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Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:30 PM

Viking robots found life on Mars in 1976, scientists say

Source: MSNBC

New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows that NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week.

Further, NASA doesn't need a human expedition to Mars to nail down the claim, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller, with the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, told Discovery News.

"The ultimate proof is to take a video of a Martian bacteria. They should send a microscope — watch the bacteria move," Miller said.

"On the basis of what we've done so far, I'd say I'm 99 percent sure there's life there," he added.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47031923/ns/technology_and_science-science/



Abstract and pdf of the new analysis:
abstract: http://ijass.org/PublishedPaper/year_abstract.asp?idx=132
a link to the pdf is with the abstract, free download.

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Arrow 53 replies Author Time Post
Reply Viking robots found life on Mars in 1976, scientists say (Original post)
bananas Apr 2012 OP
KamaAina Apr 2012 #1
denbot Apr 2012 #5
Blue_Tires Apr 2012 #2
baldguy Apr 2012 #4
Typical NYC Lib Apr 2012 #3
El Supremo Apr 2012 #6
saras Apr 2012 #8
Throckmorton Apr 2012 #10
mwdem Apr 2012 #30
dipsydoodle Apr 2012 #7
aquart Apr 2012 #17
mopinko Apr 2012 #41
saras Apr 2012 #9
tridim Apr 2012 #11
BadtotheboneBob Apr 2012 #16
colorado_ufo Apr 2012 #34
BadtotheboneBob Apr 2012 #38
aquart Apr 2012 #18
pinboy3niner Apr 2012 #20
obxhead Apr 2012 #27
starroute Apr 2012 #33
TNLib Apr 2012 #12
gtar100 Apr 2012 #14
bananas Apr 2012 #19
harun Apr 2012 #40
joshcryer Apr 2012 #48
kestrel91316 Apr 2012 #25
jtuck004 Apr 2012 #13
DaveJ Apr 2012 #15
DCBob Apr 2012 #44
olderlib Apr 2012 #21
Jamastiene Apr 2012 #22
joshcryer Apr 2012 #23
DCBob Apr 2012 #49
joshcryer Apr 2012 #50
DCBob Apr 2012 #52
kestrel91316 Apr 2012 #24
joshcryer Apr 2012 #26
DCBob Apr 2012 #37
AngryAmish Apr 2012 #43
unkachuck Apr 2012 #28
NBachers Apr 2012 #29
lovuian Apr 2012 #31
OnyxCollie Apr 2012 #32
Paulie Apr 2012 #46
solarman350 Apr 2012 #35
bananas Apr 2012 #36
great white snark Apr 2012 #42
sofa king Apr 2012 #39
bananas Apr 2012 #45
sofa king Apr 2012 #53
padruig Apr 2012 #47
jberryhill Apr 2012 #51

Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:31 PM

1. Cover-up?

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:37 PM

5. Data dispute.

They were looking for evidence of cellular respiration. Some of the compounds were indicative of life, but other tests lead the team to believe that the signatures could have been from non-organic reactions. They opted for the safe conclusion.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:33 PM

2. So which DUer makes the first bad David Bowie reference?

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:37 PM

4. You just did.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:36 PM

3. I for onne would like to welcome our new Bacterial Overlords

 

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:42 PM

6. Don't worry. We still have...

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Response to El Supremo (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:48 PM

8. Shit. Now I wanna hear a David Bowie album of Slim Whitman covers...

 

A Slim Whitman album of David Bowie covers would be interesting, too... imagine Slim yodeling Fame

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Response to El Supremo (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:49 PM

10. Im holding out hope for the Ronnie Desmond Records.

Oh, that was Killer Tomatoes, nevermind.

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Response to El Supremo (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:57 PM

30. my mom loved this guy!

She sent off for his albums. I love the "Mars Attacks" references to him.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:46 PM

7. Viking robot ?

One of these presumably.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #7)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:12 PM

17. Where can I get one?

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Response to aquart (Reply #17)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:09 AM

41. it's a good one.

there is a little restaurant near here that has a very quirky art collection. paint by numbers, a lobster boy circus banner, and lots of these trash sculptures. mostly animals, fish and a couple great chickens.
fun little joint.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:48 PM

9. It'd be a real bummer if it turned out to be e. coli

 

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:52 PM

11. Did they ever figure out how the Mars rovers' solar panels were scrubbed clean?

It was a big story for awhile and then kind of just fizzled.

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Response to tridim (Reply #11)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:12 PM

16. 'Full Service' still exists on Mars...

I presume...

