Article ID: 8 | Audience: Default | Version 1.00.06 | 2008/11/8 11:53:49 | Reads: 1938


…to decide who is first in the ‘race to create life’ requires a consensus definition of life
Both the genetic code and all computerprogramming languages are means of communicating large quantities of codified information, which adds another element to a comprehensive definition of life.
In July this year, the Phoenix Lander robot—launched by NA SA in 2007 as part of the Phoenix mission to Mars—provided the first irrefutable proof that water exists on the Red Planet. “We’ve seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted,” commented lead scientist William Boynton from the University of Arizona, USA (NA SA, 2008). The robot’s discovery of water in a scooped-up soil sample increases the probability that there is, or was, life on Mars. Meanwhile, the Darwin project, under development by the European Space Agency (ESA) > envisages a flotilla of four or five free-flying spacecraft to search for the chemical signatures of life in 25 to 50 planetary systems. Yet, in the vastness of space, to paraphrase the British astrophysicist Arthur Eddington (1822–1944), life might be not only stranger than we imagine, but also stranger than we can imagine. The limits of our current definitions of life raise the possibility that we would not be able to recognize an extra-terrestrial organism...
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