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411 comments

Move on NASA! (1, Insightful)

bigwavejas (678602) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400016)

Part of me is tired of this whole "search for life on Mars" saga. What type of life are they talking about? An Amoeba? Oh boy, goodie goodie...Yay!

I'm not flaming, rather frustrated. I mean if we already *know* (or have a strong feeling) there is water/ ice on Mars, then lets get the plans going for a Manned space mission in-the-works. They need to excite the public, not continue the ho-hum exploration for the elusive "Martian Single-Cell Alien." The public wants Buck Rogers or Star Trek, not another Mars rover. Bleh!

Re:Move on NASA! (-1, Flamebait)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400038)

No doubt. Water flowed recently in my back yard (at least until the dog ate the hose) - didn't exactly make the news. BFD.

Re:Move on NASA! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400059)

Fuck the public. They are sheep anyway.

Re:Move on NASA! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400350)

Your pro sheep-fucking stance intrigues me. Where can I read up more on this?

Mod Up Parent (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400070)

NASA employees are trying to bury the god honest truth by down-modding, people want more and deserve more from NASA!

Re:Move on NASA! (5, Insightful)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400074)

I don't think you understand.. if we get non-terrestrial life and it's genetic code, the results will be the biggest discovery of the last 100 yrs (leaving out quantum physics and atomic energy).. for instance.. we get to see if it also has a "handedness" in the formation of its molecules. check this:

" The crucial biomolecules of life - such as amino acids, RNA and DNA - are chiral. In order for these polymeric molecules to replicate themselves, their individual components have to be of one kind, either right- or left-handed.

"It is generally agreed that you need homochirality - either all left-handed or all right-handed - for life to get off the ground," Bonner said. "Therefore, a preponderance of one handedness must have evolved in prebiotic times."

The scientists, however, cannot explain how this happened because they have never succeeded in creating chiral molecules of only one kind in laboratory experiments that simulated prebiotic conditions.

Since chiral molecules are necessary to breed new chiral molecules, how did the first ones come about? "


from http://www.stanford.edu/dept/news/pr/93/930210Arc3 408.html [stanford.edu]

Re:Move on NASA! (0, Offtopic)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400112)

the results will be the biggest discovery of the last 100 yrs (leaving out quantum physics and atomic energy)

And internet pr0n!

Re:Move on NASA! (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400131)

In other words, Scientists hope to find clues to abiogenesis from completely alien life.

Unfortunately, there's a good chance that "life on Mars" is just "life on Earth that migrated to Mars". Many years ago, I remember listening to a scientist who was absolutely certain that we'd find microscopic life on Mars. His reasoning was that with all the ejecta shot into space from Asteroids and other natural phenomena, there *must* be some Earth life that managed to make it to Mars.

Re:Move on NASA! (5, Insightful)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400238)

I think it is more likely that life on Earth originated on Mars that the other way around. Mars cooled faster, and it's easier for ejecta to get from Mars to Earth. Either way, life that has evolved separately for such a long time would be very important scientifically.

Re:Move on NASA! (5, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400267)

there's a good chance that "life on Mars" is just "life on Earth that migrated to Mars"

There is also the possibility that life on Earth is just life that migrated from Mars.

Perhaps at one time the very beginnings of life were on Mars but due to its conditions the life couldn't sustain itself. However, with all the ejecta shot into space from impacts the life found a very comfy and hospitable home here on this blue planet.

Re:Move on NASA! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400158)

I entirely understand, we pay NASA Billions of dollars a year and they give us a broken space shuttle and a couple Mars Rovers?

Re:Move on NASA! (5, Interesting)

colonslashslash (762464) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400196)

if we get non-terrestrial life and it's genetic code, the results will be the biggest discovery of the last 100 yrs (leaving out quantum physics and atomic energy)

I'd say it would be the biggest discovery in recorded history. I'm not trying to belittle the significance of Atomic or Quantum physics, but lets step back and look at this.

If extra-terrestrial life were discovered, on Mars, or elsewhere, and there was solid proof for it, it would change the entire world. Many religious beliefs would be decimated, many scientific theories would be challenged or completely re-written, we would know that we are not alone in the universe, that we are an even more insignificant part of it that we already think we are, and importantly it would give a huge boost to those who want to see space exploration in our future.

It would have a profound effect upon every human on this planet... what could be bigger than answering one of our greatest questions about existance of life in our known universe?

