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Microbes Alive After Being Frozen for 32,000 Years

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the stasis dept.

Science 527

An anonymous reader writes "LiveScience is reporting on a new type of bacteria that after being frozen 32,000 years in the Arctic was ready to swim, eat and multiply instantly upon being thawed. Researchers are excited because they're the sort of microbes that might thrive in the ice sea announced on Mars yesterday. The instant revival abilities mean a future mission, if it found anything on Mars, could conceivably culture it and bring it back alive. Maybe NASA could market them as Martian Sea Monkeys."

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We're all dead!! (5, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762763)

Hasn't anyone ever read Andromeda?? Don't thaw them out!!

Re:We're all dead!! (1)

g0dsp33d (849253) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762807)

Or war of the worlds. I for one hope theres no life on mars untill we get there.

cane toads (4, Insightful)

oo_waratah (699830) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762820)

Sounded like a good idea at the time is now a major problem.

Don't bring them back!

Re:We're all dead!! (5, Funny)

Mr. Capris (839522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762869)

Don't worry, by the third mutation or so it stops killing you and only erodes rubber...although it could go back any time now...

Re:We're all dead!! (1, Funny)

SafteyMan (860733) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763036)

Why do you have to be so negative? What if the mars bacteria gave super powers? Now that would be sweet!

First thing the microbes did upon waking up... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11763145)

take a really long piss.

Re:We're all dead!! (1)

spectre_240sx (720999) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763161)

No doubt, killer microbes from mars is all we need to deal with right now.

Mmm... microbe babes! (5, Funny)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762764)

"bacteria that after being frozen 32,000 years in the Arctic was ready to swim, eat and multiply instantly upon being thawed.

Wouldn't you be ready to eat and, uh, multiply if you had been without for 32,000 years?

Fark headline? (4, Funny)

Renraku (518261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762765)

I can imagine the fark headline in a few years.

NASA scientists market Martian microbes as 'Martian sea monkies'. Hilarity ensues.

Re:Fark headline? (5, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762805)

I think the notorious "What could possibly go wrong?" tagline might be more appropriate :)

Hare-way to the Fark! (1, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762878)

> I can imagine the fark headline in a few years.
>
>NASA scientists market Martian microbes as 'Martian sea monkies'. Hilarity ensues.

Dehydrated martians? Yeah, I can work with that.

Audioedit: This bunny yelling " Run for the hills, folks! Or you'll be up to your armpits in Martians! [barbneal.com] "

K-9 wants steak?

Re:Fark headline? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11763053)

What the fark is fark? On second thought, nevermind--I don't care.

Re:Fark headline? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11763249)

It's not news.

Re:Fark headline? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11763283)

It's not news for geeks. It's slashdot!

/knew this thread was a trap
//and with that, the merger is complete.

OMG HAXOR3D BY P1G5!1!!!!one!!ELEVEN!

Re:Fark headline? (1)

Mr.Progressive (812475) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763089)

at least one of the comments will include the acronym UMIA

Hmm,... (3, Interesting)

Fjornir (516960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762767)

Researchers are excited because they're the sort of microbes that might thrive in the ice sea announced on Mars yesterday Yeah, if the likely problems of salt in the martian see can be solved for these critters, maybe.

See? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11763011)

There are Catholics on Mars?

Re:Hmm,... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11763111)

Yeah, because nothing (like fish, or anything) can live in salty water.

What? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11762768)

The number of years isn't rounded to 32,768? And you call this a geek site?

Re:What? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11763092)

And you call this a geek site?

Slashdot: News for Nerds

Didn't I see this.... (1, Funny)

MuckSavage (658302) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762769)

....in a bad sci-fi movie? Now I guess we're all screwed.

Smart move, Scientists!

well then - let's get that out of the way ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11762772)

I - for one - welcome our new frozen Microbes overlords...

No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11762773)

This is obviously not true because the endospores created by the bacteria have a shelf-life of about ten thousand years before they are rendered 'dead', which is exactly what should of happened here. Hence, this is a made up story, thanks for reporting it too us.

