My last post was my 100th! And I didn't even realize it! I think this makes me a poor excuse for a blogger, or maybe just someone without a proper appreciation for celebratory moments! Well, to make up for it, we will celebrate this post! The big 101! Like the Dalmations, or something...
But what content would be properly celebratory?
I could, of course, discuss revisions, or present a character study of some kind, or perhaps share some information about the book I'm trying not to write because I have so much other work to do (but I don't want to encourage it, really).
I could talk about the heart-rending situation on Haiti, or the ridiculous response of Pat Robertson that it's just what Haiti gets for making a pact with the devil (?!?!?!?!?!) but I think at this point it's a little bit late to the ball game, and I'm sure that the things I might say in response to Mr. Robertson (No, I will not refer to him by his title, such as it is) have already been said much more eloquently. Of course, feel free to open up in the comments, if you like...
Today, I want to talk about some old news. Something that has fueled the telling of stories for generations. Today, I want to talk about Mars. And not just Mars, but Martian water.
We have sent people to Mars in our imaginations for practically the entire length of its known existence. Edgar Rice Burroughs populated Mars with giant green martians with four arms, and red-skinned egg-laying humanlike martians, and great white apes way before I was born. As a people, we are obsessed with life on Mars. As such, we are absolutely determined to locate water, because water is to the best of our knowledge, a fundamental for life. Pluuuussss finding water on Mars in any quantity means we don't have to export it when we send non-fictional people to the planet, and that saves quite a bit of weight on lift-off.
But I think NASA and the scientific community is forgetting an important fact here. Life As We Know It does not mean Life Is Limited By What We Know.
Finding water on Mars doesn't mean that there was life there, ever. Finding water anywhere doesn't mean that there was life or that there IS life on a planet. Because as much as we know, as much as we've learned, there is no real proof that there isn't some other path to life. We don't even know, really know, how life formed on Earth.
Oh, we have guesses, theories, all educated, but if there were any real proof, and real understanding of how life began, we'd have duplicated the experiment by now, and there would have been a huge outcry over it by the religious right. The Pope would probably have smashed the whole thing under his heel in rage, if people like Pat Robertson didn't get to it first. (I could apologize for comparing the Pope to Pat Robertson here, but I'm not really Benedict's biggest fan either, to be honest with you. I'm equal opportunity that way.)
I guess it makes some kind of sense. We can only look for what we know to look for, the signs we can be certain are associated with life, but lets just not let that limited scope of knowledge blind us to the things that might exist outside of what we know.
And maybe that should go for more than just the search for water and life on Mars.