Friday, November 23, 2012
Earth Trek Out of Darkness
Some of what the Mars Rover Curiosity has found is scientifically astounding, but according to a recent story at NPR, the biggest story can't yet be told. A scientist with the NASA program said that recent data suggests a discovery that will be of historic significance--but that it must be further evaluated before it's officially announced.
The news story suggests pretty clearly what that news could be: life on Mars. Probably not alive now, but evidence of past life. Or at least the organic constituents of life.
NASA is playing it cool now, even moving Curiosity to another site. But if such evidence has been discovered, it would be the biggest news story in human history (unless we make first contact before then.) Life has existed somewhere else. In the broadest sense, but a very profound one, we are not alone.
Then the immediate question would be: is it related to life as we know it on Earth? Or is it so different as to be alien? Either answer would be mind-boggling in a different way. (Although it may not be possible to answer that question yet.)
It may take several weeks to test this data. Which means that an announcement, if it comes, might be made very close to the winter solstice, and all the holidays that celebrate birth, life emerging from winter, life emerging from darkness.