Re:No! (0)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763047)

Hence, this is a made up story

Any references?

Uh-oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11762774)

Little Billy pours a packet into a little acquarium only to have something out of Species in his bedroom the next morning.

Well. I'd buy it.

Re:Uh-oh. (1, Funny)

electricsheep7 (794184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763133)

Natasha Henstridge? I'd buy it too!

I, for one,... (5, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762775)

welcome our new Martian bacterial overlords!

But seriously, discovering unicellular life on Mars would be the greatest scientific discovery of the last 200 years, and if it's there, we could do it very cheaply with an uncrewed sample return mission, using present-day technology. It's too bad that the average taxpayer thinks germs from another planet just don't sound very interesting.

Re:I, for one,... (4, Insightful)

syphax (189065) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762831)


But seriously, discovering unicellular life on Mars would be the greatest scientific discovery of the last 200 years.


I suppose it depends how you define scientific discovery, but I'll stick with, I don't know, let's say the general theory of relativity. That theory (I'd call it a discovery) has pretty profound implications about the nature of our universe. On the other hand, Mars is just the next rock over; I wouldn't find it all that shocking if life were found there (although it would certainly raise some interesting questions).

Re:I, for one,... (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762890)

"...I wouldn't find it all that shocking if life were found there (although it would certainly raise some interesting questions)."

You're probably not a religious fundamentalist either. Remember, the vast majority of the religions on the planet make Earth out to be something special in "all of God's work", and challenging that with something like, "Life has come to be elsewhere without spawning from Earth" would be a real problem for many religions, assuming that the message about life spawning managed to reach the people in these congregations.

If religious leaders condemn it they could advocate open violence against anyone spreading the knowledge or believing it. Since there are a LOT of people who fall into the Fundamentalist category or are influenced by them this could have really nasty ramifications.

Most people can't handle a major change in their world view.

Re:I, for one,... (2, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762943)

Most people are idiots.

And I have proof: Look at human history.

Re:I, for one,... (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762945)

To hell with religion, the impact on the life sciences is what we're talking about. The effect of having a completely different organism to study would be phenomonal. Of course, if it turns out that earth was seeded by metorites thrown up from mars (or visa-versa) the effect will not be so great. Of course, now that I mention that I've given the religous a way to save their creationist theories.

Re:I, for one,... (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763105)

Of course, if it turns out that earth was seeded by metorites thrown up from mars (or visa-versa) the effect will not be so great

What would be great is if both planets were seeded with life from another star system. I don't know how that could be proved though.

Could you handle it? (2, Interesting)

r00t (33219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763114)

Suppose that, in a rather obviously impressive way, God descended from Heaven. Suppose he drops by your place and performs a few miracles. Maybe then he beams you down to Hell for a 5-minute tour, either Star Trek style or via the Earth just opening up for a moment...

I sure couldn't handle it, but I know people who could.

Re:Could you handle it? (1)

sevenmonkey (594053) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763233)

That would totally rock.

By the way, if you're into that, you might want to fill out one of these:

http://www.raptureletters.com/ [raptureletters.com]

Problems for religion (4, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763184)

Generally religions tend to get round such things in time (though not without much wailing and gnashing of teeth).

Most of them will probably be happy accepting that it is "our kind of life" that is the special thing and that the existance of microbes etc elsewhere doesn't diminish how special us higher beings are. After all, most of them don't seem to like the thought that we and simpler organisms have common origins anyway.

Re:I, for one,... (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763265)

I'm pretty sure the Bible isn't totally specific about life on other planets. But yeah, it does seem to strongly suggest there isn't. Also, micro-organisms and beings like humans are two different things. Personally, I don't really see what purpose projects like SETI have. If we get broadcasts, how would we understand them? And if we did understand them, what could we do about it? Distances are too long.

blind eye (3, Insightful)

DreadSpoon (653424) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763269)

Why is it that religious leaders can always incite their zealot followers to violence against those who are different, but they can never incite their zealot followers to embrace the tranquillity, harmony, sanctity of life, forgiveness, mercy, tolerance, and passiveness that pretty much all of the major religions are based on?

