Monday, October 14, 2002

Slashdot points me to an article about the possibility of microbial life on Venus . The opinion of biologists on the likelihood life in hostile environments has changed in recent years. Life has been discovered in more and more hostile environments on earth (such as in the vents of volcanoes five kilometres below the surface of the ocean, far from conventional sources of sunlight and oxygen). Given that there are other environments in the solar system that are less hostile, the question as to whether there is life elsewhere in the solar system has come back into play. The question of course is whether life can actually evolve in these sort of environments from scratch, or only evolve from other life forms that have come into existence in less hostile environment. Many molecular biologists seem to think that the chemical processes necessary from evolution from scratch probably can occur in some of these hostile environements, and this has led to much speculation as to life in the rest of the solar system. (20 years ago, most people seemed to have ruled it out). It isn't likely to be very exciting life, but it is life. So we have people looking and speculating about life in the oceans of Europa, on Mars, on Titan, even on Pluto, and now Venus. I will believe it when I see conclusive evidence, because I think some of the people looking perhaps want to find it a bit too much, but this is interesting.

Of course, I think these are interesting questions, because today I think that emigrating to Mars might be the best hope for some of us, and we need to know the answer before we go.

No comments:

Blog Archive