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SETG - Search for Extra-terrestrial Genomes

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posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 09:49 PM
Ever heard of SETG? I hadn't until I read this article on the 15 new projects funded by ASTID (Astrobiology Science and Technology Instrument Development) which is NASA's program.

Of particular note to me was this project:

Maria Zuber/Massachusetts Institute Of Technology “A Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes (SETG): An In-situ Detector for Life on Mars Ancestrally Related to Life on Earth”

The Search for Extraterrestrial Genomes (SETG) Project will test the hypothesis that life on Mars, if it exists, shares a common ancestor with life on Earth. There is increasing evidence that viable microbes could have been transferred between the two planets, based in part on calculations of meteorite trajectories and magnetization studies supporting only mild heating of meteorite cores. In addition, microbial life has been discovered in Earth environments exposed to high levels of radiation and extremes of temperature, demonstrating the incredible adaptability of microbes. Based on the shared-ancestry hypothesis, we propose to look for DNA and RNA through in-situ analysis of Martian soil (or ice) samples.

Seems to be jumping the gun a bit if they don't know if there is even life on Mars to be funding a project like this already.

posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 10:00 PM
Very interesting indeed. Never heard about it myself but I'm just a snooper when it comes to Mars. It seems fairly obvious there has been more activity regarding Mars than the general public knows about; I wonder how many satellites it has in orbit?


posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 02:17 AM
I finished read a sci-fi book last week by Stephen Baxter, and on of the reoccuring themes was the idea that life would exist everwhere it could exist.
In other words wherever it was in some small tiny way possible for life to be, then at some point it would actually be.

There is also the idea of Pan-spermia, the theory (i think) that all life that existed would share similar traits, for example if a fossil were found on Mars or even in a meteorite from outside the solar system, then the fossil would share a lot of biological etc, similarities with know animals/life on Earth.

Life is a hardy and powerful thing so it wouldn't suprise me at all if it were proved true that bacteria had survived the vacume trip from Mars to Earth or the other way around.
What would slightly suprise me though would be if any government funded organization admitted findings in the possitive.

[edit on 5-9-2008 by full997]

posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 05:59 AM
The idea that life, if such a thing actually exists, should find ways to spread itself about it's area of occurance is to be expected.

Therefore it shoud be expected that other life in that area should also be of the same origin, and design.

That life should find multiple designs for expression is no more surprising than the concept of life existing in the first place. If the structure of the universe promotes any basis of life to form, we could expect the concept to generalize to several basies which might take advantage of the opporunity presented by the universe.

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