Life on Mars

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There is life on Mars, but it came from earth, according to a report in New Scientist, 27 March 2004, p5. Speaking at the recent Lunar and Planetary Science conference in Houston, Texas, Andrew Schuerger of the University of Florida stated "I believe there is life on Mars, and it's unequivocally there, because we sent it."

Schuerger has studied sterilisation techniques used on spacecraft, including the two NASA rovers currently exploring Mars, and claims most of the spacecraft that have been sent to land on Mars have not been adequately sterilised to remove all earthly microbes. Therefore, some bacteria could have survived the journey and still be alive on Mars now. Water repellent surfaces on some spacecraft could help microbes survive by causing water droplets on the surface to shrink and concentrate the microbes. Mars scientists claim to have found evidence that a sea of acid briny water once existed on Mars. If any liquid brine remains it is possible that some micro-organisms could survive in this, although Jeff Kargel of the US geological Survey suggests any remaining briny ponds are too cold and too acid for earth microbes - it would be like living in sulphuric acid at minus 70 degrees Centigrade.

Editorial Comment: Schuerger's belief in the extraordinary survival power of bacteria is not completely far-fetched. Some bacteria named Streptococcus mitus were accidently sent to the moon in the foam insulation inside a camera on Surveyor 3, and brought back to earth by Apollo 12 astronauts two and a half years later. There is a bacterium named Deinococcus radiodurans, which can survive radiation doses 3000 times the dose that would kill a human in space. Other bacteria have been found preserved in salt crystals believed by evolutionists to be millions of years old. However, being able to survive in an environment is no proof that organisms evolved in that environment. The only place bacteria are known to grow and reproduce is on earth in moist conditions, and no-one has actually found any water on Mars - yet - just rock formations that could have been formed by fluids. Since a fluid is any liquid or gas that is flowing, water is only one type of fluid. (Ref. Mars, bacteria, space)

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