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Is NASA Running Away From Life on Mars

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posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 02:13 PM
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A few weeks ago, while searching for a press release about "Life on Mars", I came across an extremely well written article about the way this subject is being treated by NASA and the scientific community since the early days of Mars exploration. It instantly reminded me of the pitiful fact that after more than 40 years with two successful Viking Mars landers, a fleet of rovers (Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity) and several Mars orbiters, we still don't know if there is life on Mars or ever has been. At least that's the official story.

I decided to post the introductory paragraph of said article below hoping that it encourages some on here to read the entire piece (it's a good read and doesn't get too technical). It touches on some very interesting issues regard life on Mars and potential conspiracies surrounding the topic, but first the "teaser":


Is NASA Running Away From Life on Mars?

The other day, as my wife and I walked, a rabbit froze in place, hoping we wouldn't notice it. This reminded me of NASA's behavior upon being presented with evidence of Mars life.

Back home, family and friends were giving me those "deer in the headlights" looks each time I shared a "curious" image from the Curiosity Mars rover. A few uttered strangely obtuse, even evasive responses as though through some deep, primal reflex. Were they trying to protect me from myself?
(...)


The article goes on to address a potential conspiracy that may have started in the early days of the robotic exploration of Mars. The debate is centered around the so-called "Labeled Release Experiment" (LR) which was conducted on board the Viking landers with the aim to detect life on Mars in 1976.

The experiment was designed by Dr. Gilbert V. Levin and was the first attempt to find evidence for microorganisms directly on the surface of Mars ... and it was successful, not only according to Levin. Officially, however, the results were interpreted as "ambiguous". Levin, who invented the so-called microbial radiorespirometry (initially devised to check drinking water for microbial contaminations) explains the experiment - and the ensuing dispute - in his own words in the following video:

So did we find life on Mars in 1976? Well, that's exactly what Levin is telling us and he hasn't got any doubts about it. I do recommend watching the entire video but if you don't have the time you can skip to the two minute mark where Levin - in a nutshell - explains what his experiment does (takes about a minute or so).

In 1997, Levin drafted a paper which was published in a journal called "Proceedings of Spie - The International Society for Optical Engineering". Both in the above video and in the paper, he revisits the results of the LR experiment and addresses the objections that were raised by the scientific community over the years. Levin essentially states the following:


The Viking Labeled Release Experiment and Life on Mars (Gilbert V. Levin)

"The demonstrated success of the LR and the exquisite sensitivity with which it has detected microorganisms during its extensive test program with its record of no false positives can no longer be denied."


And he further concludes:


"No non-biological approach published, or known to the author, has duplicated the LR Mars data [...] On the other hand, a combination of known properties of microorganisms, perhaps even those possessed by single species, could reproduce all of the LR data."


Interestingly, Levin has come to believe that NASA cannot officially present evidence of life on Mars because this would seriously delay their manned missions to the red planet. If there is life on Mars, we could of course be dealing with pathogens, infectious agents that are dangerous for humans. And proving that these would be harmless to humans (on Mars and Earth, as a precondition for manned missions) would be a highly complicated endeavour, possibly delaying the schedule for decades or even longer.

So what should we make of all this? Could it be that we have already discovered life on Mars in 1976, despite the harsh conditions on the surface incl. high levels of radiation? And is Levin's theory for NASA's odd behaviour a good explanation for the 40-year quest for life on the red planet without conclusive results? Or is this but a desparate fight of a man who wanted too much, too early? I look forward to your thoughts on this and thanks a lot for reading up to here!



SOURCES AND LINKS:
------------------------------------------
01. Article: Is NASA Running Away From Life on Mars?
02. Video: Gilbert V. Levin/Viking LR Experiment
03. Viking Lander Biological Experiments
04. The Viking Labeled Release Experiment and Life on Mars
05. Labeled Release - An Experiment in Radiorespirometry
06. Earlier ATS Thread Discussing the LR Experiment
07. Did Gil Levin Discover Evidence for Life on Mars in 1976?
08. Website of Gilbert V. Levin
edit on 6-1-2017 by jeep3r because: formatting




posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 02:23 PM
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a reply to: jeep3r
Yes, I have seen and heard this Levin guy before and it is indeed more of the cover-up.
But NASA will never be able to talk about life on Mars as long as our local ET visitation is being hidden under wraps.