Re:Move on NASA! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400334)

If extra-terrestrial life were discovered, on Mars, or elsewhere, and there was solid proof for it, it would change the entire world. Many religious beliefs would be decimated, many scientific theories would be challenged or completely re-written, we would know that we are not alone in the universe, that we are an even more insignificant part of it that we already think we are, and importantly it would give a huge boost to those who want to see space exploration in our future.

It won't happen. Say, the Earth being the center of the universe was equally central to the early catholic beliefs. When this was convincingly disproven, after first trying to silence its proponents, the catholic church turned a blind eye and moved on. They did the same when Pope John Paull II admitted that evolution was likley correct: "the bible creation sotry just becomes one more mystery of the divine".

Re:Move on NASA! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400364)

Many religious beliefs would be decimated...

I wouldn't count on that. Never underestimate the power of denial. For proof, I point you to the recent bit involving Pat Robertson. Look at how many of his followers are saying that he never said he was for assassinating Hugo Chavez. Nevermind that there is footage of him saying it...

Re:Move on NASA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400365)

THere is an artical about this right now on newscientist.com specifically on how there became to be an over abundence of one type wqvs the other apparently it has to do with a type of radiation taht is found in space, circular light or something (i can't recall the exact term used) but it may explain how this was done.

Re:Move on NASA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400380)

Good point about the chirality but, as a layman, I'd be also interested in how similar the DNA or RNA mechanism is. If molecular evolution is not optimal (just good enough) the genetic code could be mind blowingly, well, mind blowing. It would based on different chemical building blocks with their own mechanisms and rules.

On the other hand, what if it was quite similar? That could suggest that early evolution was very good at hacking an optimal solution with the chemical laws available OR would suggest a common chemical ancestor. How cool would that be?

Re:Move on NASA! (2, Insightful)

wesman83 (700326) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400397)

It wouldnt be the most important discovery in 100 years, more like the greatest discovery in all of human existance. We would know that we are not alone in space, that is one of the most fundemental questions that science and (unfortunately) relgion have attempted to answer.

Despite what i think it's all incredibly subjective anyhow.

Re:Move on NASA! (2, Funny)

NXIL (860839) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400412)

"It is generally agreed that you need homochirality - either all left-handed or all right-handed - for life to get off the ground,"

We are going to Mars to find a bunch of left handed homos?

Hot Mars Lesbian pOrn would be good; it could help pay for the spacefreight on the Mars Bottled Water. (Hey, is that any less dumb than importing it from France?)

Re:Move on NASA! (1, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400426)

That seems like a problem answerable by irreducible complexity, if you discount the assumption that's being made here that homochirality is a necessity for the beginnings of life rather than a convenience. Why is this assumption being made - what justification is there for believing it to be true?

Once self-propagating chemical systems form, they are likely to produce chemicals of the same chirality. Fast-forward a billion years, and the various chemicals that remain naturally occurring on Earth are all of the same chirality, because self-propagating systems have been making more of those, while the other chirality hasn't had the same benefit.

In fact, you could have systems (or organisms) of each chirality coexisting when the building block molecules were found in both chiralities. All it takes is one evolutionary breakthrough in one organism to have its population skyrocket and take up all the resources that the other organisms are trying to use. Better yet, if one organism happens to develop an enzyme for breaking down molecules of the opposite chirality, it easily kills off half the competition.

Re:Move on NASA! (1)

bryan986 (833912) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400079)

I dont see the point of a mission to mars, you would need to live indoors, ship/generate oxygen, ship/generate food, ship/generate water, ship/generate power, etc etc It would be better if we learn how to live on earth first, consuming one planet and moving on to the next is not a good idea, especially when earth is much better and mars is a lot more difficult to live on

Re:Move on NASA! (4, Insightful)

Taevin (850923) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400213)

I dont see the point of a mission to mars, you would need to live indoors, ship/generate oxygen, ship/generate food, ship/generate water, ship/generate power, etc etc

All that is true, but you forget the fact that the necessity for those technologies would spur research and development in those areas. That could mean vastly improved efficiency in how we live on Earth. The problem is motivating people to strive for that goal which also requires moving them past short-sighted views on how we need to "learn how to live on earth first."

Re:Move on NASA! (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400398)

There are many reasons to colonize other planets. Assuming we had the proper technology - to make a small city because frankly someone living in cramped, tight quarters millions of miles from earth will go insane so we need something big. We need to be able to have at least a couple thousand people live there.

