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#1 2004-09-24 23:33:55

Mad Grad Student
Member
From: Phoenix, Arizona, North Americ
Registered: 2003-11-09
Posts: 498
Website

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000F22:post_uid0]It's been said somewhere in the depths of this forum that if you stop for a second and hold still, you can feel the paradigm shifting on the issue of life on Mars, in favor of it. If you made this qoute, sorry I forgot who you were and had to paraphrase, but I was wondering, how much has the paradigm really shifted. So what's your opinion? Does the outgassings of methane and ammonia from water-rich areas of Mars provide conclusive evidence of life, or do you remain steadfast that the Viking's positive result in the life experiment discounts other evidence for life?

The new developments are pouring in so quickly we'll probably have to make a new poll in a couple of months to see how the opnions have changed, but that's what makes it exciting. The evidence has been pouring in from all corners, methane outgassing, bedrock outcrops in Meridiani, evidence of a loooooooooong standing ocean in Meridiani, the blueberry's in Meridiani (okay, so it's been coming in from all corners of Meridiani Planum, but the point remains). We've concretely established that Mars was wet, not just damp, for a good long time, and if that's the case life almost definately arose at some point. Life is just so adaptible and hardy I don't see how it could completely dissapear, and I believe (and I usually hate using that word) that it must still be there, deep underground in those pockets of water slushie, perhaps even spitting out some methane for our orbiters, guiding us in.
Come and get me....
Come and get me....
Come and get me....

:laugh: The question is, when do we find it? That is of course, if it's there to find...[/color:post_uid0]


A mind is like a parachute- it works best when open.

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#2 2004-09-28 15:45:15

Ian Flint
Banned
From: Colorado
Registered: 2003-09-24
Posts: 437

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Sorry, I just had to be a rebel and click "I don't care."

Now before you linch me, let me explain.  Here are the options, and I am ok with either one:

1.  There is life on Mars.  Great!  This will be a boon to science and may even get more people on the planet faster to study it.  On the down side, knowledge of life on Mars may freak people out.  There may be a public outcry to keep us destructive humans off that pristeen planet.

2.  There is no life on Mars.  Great!  Those pesky little "pro-Mars-life" groups will never get started, and the door to unubstructed colonization will be open.  On the down side, with no life Mars may remain a boring lifeless rock to most people, and settlement funding may come slowly.

What I want to see most of all is a two planet species, so as far as I can see Life on Mars has no bearing on that goal.[/color:post_uid0]

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#3 2004-09-28 16:40:12

Grypd
Member
From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,868

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]im with Ian[/color:post_uid0]


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#4 2004-09-29 21:22:13

Mad Grad Student
Member
From: Phoenix, Arizona, North Americ
Registered: 2003-11-09
Posts: 498
Website

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000F22:post_uid0]Well, it wasn't really intended to be an opinion poll, it was supposed to be what you think of the odds of life's existence are. For better or for worse, I think that the odds are in favor of life munching away deep underground on the red planet as we speak, though personally I also think that's a good thing. It's a lonely universe out there, it's good to have some companionship close by.

I knew from the start that someone was going to click the I don't care box, so I guess that's to be expected. However, you could have just clicked the box for being insouciant, you know.[/color:post_uid0]


A mind is like a parachute- it works best when open.

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#5 2004-09-30 03:49:02

Gennaro
Member
From: Eta Cassiopeiae (no, Sweden re
Registered: 2003-03-25
Posts: 591

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Is there life on Mars? Sure, if we show some courage I guess we have to admit that there's no sane alternative explanation for the ammonia phenomena.
Jackpot would be finding life that is not related to earth life, but truly Martian in origin. It would mean life is everywhere in the galaxy and the reason they haven't called us yet is simply some bizarre joke.

Will we find it and prove it exists? Don't know. Can we ever prove or disprove anything nowadays?
Going to Mars to look for it seems to run against the age: this peculiar combination of profound insecurity and absolute stasis [i:post_uid0]where nothing ever happens and nothing can be done about anything anymore[/i:post_uid0].
:bars2:[/color:post_uid0]

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#6 2004-09-30 14:32:43

Ian Flint
Banned
From: Colorado
Registered: 2003-09-24
Posts: 437

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Hey, if you don't want opinions then don't put "I don't care." as a choice.  tongue

If your going to make me choose based on facts I'd have to say Mars is a germy planet.  Too much water in the past for life not to arise, and life is too tenacious to die off completely.[/color:post_uid0]

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#7 2004-09-30 18:47:58

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=000066:post_uid0]Well, I had to go with 'don't care', not because I'm not interested but for practical reasons. If we find life on Mars it has short-term advantages in that it gives us a clear, easy-sell reason to go, but in the long-term it's a political obstacle. The two cancel each other out, so from a practical standpoint, it doesn't matter much to me.

