According to a recent report from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), there is evidence of flowing salt water on Mars. Here on Earth, scientific evidence shows that life began about 3.5 billion years ago in the form of microbes that grew from the salty, acidic waters of our ancient world. If Mars exhibits the same kinds of evidence, it means that more complex life may have once existed on the baron planet.
But what could this news really mean to mankind? Well, for one thing, it could be very bad for the business of organized religion. If there is flowing water on Mars, it very possibly contains some kind of organic, microbial life. Proof of alien life would also give the first concrete evidence that human beings may not be alone in this vast universe of ours.
While microbes might not build cities or send flying saucers to New Jersey (go look it up), they represent the possibility of far more complex life. But from a scientific point of view, how does finding evidence of water play into our understanding of the solar system in general?
It’s only logical to assume that the elements of matter are pretty consistent throughout the universe – hydrogen and oxygen combine to create water, under the right atmospheric circumstances. And, in that water, again under the proper conditions, some form of life can exist.
Anywhere liquid water and an energy source are present on Earth, we know that microbial life flourishes even in some of the most hostile conditions. While no evidence of life has as yet been discovered, there is both energy and salt water, so the basics are already there.
Evidence of water leading to further discovery of any kind of living form also represents a danger to most organized religion. Generally, religious teachings insist Earth is the one and only world on which life exists, created by an all-knowing, supernatural being or “god.”
If there is eventual proof of life on Mars, or any other world, organized religion has an instant public relations problem. Odds are, however, most religious leaders will just ignore the science, as they so often do, pretending it’s made up or simply wrong. That’s their prerogative, but it seems that embracing the news would be a better way to further their agenda.
Think of it like this. If God created Heaven (which includes the other planets) and Earth, plants, animals and man, then why is it so far-fetched that this is the only planet with life? Instead of ignoring the science, wouldn’t it make more sense to promote the idea that God is everywhere and has created these other worlds and life forms to somehow benefit Mankind?
Unfortunately, definitive proof will most probably require the presence of actual people on the surface of Mars. It’s unfortunate because a manned mission to the Red Planet would cost a literal fortune, requiring a joint venture of all space-going countries – China, the United States, Russia, Japan and more. Ignoring political points, the only reason anyone is likely to fund such a mission is financial gain.
Now that water has been discovered, it’s not too far out of the realm to imagine that precious metals also exist on Mars or other near Earth objects. Once any possibility of gold, platinum, silver or a combination of these valuable metals has been established, we’re literally off to the races.
This time, it will be a space-age gold rush. Every rocket-powered country and private company will be headed to Mars to stake a claim. The surface of that desolate world will become home to a myriad of futuristic mining camps where human beings will die for the chance to strike it rich on a planet where there’s no place to spend it.
So, needless to say, life on Mars isn’t the worst thing that humans might discover. But it is a stepping-stone towards exposing yet again the inherent greed and materialism that can make the human race appear so ugly.
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at www.gerydeer.com.