More results for the possibility of Life on Mars - Page 20

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Kevin Author Profile Page

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Reply: 381

PostPosted: March 19, 2012 6:41 AM 

The Trace Gas Orbiter is said to be back on track for a 2016 launch and will try and find the source of the Methane and Exo-Mars will land in that region. It will have a drill and carry experiments that will look for past or present life on Mars.


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Reply: 382

PostPosted: March 20, 2012 9:06 AM 

Barsoomer, re380: Levin keeps suggesting an improved Labeled Release (Gulliver) experiment. This is his latest work on it:

Maybe he should ask ESA/Roscosmos for including his "dart" version to the ExoMars Rover to complete the Pasteur exobiologic instrument suite. Maybe that would be the only possibility to see a follow-up LR test on Mars during our lifetimes. Confused


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Reply: 383

PostPosted: March 21, 2012 5:33 AM 

If you can spare some 30 minutes for watching, this is an interesting interview with Dr. Carol Stoker reflecting on the NASA Mars program and Phoenix in particular:

interesting bits:
- Phoenix site is/was habitable by terrestrial standards but she quite skeptical about life on Mars
- need for astrobiology missions to Mars
- less flagship and more cheaper and more frequent missions to Mars
- NASA too much concentrating of developing/flying things while low funding for data-mining/study of Mars data gained
- most interesting data products of the Phoenix mission were presented by none-team members on the web Smile

p.s. Dr. Stoker earned my respect trying something unimaginable almost blasphemic by scanning the Mars-Pathfinder visual data for spectral fingerprints of chlorophyll in the surrounding rocks in Chryse Planitia. Rolling Eyes
Wish we had access to her computer algorythm for modification and usage on MER or Phoenix multispectral data...


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Reply: 384

PostPosted: March 21, 2012 4:59 PM 

Her analysis of habitability of the Phoenix site is here.

Of note is the extremely low habitability index for the Viking sites.


Posts: xxx

Reply: 385

PostPosted: March 23, 2012 6:43 PM 

That was a very interesting video. Kinda sad that in her younger years she felt humans would make it to Mars by the 90's when contrasted with the current reality of
scaled back robotic missions Crying or Very Sad
Thanks for the link.


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Reply: 386

PostPosted: March 27, 2012 2:16 PM 

Gil Levin keeps busy in preparation for the MSL landing and brings forward his arguments Smile

The quest to find life on Mars: Been there, done that?


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Reply: 387

PostPosted: March 27, 2012 4:56 PM 

It would be nice if someone who knows Alan, contact him later to see how the poll turned out. I voted.


Posts: 344

Reply: 388

PostPosted: March 27, 2012 11:03 PM 

There is a "view results" button there. Current tabulation:

Do you think there's life on Mars?

Yes, but it's well-hidden 44%
Yes, and Viking found it. 17%
Once there was, but not today. 32%
Mars always has been dead. 7%

Total Votes: 1634


Posts: 250

Reply: 389

PostPosted: March 29, 2012 5:41 AM 

Just found another interesting story involving Dr. Stoker - quite similar to the Pathfinder chlorophyll detection. She really seems to be at the direct frontline of a science war about life on Mars: Smile

Scientist at center of Mars flap speaks out

"What Stoker and Lemke have found, according to several attendees of the private meeting, is not direct proof of life on Mars, but methane signatures and other signs of possible biological activity remarkably similar to those recently discovered in caves here on Earth."

"Stoker also points out that "there was lots of ethanol consumed" at the party, which may have contributed to the loss of accuracy of any secondhand reports."

My personal resume with the words of the old germanic tribes at the roman border: "In Vino Veritas" Rolling Eyes


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Reply: 390

PostPosted: March 29, 2012 6:31 PM 

MPJ. That was in 2005. She used the imbibing of ethanol as she put it to indicate that some witnesses, who were adamant that she had stated that her current work could be extrapolated to indicate present life on Mars and that publication in Nature of was imminent, were obviously drunk and that she never said that. Kinda the opposite of In Vino Veritas. There is no smoke without fire and overall a very poor show on her part.

Her revelation of chlorophyll in pathfinder images came to an abrupt end. This was just one of a number of analyses of images to see if any biological existed. None were found and the leaping into the media by Dr Stoker was most unfortunate. But then again that is no different to Levin's claims that he had discoverd lichens in Viking images.

direct frontline of a science war about life on Mars No..not really.


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Reply: 391

PostPosted: March 29, 2012 10:00 PM 

Haven't seen Winston around here for a while; I hope he's ok. Winston, how are you doing?


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Reply: 392

PostPosted: March 29, 2012 11:12 PM 

Hi Barsoomer; I've been very busy lately. I haven't even been able to post the CY spectra that I did using correction factors from 2 series. I've been just monitoring the board and seeing those fantastic images by Hort. Should be posting again soon as I wind up the other things I've been doing.

Thanks for the interest.



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Reply: 393

PostPosted: March 30, 2012 4:15 AM 

Serpens, i guess like every good scientist Stoker too enjoys a good glass of wine from time to time at such occasions while informal talking about science findings. The main point is that the story of her perfectly reflects my personal experiences with other professional scientists engaged in the field of astrobiology and even planetary geo-sciences (MEX DLR team members). Every single astrobiologist, biochemist or microbiologist to whom I spoke (informally) lately about Mars agreed that there is ample evidence for current life there - most agree with Levin too (informally of course). Smile

(Micro-)Life on Mars seems to be an open secret in the Mars scientific community...