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 02:23 PM
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a reply to: jeep3r

We do in fact run away from life on mars. I recall reading an article on this a while back and seem to remember part of an excerpt where there is some sort of concensus we should not approach life on mars directly as not to interfere with it or something. This doesnt mean aliens of course -- It could be simple organisms. If I can find the article I will link it.



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 02:40 PM
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a reply to: drewlander

Please do, if you can find it. An interesting question would be how extant microbial life on Mars would affect manned missions to the red planet and if the contamination-argument would really threaten such programs.

If yes, then this very fact would be a good explanation for NASA's conservative position on this matter.



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 02:53 PM
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a reply to: jeep3r

I dont know about the legitimacy of this source, but here is a start. I guess it actually became a moral issue presented by Carl Sagan many years back, I have seen NASA echo similar statements in more recent times.

http:////theconversation.com//do-no-harm-to-li fe-on-mars-ethical-limits-of-the-prime-directive-57712

This is not the source I read months back, but has statements from NASA officials on the ethics of approaching life on other planets.

seems like a legit source tho ....

en.wikipedia.org...(website)


edit on 6-1-2017 by drewlander because: edited a million times to get the link working.



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 03:10 PM
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NASA has created a very clear pattern of playing down discoveries on Mars, and even the moon where they announced the found water there...Twice. This alludes to their cautionary stance on making any kind of public announcement. Mars, same patterns with playing down findings in a cautionary way, but not because they aren't sure about what they find, it is because they are unsure about making sensitive things public when those things are already viewed as controversial in any way.

They also have a bad habit of somehow losing very valuable records and films that were classified and then subject to declassification, which after that, the records could no longer be found. Dr. Levin gives a very good example of NASA doing things in ways that are contrary to the scientific method and proper conduct in furthering real science. Every single anomaly explained away even though the equipment recording them are multi-millions of dollars in value and pedigree.

Bread and circuses, give out some pretty pictures and the public will not ask too many questions. And when scientists ask too many questions they can always have their careers ended and their retirement accounts set to zero.



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 03:15 PM
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a reply to: drewlander

Thanks, drewlander. I'm taking the liberty to repost the first link:
Do no harm to life on Mars? Ethical limits of the ‘Prime Directive’

Here the quote from Carl Sagan:

If there is life on Mars, I believe we should do nothing with Mars. Mars then belongs to the Martians, even if the Martians are only microbes.


He indeed said this himself, as can be seen in "Cosmos Part 5 - Blues For a Red Planet" (skip to 52:30):
www.youtube.com...
edit on 6-1-2017 by jeep3r because: fixed youtube link



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 03:18 PM
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a reply to: jeep3r

Thx for fixing my link. You're definitely a better researcher than me on this topic


Nice work!



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 03:20 PM
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originally posted by: jeep3r
It instantly reminded me of the pitiful fact that after more than 40 years with two successful Viking Mars landers, a fleet of rovers (Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity) and several Mars orbiters, we still don't know if there is life on Mars or ever has been. At least that's the official story.

You forgot one important mission, Phoenix.

The discovery by Phoenix of perchlorate in the Martian soil has brought more possible interpretations for the results of the LR experiment, and I agree that the result is still inconclusive.



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 03:31 PM
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a reply to: jeep3r

You might be interested in the interview with ex-NASA, biologist/astrobiologist Richard Hoover, the theme is the same, Nasa would not confirm his findings on certain meteorites, while he maintains they didn't listen properly, or just didn't understand. He also claims that he recognises a crinoid fossil in one of the pictures, while that particular fossil was obliterated. It's all in the interview. A keyword in the whole conversation is Nitrogen.

You should know the Huff at one time, (same reporter.. Spiegel is the interviewer in the video) did a hit piece on Hoover over the meteorites and scoffed then. The outcome here is very different. Levin had other problems to deal with I think.

edit on 6-1-2017 by smurfy because: Text.



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 03:38 PM
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a reply to: ArMaP

My bad!


But they still can't reproduce the results of the LR data? On the other hand, I also think that it would indeed be sensational if the two Viking landers detected microbial organisms in the first soil samples at two completely different locations. What a lucky coincidence that would be (unless it's a global property of the soil) ...

Whatever the case, the LR experiment was based on solid science and Levin was an expert in his field due to his previous assignments to devise tests for contaminated drinking water (also a sensitive issue since it's related to public health).

IIRC, the other two biological experiments on board the Viking landers failed. One of them was designed to detect organic compounds but couldn't do so, possibly due to insufficient sensitivity.