The reason to go there:
Research
Resource collection
Improve transporting technology (i.e. in case Earth might get hit by an asteroid, lets get the hell out of here)

There are many benefits. In our current system VERY VERY expensive and so very hard to accomplish. But we should strive. I think it would be good to try a moon based colony. At least, then, if a problem happens, we are only a 12 day journey(i think thats about the time it takes to get to the moon). Mars, however, has better resources then the moon.

Re:Move on NASA! (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400089)

Wow the Mods are in a pissy mood today...Parent [slashdot.org] isn't overrated, but rather a feeling shared by quite a few people

Re:Move on NASA! (2, Insightful)

DaoudaW (533025) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400310)

Parent isn't overrated, but rather a feeling shared by quite a few people

TFA isn't about "shared feelings", it's about interplanetary life and biological science. I read at 3, and don't particularly like to have to sift through comments of people who just don't like the topic. Who's forcing them to read it???

Re:Move on NASA! (2, Interesting)

YoDave (184176) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400135)

Should NASA do science for the sake of advancing knowledge or to make good television? How many truely beneficial, pure science missions must we sacrifice so the public can get a warm fuzzy feeling by watching people see how far they can knock a golf ball on another planet?

Re:Move on NASA! (4, Insightful)

Taevin (850923) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400154)

I'm no expert but wouldn't even a simple amoeba be an important discovery? Assuming it could be proved that it did not come from Earth in some way, at the very least it would prove that life can and does exist elsewhere.

While a manned mission would be nice, I doubt that the public is ready to accept the risk and cost of such a trip, especially given the recent Shuttle problems. I hear people grumble about the amount of money being "wasted" on space as it is. That says to me that unless scientists can give people a strong reason to explore space (e.g. positive discovery of life on Mars), it's unlikely that there will be much support for a manned mission to Mars.

Re:Move on NASA! (1)

startleman (567255) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400186)

Chances of finding this kind of life (e.g. Star Trek) in our own solar system are highly unlikely. However, even finding single cell life somewhere other than here (earth) would answer one of the greatest question of humankind: are we the only life in the universe. If the answer comes back that there is any life elsewhere, it becomes immensely more plauseable that there could be intelligent life out there as well.
As for sending probes etc. to mars, it is currently more cost efficient and safe to do robotic missions. The problems inherent in a human mission to mars are currently not solveable (radiation, prolonged effects of microgravity on the human body, etc).

Re:Move on NASA! (3, Insightful)

Werkhaus (549466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400207)

Part of me is tired of this whole "search for life on Mars" saga. What type of life are they talking about? An Amoeba? Oh boy, goodie goodie...Yay!

Hey, don't knock it. If it wasn't for the humble Thermus Aquaticus and other extremophiles, we wouldn't have half the knowledge of DNA that we do and PCR-based techniques would be impossible. We won't know the uses for Martian bacteria, let alone something as large as whole cells are until we know what mechanisms they employ to survive.

Of course, trying to explain this to your average Monster-Truck Joe is difficult. "Hey look! There's green bug-eyed monsters, but they're real small and squishy!" may be one way...

Change the Channel (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400253)

How long have you been waiting for the biggest news in science since "matter = energy"? If you're that easily frustrated, just watch more TV sports, until those with patience come up with the results for your amusement. If you were in charge, life itself never would have taken the 3.5 billion years to produce you from rudimentary RNA floating around primal Earth seas.

Re:Move on NASA! (10 percenter) (4, Interesting)

gosand (234100) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400257)

Part of me is tired of this whole "search for life on Mars" saga. What type of life are they talking about? An Amoeba? Oh boy, goodie goodie...Yay!

Which part of you, the stupid part or the apathetic part? (I realize this comment may get moderators panties in a bunch, but it had to be said)

I'm not flaming, rather frustrated. I mean if we already *know* (or have a strong feeling) there is water/ ice on Mars, then lets get the plans going for a Manned space mission in-the-works. They need to excite the public, not continue the ho-hum exploration for the elusive "Martian Single-Cell Alien." The public wants Buck Rogers or Star Trek, not another Mars rover. Bleh!

Then why don't you go watch MTV or E! or other drivel that can just barely keep you interested for the entirety of your 2 minute attention span. Yeah, let's not have another Mars rover, one of the most fantastic scientific achievements in space exploration in recent history. I am not even going to go into WHY that was such an amazing feat, it would be lost on you.

