HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Science » Science (Group) » Life on Mars Found by NAS...

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 10:22 AM

Life on Mars Found by NASA's Viking Mission?

A fresh look at NASA data suggests that a robotic mission uncovered microbial life on Mars—more than 30 years ago.

In 1976 NASA sent two space probes, Vikings 1 and 2, to Mars to determine whether life exists on the red planet. The probes carried three experiments specially designed for the task, one of which was called the Labeled Release (LR) apparatus.

The LR experiment worked by scooping up a bit of Martian soil and mixing it with a drop of water that contained nutrients and radioactive carbon atoms.

(Related: "Mars Soil Resembles Veggie-Garden Dirt, Lander Finds.")

The idea was that if the soil contained microbes, the life-forms would metabolize the nutrients and release either radioactive carbon dioxide or methane gas, which could be measured by a radiation detector on the probe.

A number of control experiments were also performed, including heating some Mars soil samples to different temperatures and isolating other samples in the dark for months—conditions that would kill microbes that are photosynthetic or that rely on photosynthetic organisms for survival. These control samples were also mixed with the nutrient solution.

To the delight of many biologists at the time, the LR experiment came out positive for life, and the control experiments came out negative.


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/04/120413-nasa-viking-program-mars-life-space-science/

15 replies, 3074 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 11:10 AM

1. These findings have been debated on and off almost from the start.

Last edited Mon Apr 16, 2012, 12:23 PM - Edit history (1)

I don't think the scientific community will ever be in agreement on these findings, at least not until more concrete evidence of life, or lack of like, is found.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to drm604 (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 11:32 AM

2. It's more likely it's a religious dilemma more than a scientific one

 

I trust that a fair amount of denial of life o Mars 30 odd years ago has to o with one's belief.
People now a days are much more likely to accept life outside our planet than back then, i think.

That's why i think the initial data is still being debated. I think it's the person's personal beliefs that color the evidence more than anything.

Granted I also feel that NASA filters a metric fuk-ton of what they show the public.
I've just gotten used to mistrusting the government when it comes to mind-expanding discoveries about the universe and our own little piece of it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tech_smythe (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 09:14 AM

6. Oh, please. Why would "Christians" hide life and how would they keep it hidden????

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marble falls (Reply #6)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 07:07 PM

10. Simple... church dogma. Same reason Galileo was put in chains

 

same reason why we're the relatively primitive race we are.
church dogma.

to the unenlightened it takes away our "special place" in the universe.

To anyone with 3 working brain cells, it shows god is infinitely creative.

Sadly dogma usually wins out.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tech_smythe (Reply #10)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 08:45 AM

12. The more I see of the universe, the more I see G*d's hand in it.....

the more I learn about the mechanics of the universe, the big bang, string theory, the more I see G*d's hand.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tech_smythe (Reply #10)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 02:37 PM

14. Tech_smythe hits the nail on the head

 

"To anyone with 3 working brain cells, it shows god is infinitely creative."

+1

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tech_smythe (Reply #10)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 03:34 PM

15. Simple, huh?

Which churches? Which dogmas? Who's spoken out about this sort of thing?

How have they suppressed this? How have they kept it suppressed for forty years?

Who's been involved since then? What measures were taken to silence the entirety of NASA over that time?

Why haven't they suppressed all evidence of evolution, or genetics, or psychology? How about any research into abiogenesis?

(And spare me the Galileo comparisons, as they don't impress me anyway and won't answer any of my questions.)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tech_smythe (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 09:25 AM

8. Nope - some of us were around back then.

It had nothing to do with religion.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to drm604 (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 11:16 PM

4. We need more tests. Many more tests

While the Vikings and later rovers have been a success, we've only sampled the smallest part of the planet.
While I crave the vicarious glory of a human mission to mars, a robotic blitz needs to come first.
We can get a half dozen rovers with as many separate experiments onto the Martian ground for the weight of a single EVA suited astronaut.
And we can get them there with existing rockets. Round trips to Mars with human crew
requires rather more and more capable heavy lift rockets than we currently posses.
We'll get the most information for our money from one way instrument packages.
A sample return would be a cool achievement.
But I submit that experiments across the Martian Surface would yield more information than kilo or so of material we might get back with a return.
I'm sure trying to reproduce the first Viking results with similar instruments scattered across Mars would produce useful results.
We've all heard of sensor chips. Now our manufacturers can strut their nanobot stuff to produce micro experiment packages.
A few Mars Orbiters could give yield a mountain of data by remote sensing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cobalt-60 (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 07:10 PM

11. I completely agree... and if you can convince the earth firsters we'll go

 

problem is all the fucking small-minded earth firsters fight this kind of progress.

They conveniently ignore/forget/repress the FACT that all modern technology is thanks to space exploration.

Settling on Mars, not just for research but as a colony, is IN THE INTEREST OF MANKIND.

Sorry, I know you aren't the target of my scorn.

it is just frustrating, when you look at the minuscule cost of space exploration vs the returns vs the pentagon budget, it drives me around the bend that we're STILL not in space yet.... and the space station doesnt count!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 06:17 PM

3. I refuse to believe they have found a place where dandelions won't grow.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tclambert (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 12:09 AM

5. That does strain the imagination, I agree.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tclambert (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 10:27 AM

9. Let a dandelion seed loose in space and the fucker will grow.

 

I happen to like them (good salad greens, pretty flowers, attract bees). But they WILL grow anywhere.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 12:13 PM

13. Interesting but not conclusive ..

At the time of the mission, the results of the LR experiments were interesting but not conclusive and while this further analysis of the data may lead one to suspect a positive result there are other factors that have to be worked into the calculus of any conclusion.

At the time of the Viking planning and experiment design we did not know that the surface soil of Mars has a high ratio of percholorates. On Earth, percholorates are oxidizers providing oxygen to any reaction. They are frequently used in explosives and rocket propellants.

There is recent research that suggests that Mars has been both cold and arid for a longer period than we may have once thought. James Head, the plenary speaker at the Lunar and Planetary Science conference paints a picture of Mars where temperatures have never risen above freezing in the mid-latitude region of the planet.

The warm-wet verses cold-dry dichotomy has always been a problem for planetary science because if Mars went through a warm-wet period, where did the heat come from?

The Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) will touch down in just a little over three months and we'll learn much more about the surface geology and the geologic history during the coarse of the mission.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread