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Would the significance be the same?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by JesusC, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. I was thinking about this earlier after watching a few specials on space exploration. Maybe this has already been done, maybe its already been thought of, I dont really know...

    I know we have sent rovers to mars in search of many things, the most important of which would be alien life forms. Obviously, discovering life on another planet would be the greatest discovery of mankind.

    Heres my question: What if we sent simple life forms along with these rovers, not only to mars, but to other celestial bodies as well. What if these rovers could somehow release these simple life forms into the enviornment around them and see what happens. The rovers could study them and send back information about the condition of the life forms over a certain period of time.

    Now to the main question:

    IF (and I know its a stretch) some of these simple life forms were able to adapt somehow and continue to live, would the significance be as great as finding alien life on another planet?

    If nothing else, it seems like it would be very interesting to see how earthly life forms interact with an alien enviornment, no?
     
  2. Interesting idea. I wouldn't be surprised if NASA has already tried this. I'm going to post on a science message board I frequent and ask.
     
  3. Haha thats crazy, my buddy and i were just talking about this not even a week ago in astronomy class....

    I personally think SOME of the life forms we sent might survive, possibly on mars, or neptune maybe.......but even then it wouldn't be as significant as finding one, since we put it there it's not natural for it to be there......
     



  4. Personally, I think it would be just as significant...if not more.

    As ive said before, finding life on another planet would be mankinds greatest discovery....

    ...but finding out that life froms from earth can survive and adapt on another planet would be makinds greatest asset. That, in my opinion, is far more significant to mankind.
     
  5. that'd be a bad idea just based on knowing about introducing foreign species to environments on earth and what does to the ecology. Think about the cane toad in Australia or diseases spread from the old world to the new. what if what we bring there thrives and over takes any native life that may exist? plus, from that day forth, any experiment based on that planetary body with my marred by the fact its no longer pristine. no more conclusive results. ethically and scientifically it'd be wrong.

    but to answer the main question. no it wouldn't be as significant. living organisms are meant to adapt.
     
  6. different significance, qualitively. we already know life forms can exist in all sorts of stranger conditions that we are comonly familiar with. we already know there are nebula sized clouds of organic material in space. we already know there are lifeforms with different element bases (silicon instead of carbon). we already know life can exist on the inside of nuclear reactors. we already know life can re-ignite itself and prolong itself for so long in dormant states (some sea creatures have a sleep cycle of 30,000 years!).

    putting life somewhere to see if it will survive doesnt have significance because we'd be discovering anything about the probability of life elsewhere. it would have significance because of its symbolism, of relocation, collonialisation by transporting another, of being transported by another. the perceptual & cultural shifts that would encourage....
     

  7. So you dont think its significant (scientifically) that life froms from earth can adapt and survive on another planet. You feel the significance would only be a symbolic one?
     
  8. Carl Sagan did a little test like this with his students, he recreated on a small scale the things on mars in terms of air and soil, etc. Then he put some little microorganisms in the "mini-mars" so to speak. He found that they all died. Then he added a new variable: water. Most of the organisms died but some were able to hide under rocks around water and survive.

    The reality of the situation though can be problematic. Although if we find any viable means of water from the polar caps as we know on earth then there is hope.

    OP, not sure if you're aware of the mars rover launched just last week. It will be arriving on mars in may. Onboard the rover are 6 "ovens" so to speak. The rover is going to go investigate the polar icecaps, take some sample ice and soil samples, mix it together in the oven, heat it and see if they find any remnants of microorganisms or substances like oxygen.

    If they find oxygen in the rocks it would be fantastic. Currently we don't have any viable realistic ways to extract oxygen from rocks but what some scientists have done with moon rocks is taken moon dust (a lot of which has oxygen), thrown them in a nuclear reactor, added some hydrogen and...actually created water with moon dust and hydrogen. If it is the case on mars that there is oxygen in the rocks it makes sense to me that when we set up eventual colonization (hopefully) rather than transport massive quantities of water, that we can instead just use what is already on mars.
     

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