Is It Okay to Touch Mars?

published on July 13, 2020

hey Vsauce Michael here no rocks from Mars have ever been brought back to earth and no human has ever touched anything on Mars but that's about to change National Geographic has asked me and Jake and Kevin to talk about Mars

Because they have a show coming out soon all about how we are planning to turn Mars into a home a place where humans will soon be living and working it's a plan set to become a reality in the 2030s that's cool but beyond just how

There are everyday life questions raised we would be literally beginning society all over again on a new planet whose laws will Martian colonists follow what kind of watches clocks and calendars will they use and what will be lost if

We as a species gain Mars is it okay to touch Mars what will its flag look like in 1998 Pascal Lee designed a flag for Mars that was flown at the hotend Mars project research station where how humans might live and work on other

Planets was studied the flag is a nod to Kim Stanley Robinson's famous red Mars free Mars and blue Mars trilogy should we have the technological and political ability to do so at some point in the future we could terraform Mars from a

Red planet into a green with life and then blue watery earth-like one this flag has since been used by a number of Mars exploration societies and was even flown into space aboard space shuttle Discovery by astronaut John Grunsfeld

In 1999 that all makes it a pretty good contender to be the first official flag of Mars the Outer Space Treaty of course prohibits national appropriation of celestial bodies it doesn't necessarily stop private

Individuals or companies from doing so but since it takes months at best to actually go between Earth and Mars and minutes to even communicate at Lightspeed how would and who would enforce laws on

Mars if Martian colonists did things that we here on earth disagreed with what can we do to pressure them otherwise or punish them for being criminals one idea extraterrestrial Liberty is to just give

Up control and release those headed to Mars from all current earth-based laws their nationalities hold them to to allow them to become Mars citizens able to make laws elect live and die the way they want free from any currently

Existing state that might be reasonable but it raises another question when when is Mars now what time is it there for colonists on Mars an earth watch would be of very little help a day on Mars the time it takes the planet to turn around

Once sunrise to sunrise is about 27 percent longer than on earth I mean that's pretty close but over time it adds up gradually an earth watch on Mars would drift and the time it said would tell you very little about night and day

On the Red Planet to combat this scientists on earth who work with robotic Rovers on Mars use Mars time they actually live by it you can download a program that tells you solar times on Mars or do what many scientists

Have done get yourself a watch that runs 27 percent slower than usual if every second every minute is 27 percent slower than it should be it'll be perfect for matching Mars's rotation that could spell trouble for Martian

Colonists though who wish to tune into live events on earth like sports sort award shows but again given the immense travel time between the two Earthlings and Martians may find that having similar timekeeping systems just

Really that necessary in their everyday lives okay right now on earth it is 2016 as we know one trip through all the seasons from now will have been a year but in that same time Mars will have only traveled part of the way through

Its seasons if Martian colonists continue to use earth years that's okay but it would mean that for them years would feel a bit arbitrary they wouldn't contain environmental cycles like ours do

Perhaps if they feel disconnected and emancipated from earth calendars they'll just use their own Martian year system as well a few such calendars have been proposed some divided into familiar week and month lengths but with about twice

As many of each per year the thing however that fascinates me most about putting humans living things on Mars is a more touching topic literally humans will likely touch the red planet in our lifetimes and the first to do so will be

Famous but jokes on them I mean we me you we're all already touching Mars let me ask you this where did you get that body that one you're in right now it's made of atoms and molecules but they come and go you eat and breathe and

Absorb things use them for a while but eventually shed or exhale or otherwise pass them through a month from now your skin will be completely different skin all new cells the red blood cells you've got now we'll only be with you for about

Another four months like a water wave you're a temporary arrangement of stuff a really neat thing that dirt does but not all of this dirt that you are the dust in from dust to dust is earth dirt new stuff is always falling to earth

Anywhere from five thousand to three hundred thousand kilograms of space rock dust debris asteroid fragments that a some of which inevitably winds up being you part of your body for a while now that may sound like a lot of

Material but compared to the mass of earth it's small some of these et rocks are debris that's been floating around our solar system since the planets formed some has come from asteroid collisions some has even come from

Interstellar space beyond our solar system what's neat is that because atoms and molecules are so small even the tiny amount of interstellar material landing here adds up to a lot at the atomic scale ask a physicist estimated that if

Only 001% of all the extra-terrestrial material falling to earth comes from beyond our solar system and even if only 10% of that stuff is water that would still mean that 50 billion 5 0 billion with a beam of the water molecules in

