Motherfucking Aliens

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PhantomReality
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Motherfucking Aliens

Postby PhantomReality » Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:04 pm UTC

So my astronomy professor is geeking out before my very eyes right now. It's great. We're talking about life on mars and watching "Cosmos" the Carl Sagan TV series from the 70's. He (my professor) thinks and claims that the scientific community thinks, that there's a 50-50 chance of microbial life being present in water below the surface of mars.

I did not realize this was the case, but lets talk hypothetically for a moment. If we get consequential irrefutable evidence that there IS microbial life on mars, do you think...for lack of a better way of saying it...anybody will give a shit? I would hope that, you know, we as a planet would take the event in stride and use it to unify ourselves...but nah. I really think nobody will care.


What do you guys think?
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Xanthir » Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:14 pm UTC

Nobody will care (in a broad sense). Nobody gives a fuck about microbes.

Maybe if they discovered puppies on mars.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby EdgarJPublius » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:13 pm UTC

Microbial martians could help us increase our understanding of how life came about on this planet, as well as other scientific benefits, probably on scale with the study of archaeobacteria.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:17 pm UTC

I think it would be way above and beyond anything we can discover by looking at life on Earth. If it can be shown that Martian microbes are related to the ones on Earth, it means one planet seeded the other, or both were seeded by the same third source, which would be huge. Or if they aren't related, then we have life that took a completely different evolutionary path, which would also be huge.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Xanthir » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:30 pm UTC

Well of course scientists would care. The OP was talking about people, though.

Scientists aren't people.

Puppies, though, would get media coverage.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby DarkKnightJared » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:45 pm UTC

The layman wouldn't really care about microbes, I'd imagine. If they were your stereotypical gray humanoids with huge heads, THEN the world will sit up and take notice.

Yeah, same if they were puppies. Puppies with ray guns talking about taking over the world. Diabolitical--and cute.

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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Matsi » Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:56 pm UTC

I am not a scientist and I would care. But then again, I am a geek, so I guess that lumps me in with the scientific crowd concerning this subject.

I think it would make headlines in mainstream media though if some form of microbe got discovered on another planet/moon and it is confirmed it's native to that place. Wildly exaggerated headlines probably, but it would get some attention.

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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Mr. Beck » Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:57 pm UTC

Uhhh....
Do any of you guys remember how much the public got exited when there was a possiblity that we had found fossil microbes on mars?
It would be huge for everyone.

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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby blakat1313 » Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:03 am UTC

I agree that people would care. First off, fundamental religious types would take notice because the microbes weren't mentioned in the bible. (only says he put anything on earth) Geneticists would take notice because it could either confirm that all life must have DNA (and give us some new sequences to jack from them) or prove that only life on earth evolved with DNA, allowing for a change in the theory of evolution and inheritance. Obviously, the CDC would have a field day trying to find out if the new microbes would be a threat to people and if it should be taken off of the planet. Even a few microbes would be a huge deal.

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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:21 am UTC

It would be a big deal for a few months. Then the public would file it away as something interesting that doesn't apply to them, and the intellectuals would have at it from there.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby morvita » Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:40 am UTC

As much as it saddens me to say this, I agree with Sir_Elderberry. (no offense meant to you, more the fact that what you said is true) As we have seen before, any major discovery concerning Mars is a big deal in the media for a little while, until they find something more interesting to the general public to report on. Remember what it was like when the rovers discovered the "blueberries" on Mars a few years ago? All over the news for a few weeks, might have even made the cover story of one of the news magazines, then disappeared. I expect it would be like this with microbes found as well.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby blakat1313 » Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:47 am UTC

If the microbes continue to have an effect (which they probably would) it could counter the general short attention span of the media. The other Mars news left the media eye after a while because it quit affecting people. The microbes would have an impact for years, they could even revolutionize a few fields of science. (wow, I sound like a nut-job)

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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:55 am UTC

blakat1313 wrote:If the microbes continue to have an effect (which they probably would) it could counter the general short attention span of the media. The other Mars news left the media eye after a while because it quit affecting people. The microbes would have an impact for years, they could even revolutionize a few fields of science. (wow, I sound like a nut-job)


They'd have philosophical implications. They'd have historical, genetic, biological, astronomical impacts. But on the average person? The average person has a job, has children to feed, etc. Most of them would be very interested--because people tend to be curious and this would fascinate people--but once the event itself is over, the ramifications would unfold slowly and mostly out of public eye, mostly, popping back into the news whenever a major breakthrough was traced to them, and not much else.

Or maybe it would completely transform how the human race thinks of itself as a species. They can be surprising things, people.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby blakat1313 » Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:57 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:Or maybe it would completely transform how the human race thinks of itself as a species. They can be surprising things, people.

Honestly, that's more what I'm banking on. This is an extraterrestrial species. Simple or not, it's going to make a difference and it's going to be a big difference.

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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby AceMngy » Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:46 am UTC

I agree with the crowd that says it would have a big impact on the normal person, hell even our culture. Because no matter what type of life you find on Mars, it's going to completely redefine several fields of science. There would be entire careers made studying how our view of the universe has to be changed.