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Response to BadtotheboneBob (Reply #16)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:49 AM

34. Another day on DU, another pot of coffee, another keyboard . . .

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Response to colorado_ufo (Reply #34)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:25 AM

38. Thank-yew... Thankyewverymuch...

... being retired does have its perks...

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Response to tridim (Reply #11)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:14 PM

18. ? What? When? Where? Link?

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Response to tridim (Reply #11)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:20 PM

20. Saw it on Fox's 'When Martian Bacteria Tweak'

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Response to tridim (Reply #11)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:07 PM

27. I thought that was determined to be the wind.

It's been a while since I followed the story of the rovers though, so I could be wrong.

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Response to tridim (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:24 AM

33. I remember the electric universe people were all excited about it

Claimed it was electrostatic whirlwinds or something.

Of course, they'll claim almost anything is electromagnetic, but in this case it sounded vaguely plausible.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:55 PM

12. I wonder how fundies are going to rationalize this.

nt

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Response to TNLib (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:02 PM

14. Denial, obsfucation, and changing the subject

It's what they're good at.

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Response to TNLib (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:14 PM

19. I wonder how the scientists are going to rationalize this.

The ones who "opted for a safe conclusion", as someone upthread put it.
They shouldn't have opted for any conclusion, the results were inconclusive at the time.

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Response to bananas (Reply #19)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:07 AM

40. Very true.

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Response to bananas (Reply #19)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:46 AM

48. While this is arguably the best result yet, it's still not certain.

Scientists in the past did not take the "safe conclusion." I think they would have liked to have been proven wrong, but they correctly countered Levin time and time again with proven experiments that refuted his (or his groups') explanation.

Two things are going to happen.

1) The authors will determine if there was variation during the dust storm. If so this will provide more convincing evidence and at least make countering the argument more difficult.

2) Other scientists will set up experiments to do geologic analysis on the known chemical composition of Martian regolith and do the numerical analysis to see if it matches. In other words, they'll try to reproduce what the authors have claimed.

If, and only if the other scientists agree, then we can safely say that there's a convincing argument that life likely exists on Mars.

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Response to TNLib (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:44 PM

25. They will say that God made Mars and put the bacteria there, and then smugly point out

how we SPECIAL ONES made in God's image are only found on Earth.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:01 PM

13. Fly, Newt, fly. Those are your people. n/t

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:06 PM

15. "They should send a microscope"

Dang, I wish I'd thought of that.

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Response to DaveJ (Reply #15)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:17 AM

44. That idea may have originally come from me.

Many years ago I used to work with Dr Gil Levin who was the principal investigator for the Viking LR release experiment. I mentioned this to him over 10 years ago. It seemed like the logical and only defintive way to verify if there are organisms there. Its not particularly novel but sometimes researchers dont think of the obvious.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:25 PM

21. bomb Mars now, dont let the warning come in the form

 

of a mushroom cloud

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:33 PM

22. Which just proves my point.

Damn germs. I firmly believe bacteria are everywhere. They are out to get me. I can't make them stop taunting me from their little invisible-to-the-naked-eye bunkers. The bastards.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:42 PM

23. Levin has been pushing this for years.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #23)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 05:34 PM

49. Decades actually.

I used to work for him at Biospherics in Maryland many years ago. He has been totally obsessed with proving his results were real... and rightly so. I reviewed the data back then and it looked legit to me. I am a PhD biologist.

I think he may finally be getting the credit he deserves. He is an egotistical asshole but he is also a scientific genius. I guess those often go hand and hand.

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Response to DCBob (Reply #49)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:43 PM

50. Yeah but there have been alternate explainations at every go.

I do hope he's right but I'm not going to jump up and down about it! We'll have to wait to see if any alternate explanations come up.

For what it's worth I think Mars had life and actually does have life going by the methane releases.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #50)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:03 PM

52. Clearly we need more evidence before celebrating.

"extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" -- Carl Sagan

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:42 PM

24. Dear MSNBC: There WAS no Viking "robot". They were simple landers that stayed put in one place.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #24)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:00 PM

26. A robot does not necessarily have to be mobile.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #24)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:43 AM

37. It was robotic in the sense it had mechanical scoopers and analytical equipment.

But yes you are correct it did not move around.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #24)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:11 AM

43. An ATM is a robot.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:22 PM

28. "...NASA found life on Mars..."

 

....wow, cool....what if some of those Martian (green?) bacteria made their way back to the Earth, nothing would have immunity....

....could you imagine the terminal case of jock-itch caused by Martian kooties?