Kevin Author Profile Page

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Reply: 394

PostPosted: March 30, 2012 5:34 AM 

#393 here here, I speak with scientists and astronomers too and the general consensus is we shall find life elsewhere in the next 10 years. Titan is #1 and Mars #2 however it will be a long time before we get back to the surface of Titan so Mars is going to be our best hope. The drill on Exo-Mars will be highly useful. Results from Phoenix are still yielding great science and will continue to do so, we saw the water ice, the droplets forming on the legs. That area looked similar to a frozen island near Canada and the conditions similar to the dry, frozen parts of Antartica where salty brines are also found with various types of cyanobacteria/lichens happily thriving.

The approach to finding life on Mars is slow and following a precise method as detailed in the future missions, these do not include Humans. Robonaut on the ISS has started to carry out tasks and when fully developed will have similar skills to a Human but not the cognetive ones. Missions to other worlds will no doubt be carried out by Robonauts and not Humans.


Posts: xxx

Reply: 395

PostPosted: March 30, 2012 5:48 PM 

MPJ. When a scientist is involved in astrobiology and dependent on government grants to feed a family of course he or she will espouse confidence in extraterrestrial life. That is not really any indicator of fact although given the sheer scale of the universe it is a sure bet.

Mars is much more problematic. There may be microbial life on Mars but there is absolutely no unequivocal evidence of such. With respect to claims that appear in the media from time to time, I am reminded of the fable of the boy who cried wolf. Each extravegant claim that fails to stand scrutiny does real damage.

I would refer you to Dr Stoker analysis of the potential for life at the Viking sites. (see my post 384 above). Then look at the analysis of the regolith at the Phoenix site where the conclusion was effectively 'don't bother to look for life in the surface soil'. Just a couple more data points that make me question why you personally are so sure that the Levin experiment indicated life? Do you also believe his claims that he found lichen in Viking images?


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Reply: 396

PostPosted: March 31, 2012 7:18 AM 

Serpens, the Viking lichen story - lets gather the facts in short: Levin recognized some peculiar coloration's of rocks around the Viking landers. He when analyzed this spots spectra and compared them with spectra taken from antarctic rock samples with lichen grow using a clone Viking camera from JPL. He found the results matched.

What now? First: is anything wrong with my short description? Second: did anybody falsified his findings?
If not the fact remains that colored patches on rocks around Viking matches spectra with lichen bearing rocks from Antarctica imaged by a duplicate Viking cam.
Just chance?

Viking LR:
* all criteria for a positive life detection met by pre-mission standards.
* adjusted further test runs (samples from under a rock, different sterilizing control temperatures, storage for months in the dark before test...) still fully indicating a biologic response.

Current working theory/explanation: exotic chemical (oxidizer) mimicking biology

So mysterious chemicals yet to be found and pure chance are contraindicative for evidence of life by most of the Nasa scientific community. Very Happy Shocked

This way we wont ever proceed with this never ending story...


Posts: xxx

Reply: 397

PostPosted: March 31, 2012 7:08 PM 

MPJ. Have you read his paper. If not it is linked here:

As you can see the analysis is a little niaive and Levin had a great deal of difficulty getting the article published. He finally got a very minor journal to accept it. Notably he never did follow up the analysis as he had indicated he would.

The Viking experiments were designed for cross checking, recognising that unknown aspects of the Martian environment could resulting false positives in a single experiment. All criteria were most definitely not met. The storage of samples was pre planned to enable a possibly sparce biological component to grow. The link is a quite balanced analysis of the experiments.

The story is neverending because Levin keeps it alive by all means possible. His name has reappeared of late linked to Curiosity. This is not editors seeking out his opinions, but rather Levin indulging in a shotgun approach to try and get media exposure. See the link.

John Henry Dough

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Reply: 398

PostPosted: March 31, 2012 7:36 PM 

Thanks for the links,,,good stuff,,,obviously Levine believes in himself.
We are giving him more exposure here.Good.
Debate in science usually proves fruitful.
That is to say 'for the better' (fruitful).


Posts: 250

Reply: 399

PostPosted: April 1, 2012 6:17 AM 

(-sigh-)Serpens, where to start?
"The Viking experiments were designed for cross checking" Not so in regards to the biology experiments which were chosen and designed to test for different kinds of possible life (known on Earth) which should make sense even for geologists as of not putting all eggs in one basket.
Results: 1 nil, 1 ambiguous, 1 positive.
The GC/MS was not part of the biology experiments but indicated no organics on Mars - the results are now questioned in regards to the Phoenix findings while the biology results remain unquestioned.

Viking lichen: Nobody dared to cross check Levins observations alltough everybody jumped on him claiming he is wrong and so neither scientific confirmation nor a falsification by a neutral approach occurred - why is that? Is it so unimportant to look for signs of life on Mars?
Same for Stokers brilliant idea of scanning Mars images for spectral fingerprints of chlorophyll - just pure refusal talk and no scientific debate/cross checking of her idea!? By the way 2 spots of the detected chlorophyll signature were not on the Pathfinder lander. But as usual: nothing to see - move along folks Razz

Keep the Viking legacy alive: Levin has his reasons and they are not less good as the other sides reasons insisting on a sterile Mars.

I think the leading Nasa planetary scientists - mostly geologists - are like little boys fearing of loosing their toys if another group (astrobiology in this case) gets more attention (resources). So they keep hoping on finding the big dinosaur bone to claim the discovery of et-life all for themselves Very Happy

try here:


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Reply: 400

PostPosted: April 1, 2012 6:54 PM 

MPJ. Stoker herself stated that they did not find chlorophyll. Did you read Levin's article? There is no way that the content could be construed to mean that lichen was imaged by Viking.

Even Stoker put the Viking sites as the lowest possibility for life across all landers. NASA continues to fund astrobiology and I really think that your last sentence is uncalled for and in fact verges ontbhe nonesensical.

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