Scientists Expect Sub-Martian Water


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Well, last week the news was that Martian water may linger just beneath the surface of the red planet. This week, scientists report that Martian life may be beneath the Martian surface-but too deep for us to detect, they caution. Of course there are lots of problems with assuming the presence of water, in and of itself, is promising for the origin of life.

Astrobiologist Lewis Dartnell of University College London joined British and Swiss colleagues in publishing their theory in this week’s Geophysical Research Letters. “[I]f life did evolve and persist on Mars, it likely settled at least 2 meters below the surface,” the team concludes, noting that “the hardiest cells we know of could not possibly survive the cosmic radiation levels near the surface.”

Despite the lack of evidence for Martian life, many evolutionists will surely hold onto their faith that it once existed.

The problem-for evolutionists who believe Mars once harbored life, anyway-is that current probes on Mars lack drilling equipment capable of mining down far enough to sample the supposed habitat of Martian life. But despite the lack of evidence for Martian life, many evolutionists will surely hold onto their faith that it once existed; Dartnell, using religious language, explains, “The Holy Grail … is finding a living cell that we can warm up, feed nutrients, and reawaken for study.” In fact, this story is quite similar to another from last autumn, when the story was that past Martian missions missed life because their tests weren’t “robust enough” (see the October 28, 2006, News to Note, item #6).

American astrobiologist Andrew Steele caps off the article with an intriguing quote of his own: “If we find that Martian chemistry progressed toward life but didn't produce it, that’s as valuable as finding life.” In other words, any indication that chemistry can “progress” toward life on its own will leave astrobiologists (and others) overjoyed; this is why the slightest sign of naturally occurring organic material puts evolutionists in a tizzy.

See our Origin of Life and Life on Mars topic pages for a full treatment of this topic.

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