Potential signs of ancient life in Mars rover photos

January 6, 2015 by Johnny Bontemps, Astrobio.net
A rock bed at the Gillespie Lake outcrop on Mars displays potential signs of ancient microbial sedimentary structures. Credit: NASA

A careful study of images taken by the NASA rover Curiosity has revealed intriguing similarities between ancient sedimentary rocks on Mars and structures shaped by microbes on Earth. The findings suggest, but do not prove, that life may have existed earlier on the Red Planet.

The photos were taken as Curiosity drove through the Gillespie Lake outcrop in Yellowknife Bay, a dry lakebed that underwent seasonal flooding billions of years ago. Mars and Earth shared a similar early history. The Red Planet was a much warmer and wetter world back then.

On Earth, carpet-like colonies of microbes trap and rearrange sediments in shallow bodies of water such as lakes and costal areas, forming distinctive features that fossilize over time. These structures, known as microbially-induced sedimentary structures (or MISS), are found in shallow water settings all over the world and in ancient rocks spanning Earth's history.

Nora Noffke, a geobiologist at Old Dominion University in Virginia, has spent the past 20 years studying these microbial structures. Last year, she reported the discovery of MISS that are 3.48 billion years old in the Western Australia's Dresser Formation, making them potentially the oldest signs of life on Earth.

In a paper published online last month in the journal Astrobiology (the print version comes out this week), Noffke details the striking morphological similarities between Martian sedimentary structures in the Gillespie Lake outcrop (which is at most 3.7 billion years old) and microbial structures on Earth.

The distinctive shapes include erosional remnants, pockets, domes, roll-ups, pits, chips and cracks, which on Earth can extend from a few centimeters to many kilometers.

Although Noffke makes a tantalizing case for possible signs of ancient life on Mars, her report is not a definitive proof that these structures were shaped by biology. Getting such confirmation would involve returning rock samples to Earth and conducting additional microscopic analyses, a mission that isn't scheduled anytime in the near future.

"All I can say is, here's my hypothesis and here's all the evidence that I have," Noffke says, "although I do think that this evidence is a lot."

"The fact that she pointed out these structures is a great contribution to the field," says Penelope Boston, a geomicrobiologist at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. "Along with the recent reports of methane and organics on Mars, her findings add an intriguing piece to the puzzle of a possible history for life on our neighboring planet."

A Careful Analysis

"I've seen many papers that say 'Look, here's a pile of dirt on Mars, and here's a pile of dirt on Earth,'" says Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center and an associate editor of the journal Astrobiology. "And because they look the same, the same mechanism must have made each pile on the two planets.'"

McKay adds: "That's an easy argument to make, and it's typically not very convincing. However, Noffke's paper is the most carefully done analysis of the sort that I've seen, which is why it's the first of its kind published in Astrobiology."

Overlay of sketch on photograph from above to assist in the identification of the structures on the rock bed surface. Image credit: Noffke (2105). Credit: ASTROBIOLOGY, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

The images on which Noffke drew are publicly available on the Mars Science Laboratory page on NASA's website.

"In one image, I saw something that looked very familiar," Noffke recalls. "So I took a closer look, meaning I spent several weeks investigating certain images centimeter by centimeter, drawing sketches, and comparing them to data from terrestrial structures. And I've worked on these for 20 years, so I knew what to look for."

Noffke compared the rover pictures to images taken at several sites on Earth, including modern sediment surfaces in Mellum Island, Germany; Portsmouth Island, USA; and Carbla Point, Western Australia; as well as older fossils of microbial mats in Bahar Alouane, Tunisia; the Pongola Supergroup in Africa; and the Dresser Formation in Western Australia.

The photos showed striking morphological similarities between the terrestrial and Martian sedimentary structures.

The distribution patterns of the microbial structures on Earth vary depending on where they are found. Different types of structures are found together in different types of environments. For instance, microbial mats that grow in rivers will create a different set of associations than those that grow in seasonally flooded environments.

The patterns found in the Gillespie Lake outcrop are consistent with the microbial structures found in similar environments on Earth.

