I probably shouldn’t post about this, as we have no hard evidence (yet) that life ever existed on Mars – we’re pretty certain that it could have, and probably did at some point… but we don’t know for sure. Remember those “bacteria” they found in Martian rocks about ten years back? They couldn’t prove conclusively that the marks were nothing more than round glitches, so we’re back to square one: no signs of life on Mars yet.
I probably also shouldn’t post about this because I’m not a big fan of space travel. I think exploring the universe with robots and rovers is fantastic, and teaches us so many valuable lessons. But sending people into space at this point would be nothing more than irresponsible.
When Bush announced that he wanted to send the first human to Mars, at the tune of at least a trillion dollars (but let’s be honest – there’s no way they would be able to stay within budget), I was appalled. Send a human to Mars? When we have no evidence yet that anything is alive there – and if it was, would be microscopic? When the Earth – where every single living thing we’ve ever known lives – is in the middle of a catastrophic diversity crisis? With money we could use to save the Amazon, rescue Madagascar and Papua New Guinea from becoming barren, tackle global warming, and do countless other things to keep our own planet from becoming a hot, desertified, lonely wasteland, populated only by humans, rats, and cockroaches?
So I probably shouldn’t write about this – I don’t want to encourage people to think that Mars is such a cool place that we should try and visit anytime soon.
But I can’t resist. This video from NASA of the Mariner Trench is just too cool.