extraterrestrial.pdf (application/pdf Object)
When water was discovered on Mars, people got very excited.
Where there is water, there may be life.
Scientists are planning new missions to study the planet up close.
NASA’s next Mars rover is scheduled to arrive in 2010.
In the decade following, a Mars Sample Return mission might be launched, which would
use robotic systems to collect samples of Martian rocks, soils, and atmosphere,
and return them to Earth. We could then analyze the sample to see if it contains any
traces of life, whether extinct or still active.
Such a discovery would be of tremendous scientific significance.
What could be more fascinating than discovering life that had evolved entirely
independently of life here on Earth? Many people would also find it heartening to
learn that we are not entirely alone in this vast cold cosmos.
But I hope that our Mars probes will discover nothing. It would be good news if we
find Mars to be completely sterile. Dead rocks and lifeless sands would lift my