What's more, the terrestrial structures change in a specific way over time. As the form, grow, dry up, crack and re-grow, specific structures become associated with them. Here again, Noffke found that the distribution pattern in Martian rocks correspond with microbial structures on Earth that have changed over time. Taken together, these clues strengthen her argument beyond simply pointing out the similarities in shape.

In her paper, she also describes alternative processes through which these could have formed. For instance, the chips, pits and cracks could be the product of erosion by salt, water, or wind.

"But if the Martian structures aren't of biological origin," Noffke says, "then the similarities in morphology, but also in distribution patterns with regards to MISS on Earth would be an extraordinary coincidence."

Potential MISS erosional remnant on Mars (top); edge of a microbial mat–overgrown erosional remnant on Portsmouth Island, USA (middle); erosional remnant of a modern MISS on Mellum Island, Germany (bottom). Credit: Mars: NASA; Earth: Nora Noffke

"At this point, all I'd like to do is point out these similarities," she adds. "Further evidence must be provided to verify this hypothesis."

Confirmation Pending

At the end of her report, Noffke outlines a detailed strategy for confirming the potential biological nature of the Martian structures. Unfortunately, one important step—returning samples to Earth for further analyses—is just not feasible yet.

Noffke also lists a series of measurements Curiosity could potentially do to strengthen the case if it came across such structures again, including looking for organic or chemical signatures using its Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.

But McKay says this likely would not work. "In principle, that instrument could tell us something about the nature of these materials biologically, if there were still large amounts of biological organics in the samples," he explains. "But these are just ancient , and biology has long since left."

Comparison of cracks in Gillespie Lake outcrop on Mars and in a modern microbial mat in Bahar Alouane, Tunisia. Credit: Mars image: NASA; Earth image: Nora Noffke

"What's more, in practice this instrument is restricted," he adds. "There was a contamination spill in the instrument presumably during landing. So it has a very high background contamination level."

On Earth, scientists typically confirm the biological nature of microbial sediment structures by searching for specific microscopic textures, which involves cutting rocks into thin slices and studying them under a microscope.

Knob-shaped structures on Mars compared to similar structures caused by erosion of microbial mats at Carbla Point, Western Australia. Credit: Mars Image: NASA; Earth Image: Nora Noffke

On Mars, this would be very difficult do from an engineering perspective, although McKay doesn't rule out the possibility for future missions. "I don't know if it can be done, but engineers are pretty smart," he says. "If you give them a challenge, they usually find a solution."

He adds: "A sample return mission would be the gold standard. But that's just unlikely to happen anytime soon."

>> by Johnny Bontemps, Follow Johnny Bontemps on Twitter.

Explore further: Earliest evidence of life found: 3.49 billion years ago

More information: The paper is available online: online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/ast.2014.1218

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54 comments

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TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (12) Jan 06, 2015
The rover is capable of finding macroscopic fossils and this is what could be discovered as it travels further up the mountain and explores more recent formations.
gkam
4 / 5 (10) Jan 06, 2015
Perhaps we really are Martians originally, and came to Earth in a rock like ALH- 84001, after the Late Heavy Bombardment.
richardwenzel987
4.4 / 5 (8) Jan 06, 2015
For quite some time I've seen structures in some of the pics from our Mars rovers that resemble fossil bacterial mats. I've been waiting for someone with expertise and credibility to state that such features exist on Mars. Finally! I was not the only one!
MorganW
4.8 / 5 (10) Jan 06, 2015
"But if the Martian structures aren't of biological origin," Noffke says, "then the similarities in morphology, but also in distribution patterns with regards to MISS on Earth would be an extraordinary coincidence."

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...html#jCp

Agreed. Quite extraordinary.
gatorchomp
1.5 / 5 (11) Jan 06, 2015
Those surface features can be explained by wind and sand blowing over that edge. It forms vortices that scour divots and groves.
pugphan
Jan 06, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Uncle Ira
4.3 / 5 (13) Jan 06, 2015
Check out weliveamonyou.com


Why do that Skippy? The crankpot-Skippys will tell us all about it here on the physorg comment pages, you think we want to read it three times or twice times?

gkam
3.4 / 5 (8) Jan 06, 2015
I keep on looking for signs of intelligent life on Earth.