Remember how Einstein was a celebrity and a household name? Physics was reborn essentially overnight, and the entire field had to be completely redone. General relativity probably would have the least impact on Mr. 9 to 5 "normal" guy that you could think of, yet the normal folk still practically worshiped him.

Like gmalivuk put it: Science proving that either A.) Life started on Mars or Earth and seeded the other, showing life can travel through space naturally B.) Life came from a third source, huge implications, or C.) Life evolved independently on two planets within the same solar system, meaning the entire galaxy is teeming with life

That would certainly catch the publics attention for a while I think.

(And in addition, remember all these other media hypes about mars? Remember that they all died off because nothing truly conclusive came from it. If we could show there definitely was/has been life on mars, hell even grow it in a petri dish, there'd be a bunch of hype until we figured out how it got there.)

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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Mzyxptlk » Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:04 am UTC

People would care in a "hey that's pretty cool" kind of way. Scientists would care in a "woah this changes everything we know" kind of way. Politicians would claim they cared to rack in the votes. The child starving in Sudan probably wouldn't care. Nothing would change.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Solt » Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:48 am UTC

Man, the evolutionary biologists would have a fucking field day. If it were related to the life on earth, they could use their magical abilities to divine exactly how related and the geophysicists/astronomers would take it from there. If it weren't related at all the biologists would basically shit themselves for the chance to see something completely alien. This would be text-book chapters within 5 years, new fields of study, resurgence in science program enrollment, Nobel prizes all around kind of stuff. Not to mention the medical/technical advances just waiting to happen. If they can make super cancer fighting drugs from some random yak and pain killers from random trees, imagine what they might be able to do after inspecting the life cycle of a truly alien life form.

And who the hell cares what the public thinks? Is that why we do science?
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:45 pm UTC

No, science isn't done to amuse the public, but the topic isn't about why we do science, rather, it's about how people would react.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby MoD » Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:58 am UTC

I, for one, would stay at home for a few days faking a nasty bug I picked up somewhere between here and fifty miles underneath Olympus Mons.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby PhantomReality » Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:27 am UTC

Mzyxptlk wrote:People would care in a "hey that's pretty cool" kind of way. Scientists would care in a "woah this changes everything we know" kind of way. Politicians would claim they cared to rack in the votes. The child starving in Sudan probably wouldn't care. Nothing would change.



That last bit is terribly saddening and terribly true. The starving children in Sudan really WOULDN'T give a shit nor would the discovery help them in any way.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby roundedge » Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:11 am UTC

I think you have to think about this from a statistical perspective. I think there are very few subjects that actually interest the 'average' person, as in, for any given topic you'll find that very rarely will it be of interest to the majority of the world's population, science even more so. However, I believe that of all scientific discoveries in history, the discovery of any kind of extraterrestrial life would be the quickest to enter the public discourse (ie. popular media, and thus the dinner tables of the modern world), and saturate that discourse most thoroughly. This is partly because of the timing (had the geocentric model been shattered at the same time, there might have been a contender). However the reason is primarily because it would be very easy and interesting to talk about it, and it forces a paradigm shift in cosmological thinking that a majority of the worlds population simply haven't embraced yet, the likely hood that the universe is probably full of extraterrestrial life.

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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Minerva » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:49 am UTC

The discovery of life on another world would mean, once and for all, that there is absolutely nothing special about Earth. It would mean the deprovincialisation of our planet.

Oh, incidentally:

Carl Sagan wrote:If there is life on Mars, I believe we should do nothing with Mars. Mars then belongs to the Martians, even if they are only microbes.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Mzyxptlk » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:52 am UTC

If microbes have rights, antibiotics should be illegal. Why should microbes from Mars have any more rights than microbes from Earth?
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Tac-Tics » Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:39 pm UTC

Mzyxptlk wrote:If microbes have rights, antibiotics should be illegal. Why should microbes from Mars have any more rights than microbes from Earth?


They are on the endangered species list.

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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby oxoiron » Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:22 pm UTC

For all we know, the putative microbes on Mars could so completely different that life from Earth cannot even biologically interact with them. I for one hope that is the case. I would love to see how the Biblical literalists would spin that one.
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Re: Motherfucking Aliens

Postby Jebobek » Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:00 pm UTC

Just throwing out that its not the end of the scientific world of we cannot prove that our life originated from another planet species. It has been proven that an electric charge can create molecular predecessors to living beings. Heck I learned this way back in my general biology course. I'll link an article if I can find it.

So on earth we may have had:
    -Lightning goes off in the right location
    -Molecular Predecessors are formed
    -Molecular Predecessors self-assemble into early RNA Predecessors
    -RNA predessors self-assemble
    -RNA predessor assembly luckily surrounded by a bubble of lipids.
    -First early cell is born

Although it takes billions of years for everything to work perfectly, this in itself shows a possibility that It could have happened somewhere else. There are so many planets out there that the chances for this to happen somewhere else is quite reasonable. The problem is that the chances of us finding it or getting there is non-feasable unless we harness better technology.

So if life came from Mars, cool. If not, its alright, there are other possibilities.
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