I've never believed religion to be anything more than a crutch. It's a crutch for the immoral to have a reason to stay moral, just like law and prosecution are reasons for the criminally-minded to avoid crime. It's too bad that the crutch can be used both ways, and can facilitate the very thing the crutch was invented to stop.

Behold, mankind.

Re:blind eye (0)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763286)

God is dead. Neitszche
Neitszche is dead. God

Re:I, for one,... (5, Insightful)

rhizome (115711) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762876)

>But seriously, discovering unicellular life on Mars would be the
>greatest scientific discovery of the last 200 years

I think it's impact would be much greater on the theological world than the scientific.

Theological Impact (1)

BioCS.Nerd (847372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762983)

I'm not exactly a religious person, but as the parent wondered, I too was curious how the discovery of life elsewhere beyond our planet would affect the more religious of our /. kindred? Would this challenge your faith, or do you see life elsewhere as sort of inconsequential?

IMHO, the impact of the discovery isn't much different than when people were discovered to live in the "new world" (read: the Americas, numerous then unheard of peoples in the Pacific, and elsewhere), who would have been totally absent from any of the on-goings of the "olde world" religions.

[Note: To those who entertain my question, it isn't my intent to start a flame war as I'm genuinely curious. This topic has long been a curiosity for me]

Re:Theological Impact (0)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763132)

Marklar?

Re:Theological Impact (2, Interesting)

creysoft (856713) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763151)

As a former fundie Creationist nut turned atheist, I can say that they WILL have an answer for it. Creationists tend to come up with very convincing arguments, and - for what it's worth - I'm still not satisfied with the Big Bang, or the theory of evolution, despite the fact that I've rejected creationism.

How I would have viewed it is that the Bible never says that God ONLY created life on Earth. The Bible says the Christ *died for teh sins* of humans, which the Bible implies are only on Earth. In other words, until we find sentient life on other planets, the Christians won't really have to change their tune much.

I want 19 years of my life back...

Re:Theological Impact (0, Offtopic)

creysoft (856713) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763174)

By the way, I should clarify that by "fundie Creationist nut," I was referring to my view of my former self. I was fairly vocal about my usually ill-informed opinions. I certainly don't wish to imply that all Creationists are nuts, or apply the blanket term "fundie" to all Christians. I know a lot of very, very good Christian people, and I have a great deal of respect for them.

Re:I, for one,... (2, Interesting)

peccary (161168) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763018)

I don't think it would shake the theological world nearly as much as the discovery of intelligent life in the New World did. Christianity survived that one relatively unscathed, save for the invention of a new sect and a sci-fi TV series. I'm sure that it won't struggle too much with Martian microbes. After all, the Genesis account only says that God created life on Earth, it doesn't rule out the possibility that he might have created life somewhere else as well.

Buddhism, Shinto, Taoism, and Wicca couldn't care less.

Judaism and Islam share the same creation myth as Christianity, but their adherents don't seem to have quite so much invested in it, so I doubt they would blink.

Re:I, for one,... (1)

Mr. Capris (839522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762911)

uncrewed sample return mission

Wouldn't it be funny if Earth viruses on the mission craft destroyed all traces of the bacteria before it got to Earth?
Meanwhile, the scientists stare at each other and say "I coulda swore it was there..."

Re:I, for one,... (2, Interesting)

Shambhu (198415) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763085)

I was wondering the same thing. How clean could you get a lander? You could carry the lander inside the craft proper, in a 'sealed' chamber. The chamber and the lander would have been as sterilized as possible. And then, if the lander was well-equiped enough, you could warm the sample up and study it right on the Martian surface.

Is anyone here qualified to say how clean we could guarantee the lander and its chamber would be? Disregard the technical complexities of the rest of the mission.

Re:I, for one,... (1)

phutureboy (70690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763108)

It's too bad that the average taxpayer thinks germs from another planet just don't sound very interesting.

I personally would prefer that such missions be financed voluntarily by people who do find them interesting and valuable. Ditto for the arts.

Just my 2 cents.

Bla bla bla (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11762776)

First post!