And what is all this skippy stuff? Inside joke?
marble89
2.1 / 5 (8) Jan 06, 2015
another classic case of confirmation bias. Those who passionately want the mythical ancient blue mars teeming with life to have really existed are the very ones who always seem to be claiming - Eureka ! We found it !
Captain Stumpy
3.5 / 5 (8) Jan 06, 2015
And what is all this skippy stuff? Inside joke?
@Gkam
Ira writes like he talks
He is a Cajun type from Louisiana
i know a few of them and they all have that exact same habit... everyone is "skippy" or "Mon cher"
(i think i got that right, eh Ira?)
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.9 / 5 (12) Jan 06, 2015
Finally a response from the science community (the paper is nearly a month old, but AGU Fall meeting came in between). And it is tentatively positive, which aligns with my notions on this when I first saw the paper.

MISS has no false negatives on Earth, and Earth is a lot more geologically complex from plate tectonics, life and hence a more locally varying climate). But of course Mars is another planet, so they have to differentiate as Noffke suggests and look for similar structure sets.

They won't make a 2 year detour to test for organics back at Yellowknife Bay. Hopefully they can catch similar structures in good conditions when they scale Gale's mountain. (In a web interview Noffke mentions having seen more structures along Curiosity's later route, but in so bad condition that she wouldn't have wanted to write a paper on those.)
gkam
3.3 / 5 (7) Jan 06, 2015
" everyone is "skippy" or "Mon cher""

Oh, thanks, . . is it good or bad?
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 06, 2015
@gkam: Perhaps. But likely life emerged 4.4 billion years ago on Earth, when it was as wet and cold as Mars was when the putative Yellowknife Bay formations were laid down. Of course there were the initial bombardment at the time, so something similar.

Modern pathways for life emergence are so fast that I would prefer to lay a bet on local emergence, which is also more likely than having it arise just once in similar conditions. At least I would bet that way until people have managed to investigate transpermia a lot more.

@richardwenzel987: People have "seen" things on Mars in all rover images. And mysteriously, no one has published their findings until now.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.7 / 5 (11) Jan 06, 2015
@marble89: Have you lost your marbles? Noffke however is an expert, and she didn't confirm mats, that was the test she couldn't do because she needs 9 microanalysis answers firs. She identified potential MISS fossils and went through as much of a rigorous detection that she could. (See the paper.)

Using confirmation bias for putative fossil detection was effectively killed in -06, when Brasier et al published their severe criticism on early NASA (and other) astrobiology fossil finds. You should study up on the area, since you want to be critical about it.

If you want to see rampant confirmation bias, see the Young Dryas 'impact' theory, which lost as usual when it met reality (i.e. more careful researchers). [ http://phys.org/n...act.html ]
Uncle Ira
3.5 / 5 (8) Jan 06, 2015
" everyone is "skippy" or "Mon cher""

Oh, thanks, . . is it good or bad?


Not good or not bad either. It depends on the person I'm talking to. I have no control over what they are non.
mike4ty4
4.7 / 5 (3) Jan 06, 2015
This suggests more and more the case for a manned "telepresence" mission to Mars. Such a mission would involve setting up some kind of orbiting base, together with much-more sophisticated rovers on the surface, and maybe even devices to return samples. This would allow for human control of the robotics in near real-time, allowing far more science to be done than could be with the 40+-minute light speed travel limit from Earth. The increasing promise for Mars to hold either life or evidence of ancient life is all the more reason to be concerned about contamination, and thus why we should _avoid_ sending humans directly to the Martian surface -- thus the telepresence option -- until we know a lot more about what is there to either confirm, and then find ways to protect, present or signs of past life, or to rule that out to high levels of certainty, something for which such a mission would help greatly.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (14) Jan 06, 2015
he increasing promise for Mars to hold either life or evidence of ancient life is all the more reason to be concerned about contamination, and thus why we should _avoid_ sending humans directly to the Martian surface
Any life that evolved to live specifically on mars would make short work of earth life, including possibly us. I just heard a discussion about the efficiency of humans vs rovers. A human could do in 3 minutes what a rover would need 3 weeks to do. Something like that.

