Flowing water on Mars?

October 6, 2015 by Joshua
in Nature

People mention my PhD in astrophysics and ask me about scientific discoveries. Lately that meant asking about the possibility of flowing water and life on Mars.

My work—high-energy particle physics followed by helping build an x-ray observational satellite—barely touched on observing and exploring planets. For that matter, at this stage of our ability to explore off our planet, I prefer putting resources into non-manned exploration over manned. I don’t see great value in putting people into space relative to what unmanned expeditions could achieve and I see great costs and risks.

As for the possibility of finding life on Mars, or anywhere besides Earth, I would rank it as one of the most important discoveries ever, even if it were a simple life form. Or even just as self-replicating complex molecule. I’ve always loved physics most of all the sciences, though Darwin’s discoveries compete.

But discovering life on other planets, Mars or orbiting a star besides our Sun… I can’t imagine what we could learn or where it would lead.

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