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 04:03 PM
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a reply to: jeep3r
Dr. Levin’s claim of a conspiracy doesn’t add up in my opinion. First off there hasn’t been any planned manned mission to mars in the past 40 years as far as I know. If this were a conspiracy to secure funding for any type of mission, manned or robotic, then what better way but to confirm that there is life there? That would most certainly inspire public interest.

The point of confirming if there is indeed life, what type of life there is and whether it would be harmful to humans would secure funding for NASA and JPL for decades to come from the time of Viking's original find I would think.

Then there is the conspiracy of only robotic missions to Mars by JPL.
THE SECRET STORY OF PLANET MARS

NASA does seem to be a strange type of animal doesn’t it? Perhaps this is a good example of “too many cooks will spoil the broth”.
I do find it odd that NASA doesn't seem interested in experiments that would confirm or deny the presence of life on Mars. I am definitely in favor of experiments and data and think looking for the presence of life to be a priority on most if not all Mars' missions.
edit on 1/6/2017 by Devino because: spelling



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 04:12 PM
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originally posted by: jeep3r
On the other hand, I also think that it would indeed be sensational if the two Viking landers detected microbial organisms in the first soil samples at two completely different locations.
I believe this is exactly what Dr. Levin claimed. Nine experiments from both Viking landers 4,000 miles apart from each other all confirming the presence of C14 gas indicating life and zero in all controls.



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 04:23 PM
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Great video. Watched most of it in the shower. This does not surprise me at all.

He was really able to break down the experiments and findings in a simple and interesting manner. Thanx for posting.



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 04:48 PM
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a reply to: jeep3r

very interesting interview. I didnt know all these details.




Interestingly, Levin has come to believe that NASA cannot officially present evidence of life on Mars because this would seriously delay their manned missions to the red planet. If there is life on Mars, we could of course be dealing with pathogens, infectious agents that are dangerous for humans. And proving that these would be harmless to humans (on Mars and Earth, as a precondition for manned missions) would be a highly complicated endeavour, possibly delaying the schedule for decades or even longer.


By his own account things seem strange indeed...though this reasoning makes no sense to me. Without proving it's harmless...you might as well send a crew to their deaths...so I fail to see how this would be advantageus to the manned mission.
edit on 6-1-2017 by MarioOnTheFly because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 05:11 PM
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originally posted by: jeep3r
IIRC, the other two biological experiments on board the Viking landers failed. One of them was designed to detect organic compounds but couldn't do so, possibly due to insufficient sensitivity.

Yes, and the repeating of the LR experiment didn't result in a repeating of the results, as only the first time gave positive results.



posted on Jan, 6 2017 @ 05:16 PM
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I've looked pretty hard for physical traces of life in the photos, and I've never found anything conclusive. As for microbial life, I tend to think that if it's found on Mars, it didn't develop there but instead rode in high and fast on a stray asteroid or comet. It might be tough enough to hang on in the very harsh climate of Mars, but it would have to be real tough, and I doubt that it ever evolved into anything resembling life on Earth.

I don't think NASA is hiding anything. They just have a very specific set of protocols, and like to stick to them.



posted on Jan, 7 2017 @ 12:48 AM
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Thread title is met with my roused eyebrows, seeing how the next NASA rover mission to Mars is specifically designed to look for signs of past life. The current rover, Curiosity, has been designed to look for signs of Mars' habitability in the past, and it actually found some such signs.

Past rovers simply had very limited goals, and were designed to study current conditions on Mars and its geological past.

Planetary science isn't all about "let's just find out if there is or was any life there". And when you're sending a rover to Mars, you have a very small choice of instruments and areas of interest to study. So I can't really blame NASA for not just diving head-in and looking for life on Mars, but actually studying the planet and making step-by-step progress in technology, science, and what that science reveals to us.



posted on Jan, 7 2017 @ 01:17 AM
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a reply to: ArMaP




Yes, and the repeating of the LR experiment didn't result in a repeating of the results, as only the first time gave positive results.


what ?

It's not what I understood. They even took a sample of soil under the rock...it was repeated and the results were the same.

Are we taking about the same thing ?



posted on Jan, 7 2017 @ 01:25 AM
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a reply to: ArMaP

Levin states something else, around the eight minute mark of the video he explains how the control experiment confirmed the initial results and that, after sceptical inquiry, they even took a sample from underneath a rock (which they moved via the robotic arm) to counter the argument that ultraviolet light influenced the results.



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