What??? (1)

Dana P'Simer (530866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762778)

Maybe NASA could market them as Martian Sea Monkeys.
And allow them to complete thier plan of terran conquest by infecting your children with thier mind control microbes? I for one will welcome our new Martian Overlords.

Well, so will I (0, Redundant)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762779)

Am sure that if I were to be frozen and reawakened 32,000 years later I'd want to eat, screw and... yeah, that's about it.

Bah.

Re:Well, so will I (0)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762913)

what? you wouldn't want to make some posts on slashdot?

Re:Well, so will I (1)

someguy456 (607900) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763143)

Am sure that if I were to be frozen and reawakened 32,000 years later I'd want to eat, screw and... yeah, that's about it.

I'd probably also do a lot of catching up on /. ...

The step are (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11762780)

1. launch mission to mars
2. obtain and culture bacteria
3. send back to earth
4. ????
5. extermination

Tastes just like chicken they say (1, Funny)

Holy_Obfuscated_Call (858536) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762781)

Yum

strange meaning for "new" (5, Insightful)

muqo (843303) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762792)

LiveScience is reporting on a new type of bacteria that after being frozen 32,000 .... yeah, new... only 32 Kyears...

Re:strange meaning for "new" (1)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763122)

It's kind of like when you buy a "new to you" car. It'll be a year or two old, have around 15,000 miles on it, and have the most annoying radio station ever programmed to all six buttons and the page in the manual that tells how to program the buttons missing. But it's "New to you," so the dealer just drops the "to you" part and calls it new.

tardigrada (5, Interesting)

tardigrades (841826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762799)

tardigrades are way cooler http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrada [wikipedia.org]

Re:tardigrada (2, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763160)

How long can they survive in this natural "near suspended animation"?

Uh oh... (5, Funny)

nebaz (453974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762803)

It's Encino Paramecium

maybe nasa could.. (1)

KingPunk (800195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762815)

market their astronauts as:
Nasa Space Monkeys!

now thats a more interesting concept.

Honest Question (3, Interesting)

mdiep (823946) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762817)

Really, I'm just wondering: how do they know the microbes were frozen for 32 000 years?

--
matt
<insert sig here>

Re:Honest Question (1, Funny)

spune (715782) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762865)

The same way you know you've cooked your ramen for three minutes..?

Re:Honest Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11762916)

I haven't RTFA yet, but I'd bet you it's by how many layers of ice they dug through, and their composition (I think the amount of gas dissolved in it tells them something or other). That's how they figure out arctic climate change from ye olden days anyway.

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. I didn't research it or nothing.

Re:Honest Question (1)

ATN (630862) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763058)

I read the article it doesn't give any detail on dating methods. :) So reading the article won't help much. They might have links to more detailed reports though, I didn't bother to check.

Re:Honest Question (2, Informative)

Mr. Capris (839522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762962)

Prolly by guessing the age of the ice it was found in...based on strata, isotope dating (if possible)

Re:Honest Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11762979)

Carbon dating... maybe? I don't think you can carbon date living anim... excuse me, bacteria, but maybe the ice around them?

32.000 years... Do you have any idea how scary that'd be if you suddenly fell asleep and woke up shivering your buns off and needing food and sex 32,000 years later!?

It'd be like every morning here when the heater breaks, but only 32,000 years later.

-rico

Re:Honest Question (3, Informative)

pronobozo (794672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763061)

Doesn't say in the article how they knew but I do know that in some instances, they track the layers in ice/snow from each years snow fall.

They can find out a lot of information because water and pollutants can travel all around the world and deposit in them.

I've also read about microbes being able to do the same thing.

As for this instance... well... google it.

Ed wood wants out of his grave to direct... (1, Funny)

blankoboy (719577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762823)

queue asstastic Sci-fi ripoff movie in 3...2...1...

Martian Life... (4, Interesting)

Kr3m3Puff (413047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762858)

I wonder though, which Star Trek and other series sort of gloss over, is that if Martian bacteria did develop, seperate from ourselves, we would probablly lack any auto immune response to be able to combat them. We are the product a millions and billions of years of fighting other life forms for our existence. It would be naive of us to assume that other lifeforms out there would fundementally eat us for lunch, and the reverse being true.

