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Stu
Things are a bit quiet at the moment Mars-wise, with Spirit and Oppy taking it easy and Phoenix still a couple of months away from Pads Down, so how about a little game of What If..?

What do you think would have happened - follow up missions, effect on Mars exploration, NASA's development etc - if...

One of the Vikings had found primitive life on Mars in 1976..?

Pathfinder had failed..?

Beagle 2 had found life on Mars..?

One of the MERs had failed?

That asteroid HAD hit Mars..?

... or any ideas of your own..?

Go on, just a bit of fun... smile.gif
volcanopele
One of the Vikings had found primitive life on Mars in 1976..?
I would be studying Io and Titan from the research station at Arsia Mons.

Pathfinder had failed..?
We would have two very nice stationary landers functioning on Mars.

Beagle 2 had found life on Mars..?
There would be two additional Europeans on the first manned mission to Mars planned for launch in 2010

One of the MERs had failed?
Opportunity would have just reached Vostok right about now

That asteroid HAD hit Mars..?
The HiRISE team would be showing off a cool image of a fresh crater on Mars during this week's LPSC
djellison
QUOTE (Stu @ Mar 10 2008, 10:30 AM) *
Beagle 2 had found life on Mars..?



There would be no UMSF, because I'd have been happily talking about B2 in the Yahoo group I formed in about Aug 2003. ohmy.gif

Doug
JRehling
QUOTE (Stu @ Mar 10 2008, 03:30 AM) *
One of the Vikings had found primitive life on Mars in 1976..?


This counterfactual interlocks with the martian meteorites, although of course, they would not have been identified for some time after 1976 anyway. But if there was life there for the Vikings, would it also have been found in the meteorites when they were examined?

To me, one of the interesting issues here is that finding life on Mars may mean LESS Mars exploration than not finding life on Mars, at least over some possible future courses. If we find life on Mars, we'll be curious as hell about examining it, and there'll be protection issues, but the path forward if life is found there will involve inspecting those bugs. All of a sudden, Mars the planet will become spectacularly less interesting. We might want to survey Mars more to find possible biodiversity there, but we would stop looking to FIND life. The philosophical question would suddenly be done and gone.

As in striptease, Mars will keep our interest longer if the discovery of life there seems always right around the corner, but never arrives. If every mission leads to the conclusion "Well, we didn't find it this time, but now we have reason to believe we'll find it if we just try ONE MORE TIME." And that keeps happening.

If we find it, then Mars just becomes an Arizona that is more expensive to explore. Arizona has bacteria. Arizona has layers of rock. We don't need to spend $2 billion to explore Arizona, and if we did need to, we wouldn't. We'd just explore New Mexico instead. If Mars "Arizonaizes" itself, it stops earning the billion dollar budgets.
ElkGroveDan
QUOTE (Stu @ Mar 10 2008, 02:30 AM) *
One of the Vikings had found primitive life on Mars in 1976..?


After The Great Quarantine Failure of 1987, we would all have green patches in place of our eyes and living in dreary symbiotic harmony.
volcanopele
Though if you want to give me 2 billion dollars for going outside, I won't complain... tongue.gif
ngunn
QUOTE (djellison @ Mar 10 2008, 04:55 PM) *
There would be no UMSF


Phew! Disaster narrowly averted there . . .
Doc
QUOTE (djellison @ Mar 10 2008, 07:55 PM) *
There would be no UMSF....

Doug


So I take it the loss of Beagle 2 was a necessary tragedy?
Its funny how life plays its game rolleyes.gif
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