Your body right now as you watch this video we're in interstellar space fewer than 1,000 years ago some of the space material falling to earth comes from planets like Mars when powerful enough impacts occur on its

Surface Martian material can reach escape velocity and begin an interplanetary journey rarely but occasionally this journey terminates on earth it's been estimated that Martian meteorites only

Fall to earth about once every 50 years or so that's a long time in human years but in Planet years that's nothing your physical body right now likely contains billions of atoms that used to be on Mars and arrived here on

Earth in the last 1,000 years if you consider stuff from Mars that's been here on earth for less than a millennium as being Martian well it's tenable to say that you are point zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero

Zero zero zero zero one percent Martian but before you get too excited there's a difference between Martian debris that was roasted and exploded in our atmosphere centuries ago and actual still on Mars material

The difference might be small or it might be big when Apollo 11 astronauts returned from the moon they didn't splashdown and then run into the arms of family members instead they were locked away in quarantine for three weeks

Just in case the moon harbored any kind of previously unknown or unthinkable life-form an organism or virus that could have come back to earth with them one that earth life had never encountered and thus never been

Naturally selected to resist the threat of a moonbug pandemic wiping out life on Earth was just large enough that NASA took precautions though later Buzz Aldrin admitted on Twitter that their quarantine facility wasn't perfectly

Sealed luckily no moon germs escaped and infected all earth life probably because there weren't any to begin with after Apollo 14 the moon quarantine requirement was lifted because it had become

Sufficiently clear that the moon was devoid of life but Mars well we still don't know exactly we haven't found macroscopic life on Mars but the possibility of tiny things hasn't yet been ruled out and the

Incredible consequences contamination could have means it remains a serious concern there's even an advocacy group of scientists from all over the world called the International Committee Against Mars sample return but it's not

Just bat contamination that matters the transfer of extraterrestrial organisms to earth there's also forward contamination the transfer of earth organisms to things in space any light that might currently

Exist on Mars could be incredibly vulnerable to things we here on earth barely notice but accidentally bring there how sad would it be to one day find life on Mars only to realize that it's all dead

Everything it had to teach us about itself about Mars about the solar system about life wiped out just a few years ago by a virus stowed away unbeknownst to us on one of our robotic missions extremophiles organisms have been found

That may be able to survive such a trip life here on earth may have even arrived from space in that way a concept called panspermia so should we be scared of monsters beyond our atmosphere I'm reminded of the glowworm in their larval

Stage the glowworms stick to the tops of caves and leaves usually above water sources their glow resembles the night sky the tempting expanse of other worlds beyond our own like us bugs are attracted to this Vista believing it's a

Way out of the cave of course it's not the glow worms dangle sticky mucus strings from their perches snares that capture their prey are the real stars no different a clever trap that keeps alien

Predators fed probably not but that hasn't stopped space agencies like NASA from forming divisions like their office for planetary protection a group that oversees plans for missions that might bring earth and alien life into contact

Currently all missions to Mars must satisfy the Coleman Sagan equation this sterilization restriction works to ensure that the probability of us contaminating places like Mars with foreign earthly organisms is not zero

But at most one in 10,000 that was considered acceptable given the number of Mars missions we probably do before fully understanding its exobiology so far we have no evidence that anything is alive on Mars right now or has ever been

But that brings us to Anne's met the Antarctic search for meteorites an effort that since 1976 has found more than 20,000 extraterrestrial rocks in Antarctica the first one they found in Allen Hills in 1984 was special for one

Thing it's believed to have originated on Mars it's estimated that about 17 million years ago this piece of rock was blasted off the surface of Mars by a meteor and reached terminal velocity about 5 kilometers per second fast

Enough to leave Mars entirely after flying through space for a very long time 13,000 years ago it got captured by Earth's gravity and fell to our planet's surface 12 years after its discovery the presence of what looked like microscopic

Fossils were discovered on the rock could they be evidence of Martian life the claim didn't convince everyone but to this day the structures exact origins haven't been explained how exactly to tell whether they're caused by living

Things isn't agreed on either but the finding was a major event in the field of astrobiology and the public's understanding of it the discovery was possibly so momentous that US President Bill Clinton gave

Remarks about it saying today Rock 84001 speaks to us across all those billions of years and millions of miles it speaks of the possibility of life if this discovery is confirmed it will surely be one of the most stunning insights into

Our universe that science has ever uncovered after his statement these are the two questions he was asked by the press did he believe abortion rights were under attack and where did he get his tie the thing is alien nano bacteria

