You lean over and tell your mate, "it's aliens, right? It's just gotta be..."
And you did it.
You perpetuated nonsense.
Well, not nonsense. But you damn well jumped the gun on claiming possibly the biggest blow to creationist theory in the history of human history. And to a staunch defender of science, that's almost as bad.
According to a recent study, there's evidence of mushroom-like life on Mars. These features are well known, and they were spotted by the cameras on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shortly after it landed in 2004.
Scientists don't know where they came from, but they're "hematite concretions" - small, sphere-like pieces of the mineral hematite. There's a commercially important iron-oxygen compound called hematite. It's possible that the spherical rocks on Mars were formed by gradual accumulation in slowly evaporating liquid water. Volcanic activity might have created them too.
Either way, it ain't mushrooms. They're all over Opportunity's landing site, buried under the soil, and even in the rocks.
This astoundingly vast leap of logic was posted by popular mechanics.com
This isn't the first time someone's claimed alien life. During a speech at the White House in 1996, Bill Clinton announced that scientists had possibly discovered fossilized microorganisms in a meteorite that had been recovered from Antarctica in 1984.
ALH 84001 is one of only a few rocks we have from Mars. By volcanic eruptions or meteorite impacts, they were blasted off the surface of the planet and drifted through space for millions of years before ending up on Earth.
With powerful microscopes, scientists have discovered structures that resemble microscopic worm-like organisms and are likely to be billions of years old. It is still debated how these structures were formed - many scientists have pointed out that well-known inorganic processes can produce structures that resemble living organisms. In other words, just because it looks like life (mushrooms or otherwise), doesn't mean it is.
Mars "Breathing" & Farts
Does this mean microbes live on Mars? The survey says, "dunno."
In the 1970s NASA's Viking robot landed on Mars and carried out experiments to see if microbes lived there.
Small samples of Martian soil were chemically treated in reaction chambers on the landers. One of them had radioactive carbon-14 added to the soil samples. Microbes should eat this, because they're growing and multiplying. Over time, the carbon-14 in the reaction chamber would be "breathed out" as it is "exhaled".
Following the chemical analysis, each soil sample was heated to hundreds of degrees for a period of time to see if any reactions in the soil stopped. Interesting enough, this experiment did show a steady increase in carbon-14 over time that lasted until it was heated above boiling point. There have been several inorganic chemical reactions proposed as explanations. As a result, the results aren't conclusive and are still being debated.
Methane a sign of life on Mars? Not all farts are farts, even if they smell like it...
The Martian atmosphere has recently been found to have minute amounts of methane. Methane is also known to be released by living organisms on Earth. Nonetheless, it must be stressed that this is not conclusive proof that life exists. Inorganic processes can also produce methane, like heated rock.
Super interesting, but inconclusive.
A powerful signal that lasted just a few minutes and spanned a narrow band of frequencies. A mystery still unsolved to this day.
A radio signal was picked up by the Big Ear radio telescope in the US in 1977. It was a very powerful signal that lasted just a few minutes and spanned a narrow band of frequencies. Because of these factors, it's hard to think of a natural cause, since most natural radio sources can be picked up across a wide range of frequencies.
Despite frequent radio surveys of the same part of the sky, the exact signal hasn't been found since. Jerry Ehman, the astronomer on duty at the time, circled the printout of the signal with a red pen and wrote "Wow!" next to it.
Over the years, various explanations have been proposed, including that the signal was generated by a passing comet or a transmission from a satellite orbiting Earth. It's not clear where the Wow! came from. There's still no agreement on the signal today and it's still a mystery.
Sorry. No alien megastructures here...
Planet hunters use the dimming method, which is observing light from a star to see if it dips periodically as a planet passes in front of it. In 2015, professional astronomers and citizen scientists discovered a nearby star exhibiting unusually strong and consistent dimming over time.
As a result of her discovery, the star is named after astronomer Tabitha Boyajian. Kepler's data showed not just a regular dimming as one might expect from the orbit of a planet, but also highly irregular dips in light as well as, more interestingly, a consistent decrease in light output over several years.
There are a lot of theories about why the star behaves like this, including cometary dust or debris from a massive impact gradually covering its face. There have also been some theories that these are signs of an advanced alien species building a structure around the star. Further observations have found no corroborating evidence for this theory. Radio telescopes, for example, haven't detected anything unusual from this star. Today, scientists think the unusual dips in light are caused by clouds of cosmic dust passing across the star's surface.
As exciting as they can be, alien life claims need to be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism, and scientists are doing just that. So far, there's no conclusive evidence that extraterrestrial life exists.
But all we can do is keep probing into the deep unknown…
And hope we reach someone receptive to our message.
Thanks for reading!
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