What If Curiosity Suddenly Encounters A Martian?
Time for some Xenology once again. As we all talk about Curiosity’s landing on Mars, we have been having some fun thinking about a real Martian question, a puzzler.
What would happen if the rover suddenly encountered a Martian? Of course, Curiosity does not have the ability to detect life if it was there. Instead, Curiosity will look for the ingredients of life.
So, what would happen if an alien life-form suddenly stood staring at the rover? Sadly, not much. Curiosity would not recognize it as a living alien being. It is almost a little ironic, but Curiosity is not a life detection mission.
But let us return back to the fascinating subject of aliens on Mars. What would a Martian look like anyway? Actually, no-one really knows, but many scientists have speculated about alien physiology.
Extraterrestrials can be of different sizes and shapes, and these beings can be so alien that we might not even recognize them, even if we found ourselves face to face with them.
We have created a public image of what ET will look like, but we tend to forget alien life-forms do not need to be humanoids at all. We cannot expect to find little green men.
Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, authors of What does a Martian look like? 20 believe we have made fictional aliens in our own image.
“ET looks like a cute three-year-old child. But that is just for dramatic purposes, within the film.
If you ran Planet Earth again, the chances are you wouldn’t get vertebrates. You wouldn’t get creatures with a jointed spine, ” Cohen says.
Early artists often pictures aliens living on Mars as silicon-based creatures. “Life on Mars” was envisioned as low to the ground, symmetrical and simple, as you can see on this image below taken from the NASA archives.
Early visions of life on Mars. Image credit: NASA
The artist drew silicon-based life forms, probably coached by others, perhaps scientists, who had thought about such possibilities.
Peculiar saucer-like shapes stood only slightly above ground level, root-like structures reached outward for growth resources; a bundle of cones faced many directions for heat, light or food. Instead of reality, the images embodied the artist’s hope and anticipation of what future Martian exploration would find.
This composite of three artists’ renderings from 1975 was only wish fulfillment for an unnamed JPL artist; however, the landscape and the rendered shapes took into account what was known about Mars that year.
Compared to Earth, Mars is further away from the light of the sun, very cold and very arid, and had a thin atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide but little nitrogen, an environment distinctly inhospitable to complex, Earth-like, carbon-based life forms.
Aliens will most likely not look like little green men.
In The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, the Martians are depicted as a technologically advanced race. They’re described as large tentacled creatures much like octopuses who use a combination of heat rays, chemical weapons, and fighting robots called tripods to wipe out humanity and drink their blood without even bothering to explain why they’re doing it.
That is a grim picture indeed!
Maybe it is good after all that we are looking for just bacteria and that Curiosity is not able to recognize life.
More exotic types of alien life might be here already, but we are just not able to recognise them, Cohen and Stewart write in their book, but they also point out it is the chances of life being found on the Red Planet are slim.
“Certainly aliens would not look like the canonical little green men… unless they wanted to.
“They might look exactly like people. Or cats. Or houseflies. Or they could be invisible, or lurking just outside our space time continuum,” Cohen says. Source: Message To Eagle
- New ‘Unknown Particles’ Found On Mars (davidreneke.com)