Your attitude is part of the problem with this country. I am starting to believe that old myth that some people only use 10% of their brains.

Re:Move on NASA! (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400278)

  1. First off, it is not necessarly the same as life on earth. If different, then it will be one of the bigest discoveries. If it is non-terresterial in nature, than it is confirmation of life through-out the universe.
  2. 2'ndly, if it is terresterial in nature, then it is has still been there a LONG time. It will have evolved. To what? Intelligent life does not require large packages. Nor do they require cities.
  3. How will we protect ourselves once there? Worse, how do we protect ourselves once the astronauts come back? Personally, I still think that we should send ppl on a 1 way mission to Mars. At least for the first 5-10 years.

Re:Move on NASA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400304)

Hey man, I got this buddy who says he can make a warp drive.

Re:Move on NASA! (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400346)

What type of life are they talking about?

The microscopic kind that worm their way through the seals on an astronaut's space suit and feeds off living human flesh.

So yeah... Might be worth checking before leaving the air lock.

How recently? (5, Funny)

Tanjou (83126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400051)

Is this another instance of "recently" meaning "within the last 1,000,000 years?" ...recently is since the last episode of Family Guy.

Re:How recently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400063)

I'd guess recently in geological terms, so maybe a few hundred thousands years.

Re:How recently? (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400084)

You beat me to it, I was going to ask the same question. I hate the use of the word recently to refer things happened more than a million years ago.

Re:How recently? (1)

malchus6 (870609) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400102)

Those are my favorite recently's!!

Always good to use on the significant other!!
"But honey, i recently took out the trash"

Re:How recently? (1)

hobbesx (259250) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400113)

I'd bet that this is closer to Blockbuster New-Release recent.


So.... within ten years? :D

Re:How recently? (2, Interesting)

OnceDark (155468) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400132)

The article states:

The new study suggests water may still bubble to the surface of Mars now and then, flow for a short stretch, then boil away in the thin, cold air.

That would seem to suggest that "recently" may well be right at this moment.

Re:How recently? (4, Insightful)

justforaday (560408) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400171)

As has been said, "recent" is in geologic terms. And plantery scientists are geologists. They don't ask you CS guys to change your terminology to better suit the terms that they think in. Well, maybe they do, but you guys still don't do it...

Re:How recently? (2, Funny)

riptide_dot (759229) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400348)

As has been said, "recent" is in geologic terms.

So when my boss says I'll get a raise "soon", then he too, must be thinking in geologic terms. That would certainly explain a lot - I just thought he didn't want to give me a raise; I didn't consider that we might be using two different timelines...:)

Re:How recently? (0, Redundant)

justforaday (560408) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400389)

Yes, if it involves money (particularly payment to you - raises, refunds, etc), the other person is almost definitely speaking in geologic terms...

Re:How recently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400174)

Are you talking new episode or rerun?

Intelligent Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400366)

The notion of "intelligent design" shaping the process of geology and ultimately life has gained in popularity within the last year. How does "intelligent design" explain the gullies on Mars?

Re:How recently? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400461)

Gasp! I actually read the mini article. I did noticed that the 2 square kilometer area had NO meteor impacts on it. I figure that the only thing that even begins to slow up one of those falling rocks is its own change of mind.

Then I began to wonder, what if Gold, Diamonds, or something else worth picking up off the ground on the surface of Mars; How long would it be before colonization would begin? I guess when its not your money that pays the rent, you can afford to ignore it?

Wow... (-1, Troll)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400055)

Talk about brief article summary. I guess I'm going to have to -- gasp! -- read the article.

Smallest write-up ever? (0, Troll)

Alystair (617164) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400057)

According to Alystair, this has to be the smallest write-up on Slashdot that he has have ever seen.

Re:Smallest write-up ever? (2, Funny)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400115)

No. The smallest one was the empty story on april's fools day. Maybe that one was the only truly funny story that day.

How recent is recent? (0, Redundant)

OnceWas (187243) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400065)

I couldn't find this information in the article. Are they talking last week, year, decade? Or is this geological recent?

Recently? (0, Redundant)

sedyn (880034) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400066)

What time frame would be recent? These are people who frequently use measurements in excess of thousands of years (up to and including billions).

Article Text (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400067)

Water Flowed Recently on Mars, NASA Scientists Say
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 24 August 2005
07:57 pm ET

Small gullies on Mars were carved by water recently and would be prime locations to look for life, NASA scientists said today.

