Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Is There Life on Mars?

Not so excited about the discovery that there is flowing water on Mars. We knew there was water on Mars, we knew the sun shone on Mars. Those two things together make it possible for water to move around. So good stuff, interesting, confirmed some theories but it's not exactly world- or even Mars-shattering.

Knowing there's flowing water means there's a better chance of life on Mars than if we knew there were no flowing water. And what does it mean if there's life - small-scale, bacterial-type - on Mars?

Well, I guess it means there's a better chance of life elsewhere. If two next-door planets have life, then the chances that an earth-sized planet in the Goldilocks zone round a star across the galaxy may have life as well. If it's similar to simple life on Earth, maybe there's a greater chance that the comet-dispersal theory of life is correct. In which case, maybe there's life around every cosmic corner. Maybe some of it would be complex, intelligent, brighter than us, fiercer than us, angrier than us. If we think it it old enough to cover the darkness of space between its home and here, we may have things to worry about.
No running water.... no soup..... 

And what does it tell us about the nature or presence of God?

It tells us this universe is wonderful and mysterious, with surprises and the potential for the generation of life. If you believe in God, it's proof - as if you needed it - that God is creative and endlessly imaginative - and has made a universe of wonder which is yet based on principles so utterly beautiful and simple. If you don't believe in God, stick with the first bit. If you don't believe in God, but you're a bit snarky and you don't think too hard, you may decide it disproves God. I still haven't been able to make that logical jump. There's people on Twitter who have but, like smug maths students, they haven't shown their working. And you know what happens if you don't show your working and you get the final answer wrong, don't you? No marks.


  1. Discover beer on Mars and I might be interested.

  2. I'm told that there is millions of Bacteria living on chocolate bars - Mars?

  3. And if you get the wrong answer, and it's the same wrong answer as one of your fellow-students then you both get investigated for academic malpractice!

    (The same is not true if you both get the right answer.)

  4. If there is life on Mars, don't worry about it - Monsanto will soon get rid of it for us.

  5. As I understand it, they have spotted geological formations which look as if they show traces of the presence of water or some liquid, at some time, but they haven't actually found any of said liquid yet.

    Which reminds me rather of a classic sentence I encountered in a Daily Mail crime report:

    "****shire police said that the car was not lost, but they didn't know where it was exactly".

    Remember the electron micrograph which purported to show the remains of an alien micro-organism? We haven't heard anything about that one for some time. These things tend to come up whenever a funding review is due.

    Sorry, but I'm with Doubting Thomas on this one. "Show me,show me" something that is actually there, not something which might be there if your interpretations of possibilities A-Z are correct.


Drop a thoughtful pebble in the comments bowl