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Old March 13 2013, 04:00 PM   #7
RoJoHen
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Re: NASA: Ancient Mars could have supported life!

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
RoJoHen wrote: View Post
Yeah, as soon as they discovered water I thought this was a given.
Sorry, no.

In science, just because something may be unsurprising given a trend in recent discoveries, it is not the same as being "a given."

In particular, just because it was already known that important necessary chemicals and conditions were present for life as we understand it, it doesn't follow from that alone that there weren't other chemicals or aspects of the environment which might have precluded life. Indeed, the article says:
article wrote:
This ancient wet environment, unlike some others on Mars, was not harshly oxidizing, acidic or extremely salty.
Those are some of the new results.

Also both promising and significant is:

article wrote:
Scientists were surprised to find a mixture of oxidized, less-oxidized, and even non-oxidized chemicals, providing an energy gradient of the sort many microbes on Earth exploit to live. This partial oxidation was first hinted at when the drill cuttings were revealed to be gray rather than red.
This is conformation that Curiosity is in the right spot to be exploring for evidence of life as we understand it.

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It's cool that they're still continuing to gather more data, though.
One reason scientists are still gathering data is because the existence of life at any point in the history of Mars is still not given.
Never said the existence of life was a given, just that the possibility of life was a given.
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