Latest on Mars: NASA's Mars 2020 mission will try to answer quite a few questions about the red planet.
One of the most pressing obviously concerns the possibility that there are forms of life on Mars, or that Mars has hosted life forms. The very latest images of the various rovers (from 2018 onwards more and more pregnant) would seem to dispel the mystery and comfort in which way this thesis.
Latest NASA news on Mars: it is a largely arid planet, but there are also obvious traces of the past existence of water, in addition to deposits highlighted by recent research.
I don't think we're prepared for such a thing. No, we are notJim Green, NASA Chief Scientific Officer
These elements linked to the latest photographs and the latest discoveries on Mars have made way for the possibility that there are other signs on the planet to be grasped, that in short there is life on Mars: vehicles and landers will be there to find it, finding it among all the anomalies who periodically pass in front of Curiosity and fellow rover.
What if we find it?
We are and will be there (also) to look for evidence of life on Mars, the clues seem to be all there. But what if we find them? If there was still life, how would humanity react?
In an interview with the TelegraphChief Scientist at NASA Jim Green made an announcement in no uncertain terms, saying we are not ready to accept the idea of alien life on Mars.
Part of the Mars 2020 mission is preparing samples of Martian material to bring them to Earth. The latest news from NASA says it could contain evidence, after so many mysteries and clues, of what science has been looking for on the red planet for years and what new discoveries on Mars hint at. If the next NASA mission (or perhaps the European Space Agency's ExoMars mission) is lucky, the same rovers on site could confirm the presence of life on Mars, even before the soil samples return.
And at that point?
"It would be revolutionary," Green says. “It would kick-start a whole new branch of thought and research. I don't think we're prepared for such a thing. No, we are not".
Green believes that finding unambiguous signs of life on Mars, past or present, would open up a universe of new questions that we are absolutely unable to answer. The space news coming to us (edit: the latest discovery on Mars is just that there are those who take past and present life for granted) are quite dense.
Latest from Mars
(update of 27 April 2020) Beyond the NASA discoveries and the latest images of Mars, there is the coronavirus issue. Among the mysteries on Mars there is now the one on the Mars 2020 mission. The latest news from Mars says yes, and with a special helicopter, which will allow humans to proceed to first controlled flight to another planet.
A test for Faith
There are, of course, perspectives and implications also in the field of religion and society. The origins of life on Earth are still today a subject of debate among creationists, evolutionists and theorists of all sorts. A not insignificant number of people try to do more or less serious research on an extraterrestrial origin of the human species. Another not insignificant group of people believe that the Earth is flat (I don't put them on the same level, I just say they are there too).
For Green, ultimately finding alien life in another world would give way to an incredible chaos of new beliefs, life philosophies and conspiracy theories whose impact on society is absolutely unpredictable. The latest news on Mars has been greeted with a mixture of indifference and enthusiasm, but can we say that it has really become mainstream? The world spends time between politicians' tweets and talent shows, but if life on Mars was discovered, music would change a lot.
Maybe he's right
Green may be right: maybe humanity is not ready to manage the implications of life on Mars, maybe it needs to be slowly prepared to accept it.
But science is waiting for no one, and these NASA discoveries on Mars sooner or later will present us with evidence to contend with.