In order to ensure our survival we need to establish permanent, self-sustaining colonies elsewhere in the solar system. We need to do this as soon as possible. Mars is the obvious first choice.
dr_mabeuse
5 / 5 (9) Jan 06, 2015
Oh great. Exomicrobiopaleogeosedimentology. Could it get any easier?
hemipwr54
1.7 / 5 (11) Jan 06, 2015
NASA is seeing things again, must be time for more funding.
phalls1
1.4 / 5 (5) Jan 06, 2015
So there was life on Mars. Now what?
Osiris1
5 / 5 (3) Jan 06, 2015
Only a matter of time as more and more seemingly circumstantial evidence starts to stack up to: Walks like a duck; talks like a duck; smells like a duck; and leaves behind...well you figure it out. Mars was alive, and life being what it is, like Laura Dern's scientist character on Jurassic Park said: "Life will find a way!"! Leading to my personal humble opinion that Mars DNA will probably look like verrrry ancient Earth DNA. Reasonable for how close we are and how subject to passing events that could chip off a piece of Mars and take it here, carrying its early life with it. So we are ALL Martians?!
The downside is that we had better be really careful what we bring back. Most scientists think Mars life could still be there, dormant maybe, certainly frozen and dessicated on the surface; but deep down in the liquid brines in the rocks at depth probably still alive...just like some of our extremophiles. We NEED to be careful. We would look like food to similar DNA beasties
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (9) Jan 07, 2015
@Otto
Any life that evolved to live specifically on mars would make short work of earth life, including possibly us.
not so sure about this one
IMHO
if it is specifically adapted to live on Mars, it may well find Earth a little too hostile for it's survival, from other predation to the possibility that the normal atmospheric gasses might just be poisonous to it

Life living on Mars may well be better suited to adaptation to some of our extreme environs

I would love to see evidence of life from any extraterrestrial source

I wholeheartedly agree with the rest of your post. We could use orbiting platforms to build craft to go to/from Mars and the Moon, where perhaps some bases/manufacturing capabilities are built, and then commercially/scientifically explore the rest of the system using resources as we find them

I would volunteer to go
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 07, 2015
@phalls: "Now what?"

So now we will learn more things than if there wasn't any. W00t!

@Osiris: " look like verrrry ancient Earth DNA".

RNA is pretty much constrained by its dual use as genetic and enzymatic material. (The latter it still is in DA cell ribosomes.) There are a few alternative bases, but they are harder to produce.

DNA on the other hand is one among a larger set of potential chemically stabler variants of RNA. So I don't expect to see DNA, assuming martian life still exists and evolved enough diversity to knock out the earlier RNA life.

"So we are ALL Martians?!"

I don't know if you saw my comment on that, but I argue it is generally less likely than local life emergence for obvious reasons.

"We would look like food".

They haven't evolved to feed on complex multicellulars with adaptive immune systems. They would be far more harmless than our own symbionts, like E. Coli that sometimes goes pathogenic.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 07, 2015
if it is specifically adapted to live on Mars, it may well find Earth a little too hostile for it's survival, from other predation to the possibility that the normal atmospheric gasses might just be poisonous to it
I was responding to mikes concerns about earth life contaminating Mars. I was thinking though that Mars life might be susceptible if it is at a more primitive stage of development. One argument against finding precursor lifeforms here on earth is that more advanced life would consume or displace them. I suppose this could happen if earthlife established itself on Mars.
I would volunteer to go
Not me man. A year in a capsule the size of a living room? Full of people? I'd feel very claustrophobic. Not until we are traveling in ISS-sized vehicles.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (12) Jan 07, 2015
another classic case of confirmation bias.

