Yesterday, in a news conference of scientists working on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) project, the announcement was made that the results of recent rock drilling operations on Mars have revealed that “ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.”
The results were reported by a team of scientists working with the MSL “Curiosity” rover, which has been exploring a region around Gale Crater on Mars where conclusive proof that flowing water was abundant in this location on the red planet was confirmed. The scientists DID NOT state that they have discovered proof that life once existed on Mars, but that they have found proof that a water-rich environment in which pH levels that were consistent with what Earth-based life forms require in order to live were, indeed discovered. ” ‘We have characterized a very ancient, but strangely new ‘gray Mars’ where conditions once were favorable for life,’ said John Grotzinger, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.”
Scientists showed slides and photographs comparing two distinct water-rich environments discovered by NASA’s rovers in widely-separated locations on Mars: the location in Gale Crater where “Curiosity” is currently exploring, and the area where the earlier expeditions of the “Opportunity” and “Spirit” rovers discovered water-rich environments.
Although rock formations in both locations showed visually similar sedimentary rocks, the watery environment where “Opportunity” explored at Meridiani Planum in Endurance Crater was found to have contained water of a pH level too high to sustain life forms of an Earth-like nature. “The Meridiani rocks record an ancient aqueous environment that likely was not habitable due the extremely high acidity of the water, the very limited chemical gradients that would have restricted energy available, and the extreme salinity that would have impeded microbial metabolism — if microrganisms had ever been present”.
This is obviously very exciting news and brings us one step closer to the discovery of actual evidence of life on Mars.
Whether or not life ever existed on Mars is really not that important. The fact is that it’s obvious that Mars, for whatever reason, could not support Earth-like life forms under the conditions which exist there today. The environmental conditions we have discovered already on Mars, as well as on Earth’s other, uninhabitable planetary neighbor, Venus, prove just how fortunate we are to have the amazing planet Earth to live on, and how delicate is the balance between all the elements necessary for advanced life forms to exist on any planet “lucky” enough to orbit within a star’s “habitable zone”.
This is why we support the idea of abolishing the capitalist economic system and replacing it with an egalitarian socialist planned economic system. The development of capitalism long ago reached the limits of its progressive character. Placing the interests of a handful of competing entreprenurial billionaires above the interests of the billions of people living on this planet simply makes no sense at all. These billionaires, organized as they are in competing nation-states, armed to the hilt with weapons of mass destruction endlessly fight over the limited natural resources available to us all. Their struggles to pursue selfish ends have already produced two savage World Wars, and today threaten to plunge the world into a nuclear holocaust that could send human civilization, in the short term, back to pre-industrial levels of development – and destroy the delicate balance of Earth’s environment upon which all life forms on this planet depend. For our civilization to allow a handful of greedheads to plunge this world into a death-spiral would be the greatest tragedy possible to imagine – and we have the power to prevent this from happening – but not if we allow human society to remain organized into competing capitalist nation-states. That way lies World War Three. As socialists we must warn our fellow human beings: you have a choice between socialism or barbarism. Which will you choose?
If we as a civilization “decide” to stick with the greed system, we believe we will be “deciding” to wipe out life – or at least human life – on this planet. That is unacceptable to us, and it should be unacceptable to you as well.
Workers of the World, Unite!