Extraterrestrial life

Researchers: Organic chemicals essential for life found in Martian meteorite; Rob Sheldon responds

Sheldon: The point is that we don’t expect to find nitrate and ammonia in the soil of Mars, not unless some nitrogen fixing bacteria put it there recently, because over time it will all come out of the soil as N2 gas. Claiming that the process goes the other way, from N2 in atmosphere to nitrates in soils, goes backwards, from high entropy to low entropy.

Extraterrestrial life Intelligent Design

Researchers: Organic chemicals essential for life found in Martian meteorite; Tim Standish responds

Standish: If the nitrogen cycle isn’t established within a certain time, nitrogen will be removed from the atmosphere and the surface will become rich in nitrate (bad) or, in a reducing atmosphere, ammonia (really bad). The bottom line is that there are speculations that probably get around this, but it is one more needle that has to be threaded for chemical evolution to produce the first life, or a problem for the first life to quickly take care of.

Extraterrestrial life Intelligent Design

At Scientific American: We did find life on Mars in the ‘70s. Rob Sheldon weighs in

Levin: When the Viking Molecular Analysis Experiment failed to detect organic matter, the essence of life, however, NASA concluded that the LR had found a substance mimicking life, but not life. Inexplicably, over the 43 years since Viking, none of NASA’s subsequent Mars landers has carried a life detection instrument to follow up on these exciting results.

Human evolution Intelligent Design

Evolutionary biologist declares, Martian colonists will mutate really quickly

Riffing off Elon Musk’s goal of sending humans to Mars by 2024, and NASA’s plans to send astronauts there after they visit the Moon again, Rice University evolutionary biologist Scott Solomon envisions “mutations cascading through the gene pool”: After about two generations, he thinks their bones will strengthen, they’ll need glasses for nearsightedness, their immune Read More…

Extraterrestrial life Fine tuning Intelligent Design

What Earth vs Mars can teach us about fine tuning

We are told that Earth and Mars are like two siblings who have grown apart: “There was a time when their resemblance was uncanny: Both were warm, wet and shrouded in thick atmospheres. But 3 or 4 billion years ago, these two worlds took different paths”: Long ago, Mars stopped changing, while Earth continued to Read More…

Extraterrestrial life Fine tuning Intelligent Design

Fine-tuning: Is Earth’s magnetic core special too, compared to Mars’s?

Physicist S. Fred Singer offers some suggestions pertaining to the hunt for life on Mars: 1. Super-rotation of the core Seismic data, taken over a period of several years (Zhang, et al., Science 2005), suggest that the (innermost, solid iron) core is rotating slightly faster than the rest of the Earth, at 0.3-0.5 degrees/yr. We Read More…