Look at Earth from a Martian perspective

21.02.2015 15:07

Todd Huffman says we should refrain from
sending humans to Mars until it can be
determined if Mars has an independent
biosphere of its own ( Letters, 18 February).
This is wrong for two reasons. First, if life
of any description is found on Mars, it is
virtually certain to be related to life in
Earth’s biosphere due to the two planets
exchanging rocks through asteroids and
cometary impacts. Indeed, it has been
suggested that, in the early history of the
solar system, Mars may have been a more
life-friendly planet than Earth and could
well be where life originated before being
transported to Earth.
Secondly, if there is any life on Mars it is
almost certain to be no more advanced
than a bacterium or at best a worm. Surely
a project as exciting as sending humans to
Mars should not be cancelled for fear of
upsetting a few hypothetical worms or
bacteria, which, even if they do exist, will
already have had contamination from
Earth’s biosphere, through natural
exchange of crustal material between both
David Moth
Braintree, Essex
Nothing interesting is happening on
Mars. When Nasa asked James Lovelock
about life on Mars, he reversed the
question, asking: “If one were on Mars
could one deduce anything about Earth?”
The answer is that even from Mars it
would be obvious that something very
unusual was happening here. Our highly
unstable atmosphere could not persist for
long unless it was being continuously
replaced by a vast mass of living
From this distance we can analyse the
Martian atmosphere and deduce that
sending humans to Mars is a total waste of
resources. It would be better to learn
something about sustaining life on Earth.