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Will there turn out to be widespread fossils of algae and lichens on Mars?

A recent provocative paper by a quite reputable set of astrobiologists and others has claimed that in Gale crater on Mars,

specimens resembling terrestrial algae, lichens, microbial mats, stro-matolites, ooids, tubular-shaped formations, and mineralized fossils of metazoans and calcium-carbonate encrusted cyanobacteria were observed and tentatively identified.

but of course

That some or most of these specimens may be abiotic, cannot be ruled out.

This would, of course, be pretty monumental if true. We'll ask whether it will turn out that:

"The tentative claims of the 2020 Joseph et al. paper are basically correct and a significant fraction of the features identified there were, in fact, fossils of life on Mars."

This question is a bit experimental, one of a series of "self-resolving" ones. Resolution to this question will be determined as follows:

  • If at any time after the date of Jan 1, 2025 the community prediction is > 95% or < 5%, the question resolves positively or negatively, respectively.

  • Otherwise, on or about the close/resolve date of Jan 1, 2030, the question will be decided by unanimous vote of a council of three people as to whether the proposition listed above is true, at 50+% credence (i.e. more true than its negation), resolving ambiguous in the case of disagreement. The council of three will be chosen by quantum mechanical random numbers from a list of 12 people that will be composed by the author around the time of question close, and held secretly until the time of question resolution.


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