NASA recently announced a breakthrough discovery in regards to ‘the search for extra terrestrial life’. When the announcement was made, the buzz on the internet was that a Mars Rover had finally discovered a microbe on Mars or something to that effect. I had to ask myself, what difference would it make to my beliefs if they actually did find microbial life on Mars or elsewhere? It would definitely present a quandary.
As it turned out, the announcement was about the discovery of a bacteria that used Arsenic in place of Phosphate in its bio-chemical processes. That life is able to adapt to such harsh environments would seem to make it all the more likely that life should be found elsewhere if it evolved. True, lack of evidence in no evidence at all (unless you are in the field of archaeology) but it remains that the SETI people should be asking the hard questions.
I came across this old telegram dated to 1924 when the orbits of mars and earth placed them in relatively close proximity to each other. It was thought by some astronomers that life from Mars might possible make contact with us at that point.
WASHINGTON-ALASKA MILITARY CABLE AND TELEGRAPH SYSTEM
RECEIVED AT 1308 1ST AVENUE, SEATTLE, WASH.
18RD B 78 GOVT DUPE
RD PUGETSOUND WN AUG 22 1924
GOVT COMDT 13 NAV DIST
7021 ALNAVSTA EIGHT NAVY DESIRES COOPERATE ASTRONOMERS WHO BELIEVE POSSIBLE THAT MARS MAY ATTEMPT COMMUNICATION BY RADIO WAVES WITH THIS PLANET WHILE THEY ARE NEAR TOGETHER THIS END ALL SHORE RADIO STATIONS WILL ESPECIALLY NOTE AND REPORT ANY ELECTRICAL PHENOMENON UNUSUAL CHARACTER AND WILL COVER AS WIDE BAND FREQUENCIES AS POSSIBLE FROM 2400 AUGUST TWENTY FIRST TO 2400 AUGUST TWENTY FOURTH WITHOUT INTERFERRING WITH TRAFFIC 1800
SECNAV WASHN DC