Metaculus Help: Spread the word
If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
Will we find life on Mars?
The possibility of life on Mars is a subject of huge interest in astrobiology due to its proximity and similarities to Earth. To date, little proof has been found of past or present life on Mars. Cumulative evidence suggests that during the ancient Noachian time period, the surface environment of Mars had liquid water and may have been habitable for microorganisms.
Life on Mars would not necessarily be indicative of a separate evolutionary lineage. The panspermia hypothesis proposes that life may have spread from Earth to Mars, or vice versa.
If life does exist on Mars, it is likely to be small and simple, since the surface of Mars is barren, and no large multicellular life has been seen so far by any of the Mars rovers. The meteorite fragment Allan Hills 84001 was examined in 1996 and was reported to have structures resembling microscopic fossils of bacteria. Wikipedia notes, "scientific consensus is that 'morphology alone cannot be used unambiguously as a tool for primitive life detection.' Interpretation of morphology is notoriously subjective, and its use alone has led to numerous errors of interpretation."
Will we find life on Mars by 2050?
This question resolves positively in the event that prominent, highly respected scientific organizations announce that humans have discovered unambiguous evidence of current or past life on Mars, independent of life that was carried from Earth to Mars via human-designed missions. If by 2050, this has not happened, the question resolves negatively.
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
This question is not yet open for predictions.
Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.