Are We Descended From Martians?

Posted by on April 4th, 2011

Skitched 20110404 142300

If one day, in a shiny future filled with hope and promise science and engineering finally succeeds in putting the feet of a human on Mars, we could just be returning home.

That is the theory of one MIT research team which aims to forensically test elements of the Martian ground to see if Earth humans were descended from the same genetic origin.

The MIT team led by Christopher Carr and Maria Zuber (head of MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences) and Gary Ruvkun, a molecular biologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, are proposing to build an instrument to send to Mars and test for extraterrestrial genomes.

Despite the numerous landers and rovers we’ve sent already, the only surface biology experiments were carried out in a bold but premature effort in 1976 aboard the trailblazing NASA Viking landers. The confusing results from these tests remain controversial and ambiguous today.

Even if we aren’t cosmic cousins with whatever critters skittered around The Red Planet once upon a time, the study has another benefit. It could greatly increase our understanding of microbes on Mars and if they would be hazardous to human settlers.

Because if they are, we might have to tent the planet for fumigation before moving in.

[Discovery News via Conspiracy Journal]

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