On the other hand, maybe the right of universe is made up of right handed Amino Acids [nasa.gov] and we will be safe...

Re:Martian Life... (1)

detritus` (32392) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763071)

You also have to remember that our basic needs arent so far from the bacteria/virii/etc that we are fighting (or hosting) as we came from a common ancestor (no creation vs. evolution debate please). As such any microbes from a distant planet would not have said common ancestor and would most likely have different needs/enzymes/etc. and would probably not pose any threat to us. Of course the theory of space spores (bacterial spores ejected into space by meteors, dont laugh its probably true.) could mean these bugs might have a chance at totally decimating us, or our immune system will recognize them instantly and destroy them before they have a chance to do any damage. But overall the whole foreign microbe plague (and war of worlds deal too) is very highly unlikely

Re:Martian Life... (2, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763084)

Wow, you sure do make some hair-brained assumptions.

1: Life does exist outside of Earth.
2: Mars has life.
3: Our immune system cannot adapt to (possible) extraterrestrial microbes.
4: The microbes would have the similar makeup of chemistry to interface with Earth Chemistry.

Of course you have an interesting.. You made up plenty of stuff. Lets find some microbes and then make wild-ass guesses.

Re:Martian Life... (2, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763204)

at the same time the martian bacteria would not "know" how to do anything with our biological systems and probably would not find our bodies to be a suitable environment.

Have you *never* seen (4, Funny)

OneArmedMan (606657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762860)

this movie http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084787/ [imdb.com] The Thing.!?

Sometimes its a good idea to leave that frozen stuff the way you found it.

Re:Have you *never* seen (1)

Mr. Capris (839522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762996)

me, i was thinking Andromeda Strain [google.com]

All hype about this but... (-1, Offtopic)

rd4tech (711615) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762872)

unfortunately, the cure for cancer and/or common cold is still not found ;(

Re:All hype about this but... (2, Interesting)

DarkMantle (784415) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763012)

Maybe martian microbes will give us clues towards a cure for these and other illnesses. We haven't had any luck finding cures here.

I'm also confident in my belief that we could find new minerals on mars, or other planets that could be put to good use as well.

Umm... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11762895)

I found this at the bottom of the page: "Look DEEP into the OPENINGS!! Do you see any ELVES or EDSELS ... or a HIGHBALL?? ..."

Goatse, anybody?

tomorrows /. (1)

acklogic (844153) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762947)

entire populations wiped from ancient microbes.

But after a while... (1)

astebbin (836820) | more than 9 years ago | (#11762955)

The so-called Martian "sea-monkeys" would turn out to be no more than an elobarate deception [sea-monkeys.com] consisting of (admittedly Martian) brine shrimp larvae being passed off as something decidedly more cute and consumer friendly.

On one hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11762989)

Yeah I'd like to know it's there. On the other hand, I think I'd like for them to wait on bringing it back until they can confirm the initial six astronauts are not dying and highly infectuous.

On the other hand, who wouldn't like to have a symbiote like Venom from Spiderman? hehehe

we're all gonna die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11763005)

Is our immune system still ready to compbat bacterias of more than 32,000 years ago?

Or are we unleashing a monster? Letting the genie out of the bottle? Something reminds me of "curiosity killed the cat".

Yet Another Reason To Worry About Global Warming (1, Interesting)

sourcery (87455) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763033)

...the melting ice might liberate some long-dormant microbe for which we have no immunity.

Re:Yet Another Reason To Worry About Global Warmin (2, Funny)

KingPunk (800195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763138)

haha, you mean, like aids/hiv? ..how about cancer?

Re:Yet Another Reason To Worry About Global Warmin (1)

CupBeEmpty (720791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763229)

I am not really sure that is a likely scenario. Things that we use to kill bacteria are "highly conserved" genetically. That is because bacterial metabolism is basically the same and has been most likely for a very very long time. Anything that thaws out of 32,000 year old ice will likely be just like normal old today bacteria. We should probably worry more about things like viruses from today or bio-terrorism.

cultured microbes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11763056)

Yea, if these 32000 year old microbes had offspring I can just imagine the lectures they'd have to sit through... "In my day, we were frozen for 32,000 years and did you hear us complaining?"

