"…we really do not have a good working definition of what constitutes life. At the most fundamental level, we still do not know whether the difference between animate and inanimate is simply a difference in kind or degree."
What would a "difference in kind" look like?
I thought it was pretty well established at this point there's no magic, that "life" is just another layer in the layers of natural complexity, how matter organizes itself, from physics to chemistry to biology to sociology and ecology.
Why would there be an expectation of a sharp (non-linguistic) boundary between "life" and "non-life", animate and inanimate, physics and chemistry, chemistry and biology?
The scientist stated this fact:
> Magnetite crystals from Mars might more persuasively indicate life if they're found in string-of-pearl formations, as they are when created by bacteria on Earth, Chris McKay said. "If we find these chains on Mars, it would be compelling evidence of past magnetotatic bacteria," he said. However, so far researchers have not detected such strings, he added.
And later in the article it goes on to say:
> "The Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Phoenix lander, Curiosity rover, Mars Express mission with its Beagle 2 Mars lander — all can be traced to the ALH 84001 research.
So they have not been able to find any other examples of magnetite? I'm curious why not? Is it something that will be rare if it does exist? Or given that the original sample was billions of years old that any surface level digging by a rover would likely have eroded it away?