month, Curiosity used its hammering drill to bore 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) into part of a Red Planet outcrop dubbed "John Klein" - deeper than any Mars robot had ever gone before.
Curiosity's analyses show that the John Klein area was once a benign aqueous environment, such as a neutral-pH lake, researchers said. Further, the rover's instruments detected many of the chemical ingredients necessary for life as we know it, including sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon.
Mission scientists aren't claiming that life has ever existed on the Red Planet. They have found no signs of Martian microbes, which is no surprise since the car-size Curiosity rover carries no life-detection instruments among its scientific gear.
But the advanced age of the John Klein deposits does open the door to some interesting speculation. If life ever flourished on Mars - a very big if - did it predate life on Earth? And if so, could Earth life trace its lineage back to Mars?
Some microbes are incredibly hardy, after all, and may be able to survive an interplanetary journey after being blasted off their home world by an asteroid impact. And orbital dynamics show that it's much easier for rocks to travel from Mars to Earth than the other way around.
These are questions scientists and laypeople alike will undoubtedly ask if a future mission ever does find conclusive evidence of life on Mars. But for now, Curiosity will continue rolling through its Gale Crater landing site, helping scientists learn more about the Red Planet and its history. "Mars has written its autobiography in the rocks of Gale Crater, and we've just started deciphering that story," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the agency's headquarters in Washington.
Mars Announcement Raises Question: What Is Life? Live Science - March 13, 2013
NASA officials announced March 12 that ancient Mars could have supported primitive life. But this begs the question: What exactly constitutes life? Merriam-Webster.com defines life as "an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli and reproduction." But there's no single satisfactory definition of life.
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Percival Lowell was a businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death. The choice of the name Pluto and its symbol were partly influenced by his initials PL.
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Giovanni Schiaparelli Google Videos
Giovanni Schiaparelli was an award winning Italian astronomer and science historian. Schiaparelli peered through his telescope one evening in 1877 and discovered what he took to be the Red Planet's famous canals giving rise to waves of hypotheses, speculation, and folklore about the possibility of intelligent life on Mars, the Martians. As it turned out, the canals were an optical illusion, but current research suggests water once flowed on Mars.
Among the most fervent supporters of the artificial-canal hypothesis was the American astronomer Percival Lowell, who spent much of his life trying to prove the existence of intelligent life on the red planet. After Lowell's death in 1916, astronomers developed a consensus against the canal hypothesis, but the popular concept of Martian canals excavated by intelligent Martians remained in the public mind for the first half of the 20th century, and inspired a corpus of works of classic science fiction.
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