This has nothing to do with confirmation bias. Confirmation bias would be to claim something as true based on a fit to prior, (possibly one-sided) knowledge.
She's putting a hypothesis out there and making clear that it is nothing but a hypothesis - to be tested in the future.
(Note the word "hypothesis". The word prefix "hypo" means "less than" in greek....as in hypochonder, hypothermia, hypocrit, ... )
paulc3000
5 / 5 (6) Jan 07, 2015
This is an interesting hypothesis. As a geologist there are other explanations (such as water driven concentrations of natural mineral "cements") to account for the localized hardened areas. Can mud-cracks and extrusions be fun of non-organic materials? Well they usually are here on Earth.
Having said this, I hope that he is correct. I like being proven wrong.
Nashingun
1 / 5 (10) Jan 07, 2015
Here comes the deranged fictional world of Evolutionists. They wish there is life on Mars to establish their false religion that life just simply sprouts everywhere as long as the right condition and ingredients are available. Why not bake one cake for all of us?
Nashingun
1 / 5 (10) Jan 07, 2015
We can keep playing the game of a Star Trek dreamworld and start matching sacks with Earth's and Mars. Keep em falling people! lol
Nashingun
1 / 5 (10) Jan 07, 2015
I'm catching a fish in this area, look there seems to some sort of corals in here... I should use interstellar microbes on my hooks to lure in Martian creatures swimming along this canyon. There is one, a big headed green Martian with two big black tantalizing eyes! Gotcha! lol
Nashingun
1 / 5 (8) Jan 07, 2015
I have a question.

Do mushrooms grow on Mars? If life is as simple as popping anywhere in the universe, on any planet suitable for life, then mushrooms should too!!! lol

Hey look... mushroom! lol
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (13) Jan 07, 2015
Here comes the deranged fictional world of Evolutionists. They wish there is life on Mars to establish their false religion that life just simply sprouts everywhere as long as the right condition and ingredients are available. Why not bake one cake for all of us?
Keep holding on to that thought. If this is all that is keeping you to your god delusions, then be prepared to have to give them up.

Your disappointment will be similar to those whose faith was based on the certitude that the earth was the center of the universe.
Nashingun
1 / 5 (9) Jan 07, 2015
Ok look. I'm a Martian and I come in peace! lol
Nashingun
1 / 5 (9) Jan 07, 2015

Your disappointment will be similar to those whose faith was based on the certitude that the earth was the center of the universe?

Hahahaha! First find something significant before you make pronouncements! lol
Always egotistical and pretentious promising things that is not in their power to give.

GhostofOtto, Try your luckiest luck. Do some rituals or cry to your ancestors to give you the final evidence on Mars that Evolution theory is true! lol

Go back to work now Romeo.. We have a long way to go! Work work work! Drill here, come on! lol
Nashingun
1 / 5 (8) Jan 07, 2015
GhostofOtto
Try recall who claim that the world is flat and we are the center of the universe?
Let me see... Hmmm.. Ow, yes the Roman Catholic Church. And I remember Galileo almost had himself toast in hell if not from renouncing his previous statements correcting the Church on a Biblical passage that says the world is flat? Such dogma was a disgrace for science ain't it. huh.

But today this same body of faithfuls also believe that Evolution theory is a better explanation than Genesis of the Bible! lol Can you imagine that? Those who said the world is flat also believes Charles Darwin's theory! lol Hahaha. This nails the coffin then. You and the ones who said the world is flat and we're the center of the universe is in one boat! lol
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 07, 2015
Hahahaha! First find something significant before you make pronouncements!
Heres the difference bewteen religion and science: religion is based on faith, which is belief DESPITE evidence. Science on the other hand is based strictly on evidence.

We have increasing confidence in the ability of science to produce descriptions of natural phenomena. You on the other hand retain your faith despite the inability of religion to explain natural phenomena.

See the difference?

Evidence is mounting from many sources which suggest with confidence that we will soon find life on other planets. Only people blinded by faith, such as yourself, could ignore this evidence.
Roman Catholic Church
No, your book is pretty clear on the issue.
http://hypertextb...ic.shtml

-Yeah I know, you reserve the right to mangle the book however you want. As long as you believe with all your heart that it is the unalterable word of your god.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (8) Jan 07, 2015
Ok look. I'm a Martian and I come in peace! lol
Like I say xians have no sense of humor. Pretty pathetic.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (5) Jan 08, 2015
@paulc: "As a geologist there are other explanations (such as water driven concentrations of natural mineral "cements") to account for the localized hardened areas."