It would certainly be of great scientific interest, don't get me wrong, but I'm more concerned with the future of our particular form of life. Mars is a planet with great potential... and we wants it.  big_smile

Filthy germses, stole it from us.  :angry:[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#8 2004-10-21 08:46:35

MarsDog
Member
From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I would bet on life inside a lava tube. Shielded from radiation, temperatures moderated, with water unfrozen.[/color:post_uid0]

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#9 2004-11-09 06:55:18

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid4]I've been banging the 'Life-on-Mars' drum for ages now and I'm almost embarrassed to repeat it all again here ... [i:post_uid4]almost embarrassed![/i:post_uid4]   big_smile

1) Earth and Mars were similar about 3.5 bya - in terms of air, water, temperature.
2) Life existed on Earth 3.5 bya.
3) Earth and Mars have never been quarantined from each other because of impact transfer of crustal material. (More impacts back then.)
4) It follows that life existed on Mars 3.5 bya.
5) All Earth-life is based on the same 20 laevorotatory amino acids - no fundamentally 'different' life has been found here.
6) It follows that Earth-life and Mars-life are the same kind of life.
7) It follows there was only one 'genesis' [b:post_uid4]or[/b:post_uid4]
     Earth-life devoured or outcompeted Mars-life when they met [b:post_uid4]or[/b:post_uid4]
     Mars-life devoured or outcompeted Earth-life when they met [b:post_uid4]or[/b:post_uid4]
     the two types of life amalgamated to form what we see on earth today.
8) Earth-life (the simple kind, bacteria) is extraordinarily tenacious and adaptable.
9) It follows that Mars life (bacteria at least) is extraordinarily tenacious and adaptable - it must be, it's the same life.
10) It follows that we're looking for familiar terrestrial-type bacteria on Mars and should expect to find it.

    "On a quiet day, if you keep perfectly still, you can feel the paradigm shifting" toward life on Mars
    From my point of view, it's way past time!  The logic seems inescapable and it would actually be far more remarkable to me if Mars were sterile.

    Speaking of the paradigm shifting, I noticed a couple of articles. The first relates to pictures of the martian canyons returned by the Mars Express Orbiter. The full script is HERE.
    A few of the key quotes are from Dr. John Murray, one of the HRSC team members, based at the Earth Sciences Dept. at the Open University, Milton Keynes, U.K. :-

.. The images are showing us a lot more evidence for recent water activity, and probably recent ice deposits, than I'd previously thought.
    .. Mars may have been volcanically active very recently, perhaps as little as a million years ago.
    .. I'd like to see a Beagle type mission flown again in the near future. The Mars Express images have convinced me that the likelihood of life on Mars is far greater than I used to think.[/quote:post_uid4]

    The second article relates to the recent (now confirmed) discovery of methane in the martian atmosphere. It's got biology Professor Timothy Kral, of the University of Arkansas, quite excited because it seems to fit in very well with his work. He and his colleagues at the Arkansas-Oklahoma Center for Space and Planetary Sciences have been working for years on the possibility that the Red Planet could sustain life.
    In particular, they've been testing the ability of terrestrial bacteria called methanogens to survive under martian conditions. According to the article: "Methanogens are found in nearly every anaerobic environment on Earth, from hot springs to the deep ocean to the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. Methanogens do not require oxygen to survive; instead, these tiny creatures breathe carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas, producing methane as a waste product. This unique form of respiration makes methanogens potentially viable residents of Mars, whose atmosphere is predominantly composed of carbon dioxide with practically no oxygen."
    Speaking of the martian methane, Professor Kral said:-

This discovery is a tremendous boon for us because it supports the very work that we've been doing.[/quote:post_uid4]
    For the complete article, click HERE.
    While the work of Professor Kral et al. and the discovery of martian methane do mesh together well, it's only circumstantial evidence for life on Mars and nobody is reading any more into it than that at this stage. However ...

    I think the wheels are turning. Now that the revered Viking scientists who declared Mars sterile are retired or no longer with us, the scientific community may permit itself gradually to accept the logically obvious.

    Shhh..hold still...can you feel that paradigm moving..?!   smile[/color:post_uid4]


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#10 2004-11-09 11:17:57

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,403

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid14]Well put, Shaun Barrett with the more than hypothetical simutanious planet developement and most likely sharing of biological matter.[/color:post_uid14]

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#11 2004-11-11 07:58:56

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,403

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid14]Would the fossilized past end up think this story.
Ancient Creature Fossilized By The Bacteria That Ate It
Thou we are talking about Earth creatures in this particular article I found it interesting that we were able to find the bateria also. This also pushes back the clock of time for developing of at least bacteria.[/color:post_uid14]

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#12 2004-11-30 20:07:26

ERRORIST
Member
From: OXFORD ALABAMA
Registered: 2004-01-28
Posts: 1,182

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I am with God on this one as always.