There have been many studies of Martian gullies that concluded water was involved. But most of the features are ancient, or if they seemed modern then there were questions about how the water could stay liquid long enough to do the carving.

Scientists know there is a lot of water ice on Mars, locked up at the poles and beneath the surface elsewhere.

Water is a key ingredient for life as we know it, and other scientists have speculated that life on Mars, if there is any, could lurk just beneath the surface where ice melts in pockets.

A closer look

The new study suggests water may still bubble to the surface of Mars now and then, flow for a short stretch, then boil away in the thin, cold air.

The conclusion is based on computer modeling of the atmosphere and how water would behave.

"The gullies may be sites of near-surface water on present-day Mars and should be considered as prime astrobiological target sites for future exploration," said Jennifer Heldmann, the lead researcher from NASA's Ames Research Center. "The gully sites may also be of prime importance for human exploration of Mars because they may represent locations of relatively near surface liquid water, which can be accessed by crews drilling on the red planet."

Any potential long-term human presence on Mars would require a water source, both for drinking and to be broken down into hydrogen as fuel for return flights.

The claim that water carved the gullies is based on the shape and size of features spotted by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor.

Short gullies

"If liquid water pops out onto Mars' surface, it can create short gullies about 550-yards (500-meters) long," Heldmann said in a statement. "We find that the short length of the gully features implies they did form under conditions similar to those on present-day Mars, with simultaneous freezing and rapid evaporation of nearly pure liquid water."

Some of the gullies taper off into very small debris fields or leave no debris at all. That implies the water rapidly froze or evaporated.

Given the low air pressure on Mars, water would boil in a flash, the researchers say, so it is doubtful that ice accumulates in the gullies.

The findings will be presented next month at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences in Cambridge, England.

Obligatory (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400071)

NASA Game Plan (-1, Flamebait)

Penguin Programmer (241752) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400091)

1) Have shuttle missions.
2) Fuck up shuttle missions.
3) "Discover" stuff on Mars so people think they're useful again.
4) ???
5) Profit!

Re:NASA Game Plan (1)

parasonic (699907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400119)

4. Send tourists to Mars for number 5's sake. Heck, if there's water on Mars, no better place to put a ski resort.

in other news... (0, Redundant)

justforaday (560408) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400122)

In other news, scientists have announced that they've discovered what appear to be canals made by intelligent beings on the surface of Mars. They're also investigating a giant mound of rock that appears to have been made into the shape of a face...

Slashdot Frequently Seen Characters (0, Flamebait)

pixelated77 (472348) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400137)

Let's break down the characters that this post will attract:

1. We'll have the Heinlein / Asimov geeks that will start extolling the virtues of colonization. Sometimes these chaps will actually try to pitch the idea of interstellar mining for ores, they'll start talking about beanstalks / space elevators, nanotubes and perhaps a Rama reference or two. I won't even comment on that.

2. Then the cynics will start their usual diatribe about the pointless expenditure of money and resources on a frivolous goal and/or ideal of human space travel.

3. The above will be quickly followed by the NASA groupies that will then point out every single invention that is ever so faintly and indirectly a consequence of some NASA 1960s research.

4. The NASA geeks will then be supported by the Altruists, who will wax philosophical about the triumph of the human spirit and the ennobling effects of exploration and conquest.

5. Finally, we'll have an assorted collection of people who didn't RTFA and who won't but yet take a generous amount of time to argue about the merits of said article and the implications of the arguments brought forth my all of the above.

Re:Slashdot Frequently Seen Characters (5, Funny)

demonbug (309515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400232)

6. And then we'll have those people that don't really care what the topic is, but like to show how long they've been around /. by making pointless generalizations about what everyone else will say. They won't actually add anyting to the discussion, or make any relevant points or provide any insights, but they will feel good about themselves because, umm, they posted something.

7. After that, another group will come in, pointing out the pointlessness of the above group's post, in posts that are, if possible, even more pointless and off topic. But then, just before the end of their posts, this last group will throw in some almost-related-to-the-topic bit, like "maybe it was glaciers!", so that they can preted that their post was in fact on-topic.

Re:Slashdot Frequently Seen Characters (1)

pixelated77 (472348) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400277)

8. I also forgot to mention the Almost a Physics PhD crowd that will go into a torturing pedantic argument over relativity, orbital mechanics and specific impulse. This will inevitably lead into a whole sub-thread about the viability of John Carmack as an aerospace engineer and Burt Rutan's virility.

