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Life on Mars – 60 Second Adventures in Astronomy (6/14)


60-Second Adventures in Astronomy. Number
6: Life on Mars. For centuries writers, astronomers and David Bowie have been
asking is there life on Mars? The idea that we’re alone in the universe seems
incredible, so people have dreamed up all types of alien. We know there aren’t any
bug-eyed monsters on Mars but it does have a lot of places where microbes
could live. This may inspire a low-budget movie, but crucially if life on Mars
started independently from life on Earth then it’s much more likely that it could
also start in other places in the universe. But over billions of years
spent with asteroids crashing into them Earth and Mars have exchanged more
pieces of rock than geologists at Christmas and those rocks could carry
microbes from one to the other, meaning any life on Mars could have come from
Earth in the first place. So it would tell us nothing about the likelihood of
life originating on the planets of other stars. Though it would pose another
question, did life on Mars come from Earth or did life on Earth originally
come from Mars? In which case, Martians could be a lot
closer to home than we thought!

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