GENISIS 2
"THUS THE HEAVANS AND THE EARTH WERE FINISHED AND ALL THE HOST OF THEM".[/color:post_uid0]

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#13 2004-12-01 09:48:15

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=000066:post_uid0]

I am with God on this one as always.

GENISIS 2
"THUS THE HEAVANS AND THE EARTH WERE FINISHED AND ALL THE HOST OF THEM". [/quote:post_uid0]

So it's settled then.  big_smile[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#14 2004-12-02 02:01:02

GraemeSkinner
Member
From: Eden Hall, Cumbria
Registered: 2004-02-20
Posts: 563
Website

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

I am with God on this one as always.
GENISIS 2
"THUS THE HEAVANS AND THE EARTH WERE FINISHED AND ALL THE HOST OF THEM". [/quote:post_uid0]
So it's settled then.  big_smile[/color:post_uid0][/quote:post_uid0]
[color=#000080:post_uid0]Only if we allow religion to again dictate what we should think.

[i:post_uid0]Quote S.B.[/i:post_uid0]

7) It follows there was only one 'genesis' or
    Earth-life devoured or outcompeted Mars-life when they met or
    Mars-life devoured or outcompeted Earth-life when they met or
    the two types of life amalgamated to form what we see on earth today.
[/quote:post_uid0]

I'm not sure about the one genesis approach, but you could have a point. You've got to agree with Dr John Murray's point though that a Beagle type mission is important in the near future to perhaps bring us closer to knowing for sure.

Graeme[/color:post_uid0]


There was a young lady named Bright.
Whose speed was far faster than light;
She set out one day
in a relative way
And returned on the previous night.
--Arthur Buller--

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#15 2004-12-02 05:43:29

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid4]I've no objection at all to sending another Beagle mission to Mars to look for life. In fact, I don't know why America hasn't done so herself.
    There were seemingly ambiguous results from the Viking missions nearly thirty years ago, as far as life on Mars is concerned. The Labeled Release Experiment (LRE), devised by Dr. Gilbert Levin, produced results best explained even to this day by martian bacteria but attributed by the Viking establishment to unusual soil chemistry. Despite dozens of attempts, no simple and plausible model for this 'unusual soil chemistry' has been found to explain the results.

    Dr. Levin's position was then, and is even more so now, that his LRE detected microbes in the martian regolith.

    Even though no reasonable chemical explanation has been found for the Viking results, and even though there has been this increasingly insistent suggestion that life may well exist in the martian soil, and even though the evidence has grown that water can exist in small quantities on frequent occasions on Mars' surface, there has been a stonewall of indifference from the NASA establishment.
    Not one NASA mission launched to Mars since 1976 - that's 28 years! - has had any microbiological life-detection device incorporated into it ... not Pathfinder, not Mars Polar Lander, not Spirit, not Opportunity!!

    I'm not insisting that Viking definitely found life on Mars. I'm saying there was sufficient ambiguity to cast grave doubts on the 'No Life' verdict. I'm saying the extensive and fruitless search for a chemical model for the results looks tortuously contrived when biology was a simpler explanation.
    Occam's Razor has been studiously ignored!
    We may never know the real reason why.

    Beagle 2's failure was a great disappointment. Nobody would have been happier than me if it had detected martian microbes.
    Now it's unlikely we'll see a concerted effort to find life on Mars for many years. There's no firm date for a Beagle 3 launch and apparently even NASA's 2009 'super rover', the Mars Science Laboratory, isn't designed to give a definitive answer to the life question, 33 years after Viking!! Amazing, isn't it?!

    I think maybe Europe should do its own thing with this search for martian life. I really don't believe NASA is keen to find it.
                                                 ???[/color:post_uid4]


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#16 2004-12-02 05:48:17

GraemeSkinner
Member
From: Eden Hall, Cumbria
Registered: 2004-02-20
Posts: 563
Website

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000080:post_uid0]If Beagle 3 does not get off the drawing board perhaps there'd be room on the 2009 super rover for some of the B3 experiments/equipment.

Graeme[/color:post_uid0]


There was a young lady named Bright.
Whose speed was far faster than light;
She set out one day
in a relative way
And returned on the previous night.
--Arthur Buller--

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#17 2004-12-02 07:58:47

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#810541:post_uid12]

I've no objection at all to sending another Beagle mission to Mars to look for life. In fact, I don't know why America hasn't done so herself.
    There were seemingly ambiguous results from the Viking missions nearly thirty years ago, as far as life on Mars is concerned. The Labeled Release Experiment (LRE), devised by Dr. Gilbert Levin, produced results best explained even to this day by martian bacteria but attributed by the Viking establishment to unusual soil chemistry. Despite dozens of attempts, no simple and plausible model for this 'unusual soil chemistry' has been found to explain the results.

