The scientific community has been celebrating this week the revelation that flowing water has been found on Mars. I guess this is a big deal, but for one reason or another I am less impressed. The satire news site, The Onion, pretty much summed up my feelings when they wrote an article demanding NASA stop holding news conferences until they discover little green men. I get it, there is water and water is needed to sustain life. So if there is water, then there might be life. Personally, I’d rather they turn that water into the Universe’s first Martian Bourbon than to discover the little Alien creatures that will probably kill us all one day. But fear not, I’ll just enjoy some of Kentucky’s finest while the Martians kill us all. But that leads us to some pretty important question that might need a little hashing out. Shall we?
Does Life On Mars Change Earth?
That is, what would it actually mean for us here on Earth if life in some microbiological form exists on Mars? For if you subscribe to the belief that life on earth is merely the result a statistical anomaly in a random expanding universe, then why wouldn’t it be elsewhere? Perhaps it was there from the start or perhaps it is just some of our left over “life ooze” that was jettisoned into space. But in either case, is it significant that it is there or significant that we finally found it?
Then if you belong to a particular religion, does it have any implications for you? For the creator of the Earth certainly wouldn’t have a problem dapping a little life onto Mars as well. But what does that mean for our worldviews that we hold dear here on Earth? In the end, it is just a scientific fact that life is either there or it is not. And short of little green men zapping us all with their ray guns, for at least our lifetime, does it really matter?
What do we do with it?
That would be the next question. For the longest time, as evidence by my examples above, we have assumed a technologically superior species of Alien would come in and kill us all. Either that or just a very primitive monster like species that can apparently fly spaceships too. But what if that were us? What if to this new lifeform that could be discovered, we are actually they ones coming in with our probes and scooping their microbial brains into petri dishes for our enlightenment?
After all, these are alien lifeforms and who is to say they must take on a human like appearance to be sentient. What if the ooze is not only alive but aware? Granted, I still think we should make bourbon out of their watery habitat, but what if that means we scoop them up with it? Mmmmm, fermented Martian sounds delicious! But honestly, if we discover life on this planet, surely we are bound to study it and experiment with it. I simply don’t see a scenario where we leave it alone while we share the Martian lands together. Is that right? Is it ethical? Simple questions, but not so simple answers. Does life on Mars matter for our lifetime and what in the world should we do with it when we find it? Well, no answers from me as it is your job to hash it out. I’ll weigh in later after a little more of Kentucky’s finest. After all, it’s when I do my best thinking.
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