Don't wear ties they don't legislate or govern us or control our lives or look anything like us if they exist will most likely be in control of them and probably actually not even notice them under our boots

So does protecting or preserving them not matter I mean should should we just not let them get in the way of our progress as a species well that's a fundamental question that touches upon what we want our purpose to be in this

Universe labeling parts of Mars don't touch as parks would be a great way to preserve it as it was before we came so that our grandchildren and their children can see what Mars was like for well most of human history others have

Argued that we shouldn't go at all that Mars is best left to itself humans ruin things and what right do we have to alter Mars if we can help ourselves still others say why stop at natural parks if we find viable life on

Mars that may be struggling to survive a rare relic perhaps from a time when Mars was more hospitable to life they argue that we should help change Mars so that those remaining Martian organisms can thrive and multiply and be their best

Selves with our technology intelligence and sapiens we perhaps alone in the solar system have the power to help them and we should help ourselves to Mars second these aren't just hypothetical philosophical problems by the way with

Plans for manned missions to Mars just a bit under two decades away their questions we will actually need to answer quite soon should humans go to Mars it would be a great way to spread out to diversify our habitats so we're

Still around should anything happen to earth and of course it does give us more space for more people but for what ultimately Jupiter doesn't care if there are seven billion humans or seven trillion the volcanoes of Io

Will continue erupting whether or not we write anymore poems about love if humans were wiped out today the fundamental forces of the universe wouldn't change and distant galaxies would continue their journeys into the abyss beyond the

Observable universe just as they already are and always will what good is life to the universe perhaps it has none but we are possibly its greatest and only hope to find out we may not treat life as well as we could but whatever

This darn life thing is keeping it around might very well be up to us we owe it at least that much and as always thanks for watching for more on how we plan to make Mars home check out national Geographics new

Global event series Mars premiering Monday November 14th at 9/8 central

Related Videos

hey guys techrax here coming at you guys with another giveaway this is gonna be an iPhone 5s two of these brand new phones not the one in this video guys this i...
hey guy there's a popular game in the app store called flappy bird right now and it's supposedly really annoying believe it or not I haven't played ...
hey guys tech Rex here so right here with me I have an Apple iPhone 5s this is the gold one I also have with me some liquid nitrogen yes this is the real deal a...
hey guys techrax here right here I have the iPhone 5s with me this is the champagne or the gold color I still can't really figure out if it's champagne ...
hey guys tear cracks here so this video really exciting video I have the new Samsung Galaxy s5 for you guys this is the long-awaited cellular devices releases i...
everyone techrax here in this video I've got the latest Samsung Galaxy s5 right here as well as the Apple iPhone 5s and we're going to be doing a simple...
everyone techrax here in this video guys have a really exciting device this is the Samsung Galaxy s5 charcoal black and I'm really liking I after seeing the...
everyone techrax here here with me off the Samsung Galaxy s5 this is a perfectly fine s5 it is cracked from the drop test that I had with also one minor neck as...
hey guys tetrax here so in this video I'm going to try and burn the newly released Samsung Galaxy s5 this is the shimmering white 16 gigabyte model and if y...
everyone techrax here so I got my burn Samsung Galaxy s5 and I wanted to see whether the heartbeat sensor would still work the heart monitor on your galaxy s5 a...
hey guys Tech Rex here so I'm really excited to bring you guys a giveaway for my channel but this time I'm actually teaming up with a buddy of mine your...
hey guys techrax here so in this video I'm going to be hopefully instructing you guys how to make your very own a tech sandwich slash burger slash meal so y...
hey guys techrax here so I've got a galaxy s5 here this is the copper gold hopefully you guys can see pretty well it is sunset so it's getting a little ...
hey guys techrax here so right here with me I have a professional deep fryer in here is already some canola or corn or whatever oil I don't know vegetable o...
hey guys techrax here so just trying to make this video short and quick i'm having recently i got five hundred thousand subscribers and yeah most of you guy...
hey guys texture so in this video I have a drop test on the latest LG g3 device now this is actually the gold-coloured LG g3 this has not been released in the U...
hey guys techrax here so in this video we'll teach you guys how to make your iPhone indestructible this is essentially a case that's been around for yea...
hey guys techrax here soon in this video we had a train run over the iPhone 5s so we actually did this in two different instances initially we had a Space Gray ...
hey guys tech cracks here so in this video we're going to be dropped testing the newly released Amazon fire phone this is exclusive for AT&T and I belie...
hey guys techrax here so right here with me I have the Amazon fire phone this is the one I dropped and you know I thought what better what else do I do with thi...