Thanks, interesting information!

If you read Nora Noffke's paper, she has a very detailed 4 step test scheme. (Where the microanalysis, and differentiation against your suggested false positives, couldn't be done, therefore the putative status of the MISS.)

The "detection" part consists of 3 different types of criteria: sedimentary structures, spatial associations and temporal successions of the features. The "identification" consists of comparison to known MISS. The "confirmation" consists of some 10-ish microscale features.

Noffke claims that already identification (the 3 criteria + comparison) has no abiotic false positives on Earth. E.g. I assume cementing would have a hard time showing the spatial associations and temporal successions that MISS does.
Phil DePayne
4.7 / 5 (6) Jan 09, 2015
Every time I read creationist BS it reminds me of that funny scene from ''Clerks II''
kochevnik
4.8 / 5 (8) Jan 09, 2015
@MashineGun Those who said the world is flat also believes Charles Darwin's theory! lol Hahaha.
Truly some demented s***. Difficult to determine if he posts from a church or his mental hospital. Maybe both
christian11212000
1 / 5 (9) Jan 09, 2015
It's funny that you could find life that is billions of years old, especially considering the earth is at most 10,000 years old... I'd love to figure out how that works...
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (6) Jan 09, 2015
It's funny that you could find life that is billions of years old, especially considering the earth is at most 10,000 years old... I'd love to figure out how that works...
@christian11212000
quoting creationist diatribes without evidence is just like telling us you're a Toyota
IOW - who cares
you offer NO EVIDENCE supporting your conclusions and just by the argument we can see that you are ignorant of a great deal of physics as well as geological science

I suggest you start taking some courses to learn about reality before posting again

you can start here: http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

As you will find, science and physics especially are all well founded on empirical evidence & experimental repeatable results, something which your display above cannot compete with as it is not only false, but we can dig up rocks in ANY back yard that prove this assumption a blatant lie (which is wrong according to your religion, christi... )
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (6) Jan 09, 2015
I'd love to figure out how that works...
@christian11212000
you shouldn't lie like that... because as soon as you are proven wrong you will simply revert to the whiny-crybaby look-in-the-bible tactics that all creationists do
I will even links some relevant info explaining it to you with actual science which can not only be repeated, but proven (unlike your diatribe or book)
http://www.tim-th...rth.html
http://www.tim-th...th2.html
http://www.talkor...rth.html
http://infidels.o...g-earth/
Please note the references provided which contain studies and empirical evidence, which i would also expect in any refute)

feel free to post equivalent evidence refuting the above, but remember to specify which study you are refuting

TIA
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (9) Jan 09, 2015
It's funny that you could find life that is billions of years old, especially considering the earth is at most 10,000 years old...
Think thats funny? Well consider that in order to make a 10k universe look billions of years old, your god would have had to drop every single photon in just the right place and send it on its way, so that we would look at all those distant objects and be fooled into thinking just that.

But why would he do this? Why would he go to such extreme lengths just to trick us? What kind of god LIES to us about the past in order to find out how much we TRUST him?

The same trickster who filled his book with stories about things we know never happened and people we know never existed, thats who.

How could you ever believe promises about wishes granted and eternal bliss in heaven, from a god who chooses to lie to you about everything else?

Gods are all fake, the product of tricksters and manipulators. Accept the obvious.
christian11212000
1 / 5 (8) Jan 09, 2015
You seem quite certain, and thats fine. Your opinions really do not affect me, but thanks anyways
christian11212000
1 / 5 (7) Jan 09, 2015
If my God is not real, what difference does it make to you? Believe what you want to, I know where I will spend eternity.
kochevnik
4.9 / 5 (7) Jan 09, 2015
If my God is not real, what difference does it make to you? Believe what you want to, I know where I will spend eternity.
Because you are mentally ill or insane and should be handled as such, or treated like any child with imaginary friends. You are undiagnosed and like sociopaths do great damage with your unwillingness to separate fact from fiction
Uncle Ira
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 09, 2015
It's funny that you could find life that is billions of years old, especially considering the earth is at most 10,000 years old... I'd love to figure out how that works...


