We seem to be coming closer to discovering that the planet we call Earth is not the only place in the universe that supports life.

I am just wondering what you think the the religious creationists and fundamentalists would say if life was confirmed to exist off our small blue green planet?

I am sure they will find a reason for god to have made extraterrestrial life like god made coloured people in Africa so they could be slaves.

NASA's small step into Martian manure?
Richard Macey
August 6, 2008 - 6:25AM
Have they found poo on the Red Planet?

Space websites around the world are abuzz with speculation about what NASA's latest Mars probe may have found.

The excitement has been triggered by a report in the journal Aviation Week that the space agency alerted the White House to "major new Phoenix lander discoveries concerning the 'potential for life' ".

Jon Clarke, a geologist with Mars Society Australia, a group dedicated to Martian exploration, said the report had triggered a frenzy of interest. "Chat groups are all speculating about what it is," Dr Clarke said. "We have had emails flying backwards and forwards. Something is certainly in the breeze."

The magazine reports that the discovery was made by a Phoenix experiment package called the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyser, or MECA, which is designed to mix Martian soil with water brought from Earth.

In June NASA revealed the instrument had found Martian soil was not toxic, as had been thought, and could be used to grow crops such as asparagus.

Asked to speculate yesterday on what it may have now found, Dr Clarke said the instrument was designed, among other things, to spot dissolved ammonium and nitrate salts.

"On Earth, if you have a lot of ammonium and nitrate it usually means there is organic activity. We excrete it as waste and other organisms use it."

High volumes of such chemistry in a river could point to effluent run-off from a farm. While not life itself, "it could be a sign of biology. Ammonium nitrate is a fertiliser and if present might indicate greater habitability," Dr Clarke said.

NASA has said little about the claims, although it has used the social networking site Twitter to downplay the reports.

The Twitter site, where the Phoenix team has been posting text messages, says: "Heard about the recent news reports implying I may have found Martian life. Those reports are incorrect."

A later message adds: "Reports claiming there was a White House briefing are also untrue and incorrect."

But the magazine did not say it was life that had been discovered but evidence relating to the planet's "habitability".

Aviation Week strongly hinted that an announcement, which it said could be made next month, would be far more dramatic than last week's news that Phoenix had confirmed there is water ice on the planet.

Dr Clarke said the predicted announcement "obviously ... has to be bigger than the asparagus [announcement]". But it "could all be a storm in a tea cup". Just in case, "our ears are perked. We can't wait."

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Here's a link that pertains to this: http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/06/will-aliens-des.html#pre...

I read somewhere (can't remember) about the pope saying that findings of extra terrestrial life would not conflict with religion (at least catholicism).
Nitrates can be formed by electrostatic (lightning) action on Nitrogen, oxygen and water vapour. While not evident in the Martian atmosphere today, the presence of the red colour of Mars, caused by Iron Oxide suggests that free oxygen may have been present on Mars billions of years ago. So unfortunately there is a plausable explanation of the presence fo nitrates that does not depend on life.

Also as far as the creationists go, they can always rake up one of their old heratics, beatify him and say, "yeah, one of our lot came up with the idea of heliocentrism, extraterrestrial life and an infinate universe long before you Scientist heathens".

Our only real difficulty as a species comes if the Jehovah's Whitnesses or some other cult starts to proselytize the exterterrestrials and the aliens buy their crap. Then we are all doomed. Of course it would be a result if the aliens just vapourised the theists altogether.

On a more serious note, it is good to know your heratics!
I agree with cx2i3 on this one. The most common Christian response to First Contact would be the same as how they react to everything that contradicts their ridiculous belief system......denial.

Also, the fact that Martian soil is a conducive to agriculture is an incredibly exciting discovery. I would be thrilled to see a permanent colony on Mars in my lifetime!



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