Would We Know Alien Life If We Saw It? | Space | Air & Space Magazine
Never mind the Squire of Gothos; what if we really found an alien civilization at .. (GAIAE) released a fatwa (legal opinion) regarding going to Mars: .. them with jingle-bells.info we ever do meet any space aliens they will either eat. News of extraterrestrials would likely generate upbeat attitudes. way, they will likely be met with positive curiosity rather than malevolence. few hours to go. You're going to need a serious caffeine boost to keep from First Contact: What Happens When We Meet Aliens. How we.
Imagery taken from orbit, going back to Viking, has shown morning fog and mist rising from the floor of Martian canyons, leading scientists to theorize that liquid water may still be trapped under the surface.
What would happen if we found alien life? | jingle-bells.info
Schulze-Makuch even speculates that Martian organisms might draw water directly from the atmosphere. And last September, high-resolution images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter revealed that even today, water—actually, brine that can stay liquid at cold temperatures—flows down steep slopes in the Martian spring and summer. The discovery that liquid water has persisted on the surface of Mars over long periods gives hope that life arose there, and that it found a way to adapt to harsh conditions, which changed as the surface water disappeared.
The next major mission to the surface of the Red Planet is ExoMarsa joint project of the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, which is supplying the Proton rocket. Currently slated to soft-land on Mars in January or two years later if the launch date slips, as has been rumoredExoMars will deploy a rover equipped with a drill capable of boring down six feet.
In choosing a landing site for ExoMarsproject scientists used orbital data to scout out places with sedimentary rocks, especially fine-grained clays, that clearly formed in the presence of water, as in an ancient lakebed. The ExoMars project narrowed the potential landing sites to four, the top candidate being Oxia Planum, a smooth, flat plain with only a light dust covering, so more of the surface rock should be exposed.
Here, 18 degrees north of the Martian equator, the ExoMars rover will look for evidence of biology. Finding visible fossils—say, the remains of bacteria like those seen in some ancient Australian rocks—would be wonderful, but for a number of reasons extremely unlikely. For one, such fossils would almost certainly be too small for the ExoMars close-up camera to resolve.
So just as Viking did 40 years ago, the ExoMars search focuses on chemistry. It will use two kinds of spectrometer to analyze drilled samples for traces of organic molecules, and scientists hope to be able to distinguish compounds associated with biology from those that are non-biological. All plant and animal life on Earth is based on left-handed amino acids although some microbes can, in a pinch, consume the right-handed versions of nutrients. An ExoMars sample with a mixture of both chiralities would imply geologic origin, whereas a predominance of one chirality over another would suggest a biological origin—that is, if Martian life also has a preferred handedness.
It will land seven months later and begin searching for rocks that can be sealed in a container and returned to Earth by a future spacecraft, still to be specified.
Scientists have long hankered for a mission that can bring Mars rocks home, so they can analyze them on Earth with more sophisticated instruments than can fit on a lander. Mars is the first half of that mission, and it will be up to the rover to identify the precious few rocks that have the best chance of containing bio-signatures, or evidence of life. Instead, from two inches away, SHERLOC will shine far-ultraviolet lasers on rocks to cause their constituent chemicals to either scatter light or fluoresce emit light.
The resulting spectrum should reveal the chemical fingerprints of any organic molecules in the rocks.
Promising samples would be candidates for caching—again while taking steps to avoid contamination—and eventual return to Earth. The Mars team has yet to choose its landing site—eight candidates are in the running. Selecting the right location is critical, since the two-part mission is a multibillion-dollar investment. If no biology is found at the site, or if the answer is muddled, as with Viking, critics might say NASA wasted its money going to the wrong place.
When Will We Make Contact with Intelligent Aliens?
Because of budget constraints, not every proposed biology experiment can fly, so some worthy approaches to life detection will go untried. But the payload was dropped along with several other instruments to save costs and reduce weight.
First, do no harm Another constraint on scientists looking for Martian life: Cleaning large, complex spacecraft with dry heat is difficult and expensive. For now, Mars mission planners avoid landing sites that might have liquid water, even though those are the sites most likely to have life. The team behind a proposed mission called Icebreaker, which would send a small, Phoenix-like lander to high Martian latitudes where liquid water might exist, is trying other approaches to removing microbial contamination, such as chemical cleaning of any equipment that comes in contact with the sample.
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Icebreaker at this point an unfunded concept would carry a drill capable of penetrating three feet into the soil. The real hope is to find a second genesis: Hence the need to test for Earth-like nucleic acids like DNA.
Discovering Martian life-forms based on different amino acids would point to a second genesis, independent of our own. So would finding Mars life that used the same amino acids as terrestrial organisms, but with right-handed chirality.
Cleland applauds any search that includes possible alien biochemistry.
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So look for patterns or unexpected degrees of complexity. We need to investigate anomalies: The jury is still out as to whether the source is geological or biological.
But this one instrument is unlikely to settle the question of whether the methane comes from a biological source. Even the identification of ancient micro-fossils on Earth is controversial. More evidence of water on Mars: Close-up views show features like those left on Earth after water evaporates. NASA The identification of life on Mars therefore is unlikely to rest on a single picture, or even a single piece of data.
The International Academy of Astronautics SETI Permanent Committee created a post-detection protocol in that was slightly updated in ; a new update is starting soon and should be finished in a few years, Forgan said. AMC For the most part, scientists assume alien contact would happen through a signal purposely sent toward Earth. In this era of news leaks, he said that situation is very unlikely to hold. So, scientists try instead to stick to a protocol that includes informing the public. The IAA protocol is only two pages and covers facets such as searching for a signal, handling evidence and what to do in the case of a confirmed detection.
If the evidence gets out to the public while the scientists are still analyzing the signal, Forgan said they could manage the public's expectations by using something called the Rio Scale. It's essentially a numeric value that represents the degree of likelihood that an alien contact is "real. If the aliens did arrive here, "first contact" protocols likely would be useless, because if they're smart enough to show up physically, they could probably do anything else they like, according to Shostak.
I have no idea what they are here for. An " Independence Day " scenario of aliens blowing up important national buildings such as the White House is extremely unlikely, Forgan said, because interstellar travel is difficult. This feeds into something called the Drake Equationwhich considers where the aliens could be and helps show why we haven't heard anything from them yet.
SETI "listening" is going on all over the world, and in fact, this has been happening for many decades. The first modern SETI experiment took place in He scanned at a frequency astronomers nickname "the water hole," which is close to the frequency of light that's given off by hydrogen and hydroxyl one hydrogen atom bonded to one oxygen atom.
There have been many, many projects since then. One of the center's major initiatives was Project Phoenix, which scanned nearby, sun-like stars. Currently, the SETI Institute, in collaboration with other institutes, is working on a concept called the Allen Telescope Array, which has dozens of radio dishes in northern California.
Inthe well-known physicist Stephen Hawking and many other researchers launched Breakthrough Listena project that will scan 1 million Milky Way stars and nearby galaxies for extraterrestrial life. Space-based SETI While searches of alien messages aren't ongoing in space, there have been efforts to communicate with any beings that may come across our spacecraft.
The Pioneer 10 and 11 probes flew by Jupiter and in Pioneer 11 's case, Saturn to eventually make their way out of the solar system.