Thursday, December 18, 2014

Let's get Mars-curious!

Brace yourselves, because after decades of searching, NASA scientists may have finally discovered evidence of alien life!
"Well it's about goddamn time..."
NASA's other rover, Mild Interest,
stopped transmitting after realizing
that nobody was paying attention to it. 
Now un-brace yourself because this is science and we're going to have to walk it back a bit. Said evidence is methane gas which NASA's un-inspiringly named Curiosity rover picked up in the thin Martian atmosphere along with organic compounds in the planet's soil. Alright, so it's not exactly a towering alien obelisk, or a fleet of disc-shaped starships hovering over our major cites, but still...alien life? Maybe? I mean, this is something to get excited about, isn't it? Or maybe not. With typical scientific caution, NASA's Curiosity team has been quick to manage our expectations when it comes to earth-shattering news.

Space: it's really not all that interesting,
so like, don't get your hopes up.
Here's what team member John Grotzinger had to say about the find:

"That we detect methane in the atmosphere on Mars is not an argument that we have found evidence of life on Mars, but it's one of the few hypotheses that we can propose that we must consider..."

-John Grotzinger,
disappointing us with science you've basically got nothing. Thanks NASA. And you wonder why you have to resort to shaking down billionaires just to get funding.
Pictured: An artist's rendering of NASA's new fundraising strategy.
Tremble puny Martians,
at our superior weaponry.
I don't want to tell NASA how to do its job, but-wait, yes I do. Hey NASA, here's how to do your job: instead of taking every mind-blowing discovery you make and sucking all the wonder and joy out of it like a bunch of fun-sucking space vampires, why not try and get the public excited about it? I'm not saying lie to us, I'm just suggesting that maybe instead of focusing on how it's too early to jump to conclusions (and it is), you could tell us all the things this could mean. You said that the presence of methane gas could mean that Mars is, or at least was, home to microbial life. That's kind of a big deal and it also means we could conquer Mars with a bottle of Purell. Run with that.

Look, if there's a chance of finding life on Mars, no matter how microbial and boring, we should totally go find it. Not because we're just curious about it, but because we have a burning desire to explore new frontiers. Of course we'll then probably exploit these new frontiers for financial gain, but hey, we're pretty noble up to a point...
Behold: the mighty herds of gassy Martian cows grazing on the crimson plains of the Red Planet.
Sure, it's not super-likely, but if it panned out the government would fund the shit out of NASA.

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