Re:Slashdot Frequently Seen Characters (0)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400246)

And then there's me.

I like gum.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Seriously, though, it IS a discussion group.

Re:Slashdot Frequently Seen Characters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400369)

I like gum.

I prefer mints.

Re:Slashdot Frequently Seen Characters (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400254)

You forgot
6. The characters who were promised, PROMISED flying cars and interplanetary travel for everyone by the year 2000 and are still waiting for it.

7. ???

8. Profit!

Re:Slashdot Frequently Seen Characters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400270)

.... and one karma whore who posts some smart ass remark about the obviousness of posting on slashdot!

Re:Slashdot Frequently Seen Characters (5, Funny)

goldspider (445116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400280)

Truly colonization is a worthy goal. Our desecration of the Earth will necessitate seeking resources elsewhere in our solar system! Of course, burning fossil fuels to send vehicles into space is counterproductive, so insted I propose a space elevator constructed entirely of carbon nanotubes!

However, that sort of thing costs money, and we have people starving in our own streets! We need to take care of our imediate needs first.

And yes, it's true that we have things like microwave ovens, teflon, and the 4-day work week today because of the tireless efforts of NASA... ...but ultimately the triumph of the human siprit will, as always, provide us with our every need, fending off the previously-believed impending doom of our culture, and eventually allow us to explore and conquer the vast reaches of space!

What was the article about again?

Re:Slashdot Frequently Seen Characters (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400430)

I propose that we start working on mechanisms for converting matter to energy and back. Put transporters on the exhaust pipes of every vehicle. Beam the greenhouse gasses to Mars. Then in a hundred years or so, add plants. Then in a few hundred years, add people.

Save the planet and create a newly habitable one at the same time. :-D

Re:Slashdot Frequently Seen Characters #6 (0, Offtopic)

Rikkochet (910226) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400289)

You missed the group that will be more excited by the ad for: Roswell, Season 3. Now on DVD! Get the final out of this world season of Roswell now on DVD!

Missed (the most annoying) one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400337)

You forgot the one or two geniuses per thread that feel compelled to catalog/predict all the responses we'll see because they don't have anything useful to contribute but need to try and get modded up because /. is the only the thing in their life that can give them a feeling a self-worth....

When was recently? (0, Redundant)

fmwap (686598) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400146)

Small gullies on Mars were carved by water recently and would be...

The post mentions this 'Recently' word too...when exactly was recently? Human lifetime recently? Century recently? Millennium recently? or are we talking age of the solar system recently?

What about climate ? (0, Redundant)

jst4fun (767869) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400172)

Can humans live in mars climate ?? or they looking for some kind of Total Recall Glass Domes ??

Re:What about climate ? (2, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400247)

No, humans (nor any terrestrial multicelled organism) cannot live in the current Mars climate. The atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide at very low pressures. Were you to step outside, your time of useful consciousness would be measured in seconds (and no, holding your breath won't work - you wouldn't be able to hold an almost 15 psi differential in your lungs).

Re:What about climate ? (2, Informative)

AnonymousJackass (849899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400255)

FTFA: "The new study suggests water may still bubble to the surface of Mars now and then, flow for a short stretch, then boil away in the thin, cold air.

So, based on that alone, no the climate would not sustains humans. On parts of Mars, the day-time temps can reach ~20C, but the night-time is still too cold for life. Also, the atmosphere is only ~0.1% oxygen, compared to ~21% on Earth, and ~95% carbon dioxide compared to Earth's So bottom line is... glass domes!

New food for thought (5, Insightful)

Elrac (314784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400200)

I was a little disappointed to find no mention in TFA about what they meant by "recently". 1 year? 5? 10? 100? 1000? 10K?

Many will be thinking, water == life!. Let's say this improves the possibility, but if most water on Mars is (and especially, was) mostly locked up as ice and/or only very ephemerally available, then I'd say it's much less likely that the "long shot" of evolution that led to our existence on Earth could have taken place similarly on Mars. Our planet spent millions of years two-thirds covered in water and under a dense methane-ammonia atmosphere. In contrast, it seems Mars had far less soup under far less atmosphere at (average) somewhat lower temperatures. I guess the only thing Mars might have had more of, sans an atmosphere of effective sunscreens, is ionizing (and hence mutagenic) radiation.