Well Skippy, I hate to disappoint you. But that is something you probably won't be able to figure out. A man gots to know his limitations and then suck it up and move on to something he can do.
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (8) Jan 09, 2015
If my God is not real, what difference does it make to you? Believe what you want to, I know where I will spend eternity.


I won't speak for the Otto-Skippy, he's pretty good at doing that his self. But the difference it makes to me is peoples are always using God when they are thinking up rules for other peoples. They think if say "God wants it so", that nobody can argue back with that reason.

If God wanted it so, I would think he is smart enough to tell me him self and wouldn't need to pass it on to me third or second hand. If God can't speak for him self, then he is not much of a God don't you think? He sure do pick some doozies to do his talking for him.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (6) Jan 10, 2015
Believe what you want to, I know where I will spend eternity.
@christian11212000
so do i
your body will break down to it's constituent parts and become recycled back into the environment
This is a proven fact... and there is no proof what-so-ever that you have a soul or any other means of defeating the fact that you will be worm food

It's not about seeming quite certain, either, but of demonstrated repeatable provable facts that we can show you, over and over

THAT is what SCIENCE is all about

and i really don't care about your beliefs, either
Not unless you decide to spread your religion on a SCIENCE site
Then it becomes offensive and as it is unproven, as well as being a blatant lie (especially with regard to proven scientific facts you tried to refute above) then YOU OPENED THE DOOR to the argument

you don't like it
go TROLL elsewhere with your religion
it is only real TO YOU
that is why it is a FAITH, and not a SCIENCE
Shootist
4.3 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2015
And what is all this skippy stuff? Inside joke?
@Gkam
Ira writes like he talks
He is a Cajun type from Louisiana
i know a few of them and they all have that exact same habit... everyone is "skippy" or "Mon cher"
(i think i got that right, eh Ira?)


everybody's a boudreaux
animah
5 / 5 (6) Jan 11, 2015
So there was life on Mars. Now what?


Assuming you are correct - now we find out:

- If there IS life on Mars
- How different it was (or perhaps even is) from life on Earth.

The implications of finding a DNA-based life form on another planet would be staggering. Doing a detailed comparison with ours would be the treat of the century.

But if it was not DNA-based - finding a completely different template for life... That would change everything. The treat of the millenium :-)
Vietvet
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 11, 2015
The author's hypothesis is exciting but NASA has a more realistic explanation.

http://news.disco...0111.htm
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 12, 2015
If my God is not real, what difference does it make to you? Believe what you want to, I know where I will spend eternity.
Well of course your god is the good one isn't he? You religionists all agree that god exists, and that he wrote wonderful books. Believers open those books and find instructions on how to treat unbelievers. These instructions include shunning, chastising, persecuting, expelling, and executing. They ALL do.

If your god is the good one, why hasn't he removed these instructions from his book? You all believe that unbelievers can't be good because it SAYS so in your book. Everyone else considers this bigotry except you, because your god says it is right and proper.

I don't know about you but I hate bigots and I resent being treated the way your god says I am supposed to be treated.

Bigots only a little more committed than yourself are strapping bombs to little girls elsewhere in the world. And their book says exactly the same things as YOURS.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (4) Jan 13, 2015
@Vietviet: Thanks, interesting!

But space writer Paul Abderson has contacted Noffke, and it seems the Curiosity team hasn't done their homework:

"I've been in touch with Nora Noffke regarding this re my own article(s) for my blog The Meridiani Journal as well as AmericaSpace. She doesn't think the Curiosity team (and she knows a lot of the members) has even read her full paper yet, which is lengthy and goes into a lot of detail. She also noted that no one from Space.com had contacted her re this update, to get her side. ..."

[ http://www.space....02957568 ]

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