Monday, April 19, 2004

Martian Invasion!

A really very interesting op-ed in the New York Times today. Teaser:
Certainly, the idea that Mars once harbored life no longer seems absurd ... there are several reasons to suppose that life, if it was ever there, could persist to this day. Finding life on Mars obviously would be thrilling. ... But the possibility of life on Mars also suggests that we should approach the place with caution. ... The history of first-time meetings between organisms is a sobering one. When the Spanish came to the New World, they brought smallpox and measles, which killed 90 percent of the people in Mexico within 50 years. H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, crossed into humans from chimpanzees. ... Nor is it just viruses that are troublesome. When animals and plants arrive in a new place, they can have devastating effects, destroying crops and extinguishing native species. Given this, it seems rash even to entertain the notion of bringing Martian rock samples to Earth.
I found it interesting so I thought I'd post it. One of these days, I'll post more than just a link to something interesting here.

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