Life's building blocks discovered on Mars


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/08/lifes-building-blocks-discov.html


#2

I for one welcome our new carbon goo overlords.


#3

My eyes saw “Life’s building blocks…” but for a split-second my brain saw “LEGO building blocks…”

Still. That’s cool. At least…

“Now things are starting to make more sense. We still don’t know the source of them, but they’re there. They’re not missing any more.”

Coincidentally, that’s how I feel when I find a LEGO block hidden in the carpet.


#4


#5

So this discovery does not prove life existed on Mars. But it does tic another box on the checklist needed to prove that life once was there.

image


#6

Wow, there’s some lovely colour and texture in that photo.


#7

In the very least this discovery should help scientists know where they should look.


#8

We of the Anti Carbon goo Overlord Collective & Knighthood will fight you at every turn. Down with the goo! Support ACOCK!


#9

When ACOCK is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, ‘tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. – Benjamin Franklin (paraphrase)


#10

Its looking more likely now, but by no means certain, that the periodic methane releases from permafrost in the northern hemisphere are caused by some form of life.


#11

This is unfortunately portrayed as a good thing.

Really, this should terrify everyone as it just puts us closer to the Great Filter. Discovering life on other planets is not a good thing: https://youtu.be/UjtOGPJ0URM


#12

Building blocks are nice, but really, life’s Playmobil™ is superior.


#13

Lego’s building blocks discovered on Mars. (Partial “damn you” to @Akimbo_NOT for getting there before me! Partial damn, you!)


#14

They’re missing one key instrument on the Mars probes: No working probe has carried a microphone, so we’ve completely missed the mid-summer song of the Martian Methane Fart Worms.


#15

…or the great filter is something we’ve already passed, like evolving multicellular organisms.

Not that I wouldn’t bet on nuclear war or climate change putting an end to human civilization, but I don’t think the presence of life Mars or other planets really changes the odds.


#16

We could certainly be past it; that’s preferred. Complex animal cells are something that’s only happened once as far as we know.

But, mathematically, the discovery of life on another planet changes the odds dramatically. Not negativity, it’s just fact.

The other possibility, and the one I favor, is that all life evolves beyond the point that we can regonize it as being alive (i.e. some super intelligent AI, but probably much stranger).


#17

Even if humans did that, there would still be humans who didn’t evolve in that direction (“If humans evolved from apes, why are there still apes?”). And what about dogs, cats, pine trees and the ebola virus? Are they expected to become super intelligent AIs as well?


#18

Does it change the odds? The coin may have come up heads ninety-nine times in a row; the odds are very low that it happens 100 times in a row–but the odds for the next coin flip are still 50/50.

I feel there’s too little understood about the origin and evolution of life for these sorts of arguments to have any real value. We don’t know what the odds actually are for the origin of life or the evolution of multi-cellular life, much less intelligence.

I personally wouldn’t be surprised if the galaxy were full of planets covered in the equivalent of algae and bacteria.


#19

All I have to say is YAWN. Wake me up when they find something interesting, like a living alien life form. Viking detected life on Mars in the 70’s for crying out loud.


#20

InSight is carrying a very sensitive seismometer. It should be able to listen to any geological or biological gaseoseus emissions.