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Fuzzy boundaries




Anyone who grew up watching a space race has been a witness of the magnitude of such a leap in technology, materials, computing possibilities, scientific and engineering processes that are involved in a rocket defeating Earth's gravity.


These have been much more than a prize in a diplomatic dispute, they have been clear evidence of our ability to expand those borders that we thought were immovable: the borders of life.


Today in times of pandemic, more than at any other time, we can recognize how these borders become blurred or even obsolete, when despite all the advances in the understanding of that process that we call life, some fibers of genetic material wrapped by Proteins membranes (or better-called viruses) fill us with questions and remind us of the path that still remains to be traveled in discovering the essential nature of Earth's living processes, and the immense impact of those that do not fit in this category.


If we haven't found life on Mars, why keep looking? The launch of Perseverance (the rover), is as its name says, a new opportunity to better understand the world we inhabit and those others around us, is one more opportunity on the way to better understand the processes that occur in the rocks we called planets and of which the process we call life adheres.


At 54.6 million kilometers away, Mars seems to hold answers to many current unsolved questions about life's possibilities, about its past and about its possible futures, in general answers that may force us to change our questions.


Thanks to the exploration of Mars, the limits where life could inhabit are blurred, the limits that humanity has become more blurred, and the phenomenon that we call life, the same one that with so much desire and economic investment we want to understand better, begins to involving diffuse borders, from the viruses that today force us to isolate ourselves, to the sterile robotic laboratories that try to set foot on other worlds, all an extravagance consequence of what Earth processes are: a blurred border between the living and the non-living.

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Medellín, Colombia.