Likely For Life If (3, Interesting)

chydnonax (820552) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400263)

These gullies are likely to harbor life only if there is life under the majority of the martian surface. If it exists just around the poles and under the remnants of old seabeds then NASA would be wasting their time to look for life here. Since NASA cannot know where life is on Mars, if at all, it would do better looking in more likely places like those mentioned above.

Re:Likely For Life If (2, Interesting)

Hannah E. Davis (870669) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400354)

Life doesn't have to be under most of the surface to exist in a gully like this, it just has to be able to survive an awfully long time without water/other essentials. Just think about bacteria on earth... many those little buggers just go dormant when whatever they need goes away, and then wake back up again when it returns.

More likely in caves (4, Interesting)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400393)

I personally think a good contender for life would be in caves on Mars. There must be plenty of caves in/around either Olympus Mons or in Valles Marineris.

Why caves? Two reasons:

  1. Here on Earth, there's some pretty "alien" forms of life in caves [pbs.org] that exists in very different and harsh conditions.
  2. On Mars, an ecosystem in a cave would be sheltered from the harsh solar radiation that bakes/sterilizes the surface since there's no protective ozone later.
Even though Mars is smaller than Earth, the land area is about the same as Earth, so it will take a long time to explore Mars fully.

I agree that continuing to explore the surface won't lead to much, but there's probably lots of interesting stuff in caves.

Someone inform me? (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400329)

The new study suggests water may still bubble to the surface of Mars now and then, flow for a short stretch, then boil away in the thin, cold air.

Ok, if they said liquid hydrogen, or some other such substance I could understand. But why would water boil in cold air, even thin air? First I didn't know Mars had air. Second we have thin air - go to some of the highest peaks on our planet - water does not boil - in fact it should be frozen.

So would someone explain?

Re:Someone inform me? (2, Informative)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400402)

IIRC, water boiling isn't a matter of temperature, but rather atmospheric pressure. The less pressure, the lower the temperature for water to boil. That's why water boils more quickly at higher altitudes than at lower altitudes here on Earth. Ever notice most baking goods include alternate baking directions for baking a cake in high altitude?

Re:Someone inform me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13400433)

the boiling point of water lowers (in a non linear fashion) with the pressure of its environment. mars's atmosphere is about one tenth the pressure of earth's at sea level, whereas up on a mountain on earth, even say, mount everest you're only going reach maybe a third of sea level pressures. on mars, water boils at something like 80 below zero.

Re:Someone inform me? (1)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400437)

The boiling point of any liquid is directly related to the pressure. Lower the pressure and you lower the boiling point. The pressure even at the highest peaks of Earth is not nearly as low as the pressure on the surface of Mars and thus you can have boiling of water on Mars at much lower temperatures than you would ever see on Earth.

Must be me (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400343)

Am I the only one who saw this in TFA?

The conclusion is based on computer modeling of the atmosphere and how water would behave

In other words "Nothing for you to see here, move along".

What are the odds (1)

CDR1313 (151522) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400352)

If there is developing life on Mars, what do suppose the odds are one of the Mars Rovers (or future rovers) running it over to get a closer look? Tragic I know, but this is NASA we're dealing with.

I've heard this before (1)

singpolyma (454549) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400375)

...a lot :P they're always finding 'new evidence' of 'recent' water or oxygen etc on Mars... nothing ever comes of it

In related news.... (2, Funny)

ericdano (113424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400390)

In related news, scientists have discovered that Slashdot.org [slashdot.org] did have a period of time where stories were run without duplicates.....

Moive Mars Attacks (1)

Rac3r5 (804639) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400408)

This reminds me of the movie 'Mars attacks', where there were little green men with lasers attacking earth.

When they were asked how come we didn't see them when we explored Mars, they said that they were hiding in the canyons. Maybe thats still the case, lol.

In all seriousness though, if they want to check for life, why don't they grab a sample of this frozen water and get it back to earth. If indeed there is life, we might see some traces of it in the water. Maybe biological matter etc.

my god stop it! (1)

busman (136696) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400410)

Duds, you must stop linking to space.com!

Its one of the ugliest sites in the world ;-P

For my space related news I link to
feed://www.universetoday.com/universetoday.xml
in safari and find that if its worth reporting Fraser will
have the details.

Well.. (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 8 years ago | (#13400458)

Duds, you must stop linking to space.com!

Its one of the ugliest sites in the world ;-P


That's okay. In Space, no one can hear you scream.
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