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#26 2014-01-09 18:40:40

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,931

Re: Ice Worms

Sounds like we are arguing, but in reality I think Mars has two faces.  One will allow life to have a chance, one is a brutal killer.

I think that when the poles are more tilted, Mars could allow hardy life.

But I think that when the poles are less tilted, the poles become brutally cold and icy beyond what is now, without a hope of a thaw for exposed ice.
And I think the low lattitudes give up all their ice to the poles and become warmer, but dryer.

I think that life could hybernate (But not motabolize for hundreds of thousands of years or millions of years), and the gentic and other biological damage from radiation, hypersalty aquifers, and hostile chemicals would be far too severe for a ecosystem.  I think it would go entirely extinct before another gentile spell would show up.  So, thats why I now think that Mars is largely or more likely sterile.

The only chance that there could be life I think would be if it was recently transported to some local oasis from the Earth.  For instance Lichen might make it inside of rocks that get a coating of ice from time to time that melts, but I think the probability of life from Earth having been delivered in recent
(Last Million years or so) times is very small.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#27 2015-03-21 15:34:06

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Ice Worms

I can remember attending a lecture on the evolution of life on Earth whilst staying in London.  I was surprised to learn that mono-cellular life existed on Earth for ~3 billion years before multi-cellular organisms developed.  Multi-cellular life is a recent development and was only made possible by the development of a dense oxygen atmosphere.  Once that happened, it took off rapidly, in a huge variety of forms.

This suggests to me that any life found on Mars, extant or extinct, is very unlikely to be multi-cellular.  In three billion years life never found a way of evolving beyond the single cell without a dense oxygen atmosphere on Earth.  Yet mono-cellular life is found in all sorts of inhospitable places, such as 10 miles beneath the surface of the Earth.

The implication seems to be that simple life can thrive under a wide range of less than ideal circumstances and may very well be found on other solar system bodies.  But complex life is rare, requiring a much more narrow set of environmental conditions.  We probably won't be finding it anywhere else in our solar system.

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#28 2015-03-21 15:46:26

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Ice Worms

According to Wiki (not the most reliable source) the Martian crust is much more porous than the Earth's.  This suggests that the water or ice content of the upper crust may be substantially greater than Earth's crust.  If the planet did posses an active hydrosphere, a huge amount of water must have trapped as permafrost or would have filled deep saline aquifers.  In addition, the geo-thermal gradient is shallower than earth's, such that any potential life could survive much deeper beneath the surface than would be possible on Earth.  Maybe it could survive by metabolising sulphur, which is apparently much more abundant on Mars?  If oxidising chemicals are generated on the surface, it would be interesting to speculate on mechanisms by which they could find their way into subsurface saline aquifers.

As an aside, I wonder how much water is trapped within the Martian crust?

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