What are the odds (1)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763086)

that any Martian bacteria would serve as a cure for penicillin?

Re:What are the odds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11763266)

Last time I checked Penicillin was a good thing.............

Its like a movie! (0)

ddent (166525) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763088)

Uh, Jurassic Park?

Re:Its like a movie! (1)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763178)

Except on a teeny, tiny little scale (they are microbes, after all).

32,000 years without coffee (1, Funny)

guided_by_coffee (862216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763095)

...will make for very grumpy awakenings, they're gonna some be pissed-off little buggers, I wouldn't wake 'em up... unless of course you thaw them out in a nice cup o' joe.

Still No Martians (2, Interesting)

Witchblade (9771) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763123)

This is a great discovery, but only for what it tells us about what things were like 32,000 years ago. Everytime something like this is discovered everybody immediately jumps up and down about life on Mars. At this point it's pretty damn clear that life has found ways to survive everywhere on Earth from the highest clouds to somewhere around the planet's core. But it didn't start there. All of these discoveries are the harshest possible environments on Earth- but they're more like the best conditions on Mars. In fact each new discovery makes the odds of finding life on Mars less- if it's so easy to find life in such amazingly cold and barren conditions why have we still found nothing on Mars that isn't, at best, something that isn't easily made by simple geological (areological?) chemical processes? (But also, sometimes, are by-products of living things.)

Then again no one's gotten a chance to really peak under any Martian rocks. Yet...

Why are there so many 5, Funnys? (2, Funny)

ZeeExSixAre (790130) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763187)

It's all 5, Funny until an entire (human) race gets obliterated by Martian bacteria...

what an idea (1)

joNDoty (774185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763206)

"...could conceivably culture it and bring it back alive. Maybe NASA could market them..."

Can you even think of a worse idea???

How to date ice, and bring it home to your mother (3, Informative)

yuckysocks (806608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763213)

The basic way to date ice samples is pretty similar to "endochronology"
(which is looking at tree rings to determine their age). Ice cores [secretsoftheice.org]
have similar striations which can be counted to determine the age of the
surrounding ice.

And I couldn't find a link, but I thought at one point
scientists were looking at the air composition inside the ice and comparing
it to historical atmospheric ratios of gasses to date things.

Reporters on Mars? (0)

msblack (191749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763228)

Researchers are excited because they're the sort of microbes that might thrive in the ice sea announced on Mars yesterday.

When did we send reporters to Mars to get the news?

but we still don't know all bacteria on Earth (2, Insightful)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763234)

we found that bacteria can live after 32000 years in frozen condition and we are considering the possibility of Martian bacteria, but we still don't know all bacteria living on Earth. We explore other planets and we know very little about our own planet. For example, we recently identified three new bacteria species [wikinerds.org] by closely examining publicly available DNA data. It is surprisingly how easily we can look at a DNA sequence and miss vital information in it. All that data were available to all scientists, but just one understood that there were new species footprints hiding in them.

Re:but we still don't know all bacteria on Earth (0)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763259)

Sorry I pressed Submit before finishing my post: This means that we will have great difficulty analysing and understanding Martian bacteria, considering how easily we can miss Earthly bacteria even when their DNA sequence is available at genetic banks where everyone (on the Internet) have access. I wonder how Martian DNA will look like and whether we will be able to decode it.

what would Fry say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11763263)

"What if I never fell into the freezer-doodle and came to the future-jiggy?"

I wonder if the microbes are surprised with how much has changed on Mars since the year -30,000.

Time to find out (0)

beef3k (551086) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763267)

which of the researchers had a bad tuna sandwich for lunch on the day of "discovery"...

When Asked to Comment (0)

the pickle (261584) | more than 9 years ago | (#11763272)

The microbes replied:

"Throw us a fricken bone here. We've been frozen for thirty thousand years!"

p
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