DailyDirt: Life On Other Worlds
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The origin of life is a pretty enormous mystery. There are several theories for how life might have come about, but it's difficult to design experiments to narrow down these options. In the meantime, researchers continue to look for clues and evidence for life that didn't originate on our planet. Here are just a few examples that could one day lead us in the right direction.
- Meteorite fragments found in Sri Lanka *might* contain extra-terrestrial fossils -- if you kinda squint and tilt your head, the algae-like fossils support a panspermia theory for the origin of life. This isn't the first time a peer-reviewed journal has published a story like this, and it won't be the last. The real question is when will these papers actually be convincing to skeptics.... [url]
- In 1996, a rock named ALH84001 made a lot more headlines when scientists claimed that it might contain evidence of life from Mars in the form of microfossils. Since then, the ALH84001 debate seems to have settled on the view that those small fossils weren't necessarily created by ET life, and the media hoopla re-affirmed that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." [url]
- Maybe we'll see evidence of life outside our solar system by looking for evidence of asteroid mining operations around other stars -- if we see unusual amounts of dusty debris, it could mean intelligence life has been exploring for interplanetary resources. It might be hard to determine the difference between natural and unnatural debris, though. [url]
- NASA's Curiosity rover has discovered that Mars once had an environment suitable for life. This is an important find, and it raises questions of why Mars doesn't seem to have ubiquitous life now. [url]