Thursday, February 17, 2005

134: Exclusive: NASA Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars

Exclusive: NASA Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars:

What Stoker and Lemke have found, according to several attendees of the private meeting, is not direct proof of life on Mars, but methane signatures and other signs of possible biological activity remarkably similar to those recently discovered in caves here on Earth.

Stoker and other researchers have long theorized that the Martian subsurface could harbor biological organisms that have developed unusual strategies for existing in extreme environments. That suspicion led Stoker and a team of U.S. and Spanish researchers in 2003 to southwestern Spain to search for subsurface life near the Rio Tinto river—so-called because of its reddish tint—the product of iron being dissolved in its highly acidic water.
The article goes on to describe how evolutionary hypotheses about life on Mars led the team to look for similar conditions on earth. Then, having found life in unexpected places on Earth (click for more on the value of prediction) they looked for new data on Mars. The results they got matched those on Earth.

Evolutionary hypotheses work on every planet, and here's a case where evolution may have given us the first evidence of life on another planet. Too cool.

Starman” by David Bowie from the album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972, 4:13).