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Response to unkachuck (Reply #28)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:39 PM

29. Can you imagine designer pot grown from Martian soil?

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:36 PM

31. 36 years it took to make this announcement

and We now know that life exists on other planets....
so the next step is
if mankind evolved from microbial organisms as evolution theory says

then more complicated and intellectual life may exist out in space

the possibility turns more into reality

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:52 PM

32. Maybe, four million years ago,

that bacteria climbed aboard a space ship and headed off towards a distant blue dot.

Drug-Resistant Bacteria Found in 4-Million-Year-Old Cave
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/04/120411-drug-resistance-bacteria-caves-diseases-human-health-science/

Deep in the bowels of a pristine New Mexico cave, microbiologists have discovered nearly a hundred types of bacteria that can fight off modern antibiotic drugs.

The bacteria coat the walls of the Lechuguilla cave system on rock faces some 1,600 feet (487 meters) below Earth's surface. Until recently, the microscopic life-forms had encountered neither humans nor modern antibiotics.

That's because a thick dome of rock isolated the cave between four and seven million years ago. Any water that trickles through takes roughly ten thousand years to reach the cave's depths—which means the subterranean life has existed entirely in the absence of modern medicine.

While not infectious to humans, the cave bacteria can resist multiple classes of antibiotics, including new synthetic drugs. The discovery serves as an intriguing lead in the quest to understand how drug-resistant diseases emerge.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #32)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:33 AM

46. More like 4 billion, with a B, years

Or ejecta from an earth impact was sent to Mars.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:10 AM

35. I Believed Dr. Sagan....

 

He did say that maybe Viking might not have dug deep enough. Here, listen to the recording. It might help:



solarman350
“Do the arithmetic or be doomed to talk nonsense.”
--The late Dr. John McCarthy, Father of AI

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:27 AM

36. Two discussions in GD

A couple of people here worled on Viking: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002554766

Another discussion thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002555912

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Response to bananas (Reply #36)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:06 AM

42. Interesting. Thanks much.

Have a nice day.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:40 AM

39. Heh. Dad will be pleased.

"I didn't build that damned thing to fail," my irascible father has been saying for 36 years about the Labeled Release experiment.

It's been a little sad, seeing him on the outside of that issue for half his life, being the only guy in the room who knew exactly what the experiment was, how it was built, how it was used, and what set of circumstances could have produced the result.

But, then again, he doesn't want to believe me when I tell him that the 9/11 terrorists showed up on Jack Abramoff's casino boat a week before the attacks.

So I guess we're even.

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Response to sofa king (Reply #39)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:20 AM

45. Your dad is Gil Levin? nt

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Response to bananas (Reply #45)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 10:21 AM

53. Nope, just one of an army of engineers.

I've asked my old man if he knew Gil Levin, but he can't remember him. Levin's objectives were dispersed among many sub-contractors and design teams--hundreds of people on the biological instrument package alone, I am sure.

My old man's specific assignment was figuring out how to miniaturize an entire chemistry lab so that it could fit in a beer cooler--not such an easy thing to do in a day when a computer as fast as the one I built five years ago took up an entire floor of an office building.

Being a former Apollo engineer, Dad took the same ethical approach to his work on Viking: this thing isn't going to fail because of me. Other unknown and unpredicted factors can and will certainly intervene, he says, but the instrument itself was not in error.

I write this with my feet resting on the very launch pad my father built for me in the late 1960s--a coffee table built arm-high for a toddler, every sharp corner rounded off, with little sculpted indentations around the edges for a chubby little hand to grip. My father built this table specifically as the apparatus from which I would take my first steps, before I was born, and it worked precisely as he designed it, while he watched from his mission control on the couch.

That is the sort of engineer's certainty my father has about the Viking results, and he is certainly not alone among the Viking scientists and engineers.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:34 AM

47. Life on Mars

This is an interesting analysis but there are some major flaws - the original Viking tests involved measuring gas composition emitted from samples of moistened martian soils. Since the time of the Viking Lander we've now gained a great deal of headway on the composition of the surface soils and with that knowledge now understand why we got results that were noisy.

We've found that the martian surface contains perchlorates, perchlorates on earth are used as oxidizers in chemical processes, explosives and solid fuel rocket engines. They are a source of oxygen!

Given the character of the tests conducted, if perchlorates were present in the soil samples they would have given either erratic or false positive results.

We'll know much more when Curiosity lands in August - this will the first time we will have put down a well equipped geochemical lab on the martian surface.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html

Putting a biological lab on the surface will be a help but before we do that we need as clear a picture of the geochemistry of the planetary environment.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:44 PM

51. I didn't even know the Vikings HAD robots


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