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Life finding rover passes test: Ready for Mars

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posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 08:32 AM
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A robot laden with sensor equipment has detected life on the arid terrain of the Chilean desert, a first for rover-based systems.

Nobody was surprised to find life there, but with the harsh conditions and sparse biological activity, the feat is likened to finding microbial creatures on Mars if any exists there.

Zoë, a four-wheeled automaton built to scan for living organisms, found evidence of bacterial colonies and lichens living among the rocks of Chile’s Atacama Desert.

"Our life detection system worked very well, and something like it ultimately may enable robots to look for life on Mars," said Alan Waggoner, an Atacama study team member and director of the Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center at Carnegie Mellon University.

NASA’s Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are currently exploring the Red Planet, but they are not equipped to make the specific measurements needed for life detection.

Developed by Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, Zoë borrows its name from the Greek word for "life." The robot is part of a three-year Life in the Atacama project at the Astrobiology Science and Technology Program for Exploring Planets, aimed at understanding how life can be detected by remotely operated rovers.

"We saw very clear signals from chlorophyll, DNA and protein," Waggoner said, adding that researchers also found visual evidence of biological materials from images taken by Zoë’s cameras. "Taken together, these four pieces of evidence are strong indicators of life."

The research was presented this week at the 36th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston. Nathalie Cabrol, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, led the study.

Zoë stands just over 3 feet (one meter) tall and carries a fluorescence imager on its undercarriage to detect chlorophyll-based-life like the cyanobacteria in lichens. The instrument can also pick up signals from fluorescent dyes that light up when they connect with nucleic acids, proteins and other life-relevant molecules.

www.msnbc.msn.com...


I just don't get it sometimes. We seem to be trying SOOOO HARD to find life somewhere other than earth. But why go to such lengths to coverup the fact that life may already be visiting us here now.

So, let's say we find some bacteria on Mars. Then we can say we found life. Then what? IMO, the gov't hides proof of visitig ET to preserve power (no big suprise there). Don't you think that if and when NASA finds and shows proof of life on Mars that the poeple will come to a revelation that we may have been lied to all these years? That they will see if life exist as close to us as on our next door neighbors planet, that the possibilities are endless as far as intelligent life existing and perhaps visiting us?




posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 09:08 AM
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Nope...

Baby steps..
1. confirm extra-solar planets - check
2. confirm water on other worlds - check
3. confirm microscopic life on other worlds - working on it
4. confirm fossils of larger life on other worlds
5. disclosure

Brookings Report my friend...clearly outlines that acclimation is the path chosen....



posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 11:50 AM
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So, what if we accidentally find step 4 while looking for step 3? Will we go right into disclosure?



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 11:58 AM
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The stupid treacherous governments need to stop lying about the fact that aliens are here



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 12:12 PM
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Originally posted by Gazrok
Nope...

Baby steps..
1. confirm extra-solar planets - check
2. confirm water on other worlds - check
3. confirm microscopic life on other worlds - working on it
4. confirm fossils of larger life on other worlds
5. disclosure

Brookings Report my friend...clearly outlines that acclimation is the path chosen....


Took the words right out of my mouth


i think its the best solution, people these days are too mellow to be able to take a culture shock like a full disclosure at once.


errr... except for the people on ATS, of course


[edit on 17-3-2005 by nukunuku]



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 01:01 PM
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Originally posted by Gazrok
3. confirm microscopic life on other worlds - working on it

According to similar tests Nasa has done on Mars - check

A rover wond have more credibility than the Viking probes. Even if it tests positive Nasa will claim it is inconclusive and request another $200M from the goverment for the next Mars project.



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