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April 5, 2002

Green Mars? I have no idea how substantial this is, but it’s plenty intriguing. (Thanks to Erik V. Olson for spotting it.) [07:30 PM]
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Comments on Green Mars?:

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2002, 10:11 PM:

And thanks for posting it. The upshot is that if it is true -- if they have detected chlorophyll on Mars, then the chance of there being life on Mars goes from very small to very large indeed.

Mike Scott ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2002, 01:17 AM:

I think it would also make it highly likely that there was a single origin for Earth and Mars life, and it somehow got from one to the other. As far as I know there are plenty of organic molecules that could do the same job as chlorophyll, and no particular reason for it to evolve independently.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2002, 01:16 PM:

Good point. Chlorophyll isn't a simple compound. If it turns out that life on Earth and Mars was seeded from a common source, that's even more staggering.

Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2002, 01:31 PM:

This is very interesting, if true. Carol Stoker (CNN mispelled her first name) is a very reputable researcher in this area.aaOne of the more amazing things is: How come the chlorophyll hasn't been/wasn't broken down by the incipient UV?aaCool!!!

Kent Roller ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2002, 08:00 PM:

Not that I'm a molecular biologist, Tim, but since C55H72MgN4O5's job is to absorb UV, why would it break down?aaAnd I question Mike and Erik's theory. Though I agree with Mike in a single origin for Earth and (possible) Mars life, the source was likely Earth. I believe in the Large Impact hypothesis of the creation of Earth's moon. Assuming that green plants (algae) had evolved on Earth prior to the Large Impact, it's possible that the ejecta seeded Mars.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2002, 11:22 PM:

I know I should *really* hate it when someone pisses on a perfectly good dream. Kent's absolutly right that a large impact (and you don't even need a large enough impact to create Earth's moon) could have kicked life out far enough to hit Mars -- much smaller impacts may have kicked Martian soil here.aaBut life could have gone the other way! (the LIT of the Moon's creation had the impact well before the belived evolution of life-one-earth anyway, as I understand it.)

Jay Manifold ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2002, 05:45 PM:

It's a very preliminary result with lots of problems. I was fortunate enough to get some additional info, which I blogged at http://avoyagetoarcturus.blogspot.com/2002_04_01_avoyagetoarcturus_archive.html#75199972. Enjoy!