    Dr. Levin's position was then, and is even more so now, that his LRE detected microbes in the martian regolith.

    Even though no reasonable chemical explanation has been found for the Viking results, and even though there has been this increasingly insistent suggestion that life may well exist in the martian soil, and even though the evidence has grown that water can exist in small quantities on frequent occasions on Mars' surface, there has been a stonewall of indifference from the NASA establishment.
    Not one NASA mission launched to Mars since 1976 - that's 28 years! - has had any microbiological life-detection device incorporated into it ... not Pathfinder, not Mars Polar Lander, not Spirit, not Opportunity!!

     Beagle 2's failure was a great disappointment. Nobody would have been happier than me if it had detected martian microbes.
    Now it's unlikely we'll see a concerted effort to find life on Mars for many years. There's no firm date for a Beagle 3 launch and apparently even NASA's 2009 'super rover', the Mars Science Laboratory, isn't designed to give a definitive answer to the life question, 33 years after Viking!! Amazing, isn't it?!

    I think maybe Europe should do its own thing with this search for martian life. I really don't believe NASA is keen to find it.
                                                 ???[/quote:post_uid12]
*Uh-oh.  Your usual good sense and terrific logic is serving to fire me up!  I don't get it either.  What, is NASA afraid of offending the sentiments of the religious -- i.e., the Bible doesn't indicate there's life anywhere in the physical cosmos BUT Earth?  (Nevermind Heaven and Hell...)  Seems preposterous, but America is a highly religious nation.  Would NASA allow that to get in its way?  Who knows.  I hope not, of course.

It is outrageous and frustrating that more aggressive attempts to prove or disprove life on Mars -- even of the pondscum microbial type -- isn't happening.

What's the hold up?  Why -does- it seem NASA is dragging its feet, is shooting *under* the mark?

Yep, if the U.S. can't pony up on this then GO ESA!!  smile

--Cindy

P.S.:  Yes, all these years after Viking (seems like aeons ago, now) and the still Mars Science Laboratory isn't designed to give a definitive answer to the life question.   :bars2:  How absurd.[/color:post_uid12]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#18 2004-12-02 09:27:25

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=000066:post_uid0]

It is outrageous and frustrating that more aggressive attempts to prove or disprove life on Mars -- even of the pondscum microbial type -- isn't happening.
[/quote:post_uid0]

On this subject I'm thinking that NASA's position is essentially that they don't have unlimited funds and they have to justify everything they do everytime they plead for more money. This tends to force a focus on sciences that are easily accepted by congressmen, studying rocks, planet formation, where's the water, that sort of thing. In the minds of many, scientist and politician alike, searching for life on Mars on seen as kinda kooky. "Martians, c'mon'..." Therefore, no one wants to stick their neck out on the search for life because they risk being labeling as whackjobs and having the entire project dumped.[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#19 2004-12-02 09:34:14

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#810541:post_uid6]

It is outrageous and frustrating that more aggressive attempts to prove or disprove life on Mars -- even of the pondscum microbial type -- isn't happening.
[/quote:post_uid6]

On this subject I'm thinking that NASA's position is essentially that they don't have unlimited funds and they have to justify everything they do everytime they plead for more money. This tends to force a focus on sciences that are easily accepted by congressmen, studying rocks, planet formation, where's the water, that sort of thing. In the minds of many, scientist and politician alike, searching for life on Mars on seen as kinda kooky. "Martians, c'mon'..." Therefore, no one wants to stick their neck out on the search for life because they risk being labeling as whackjobs and having the entire project dumped.[/quote:post_uid6]
*They're already shelling out lots of money.  Why not include a specific life-detecting instrument or sensor or whatever...and simply be discreet about it? 

Or get some billionaire "I love space" poseur to cough up the cash for it (celebrity endorsement ensured).  Oh, I forgot...must have a RETURN on that green stuff.  How could I have forgotten?  roll  Where are all those billionaires who care oh-so-much for the future of space exploration?  I know!  Mugging in front of a camera day-in/day-out for their new megalomaniacal egocentric "reality TV" show (while dozens of "little people" work for peanuts to pump out the tremendously overpriced crapola they sell). 

Sorry for the digression. 

--Cindy[/color:post_uid6]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#20 2004-12-02 09:48:50

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=000066:post_uid0]

*They're already shelling out lots of money.  Why not include a specific life-detecting instrument or sensor or whatever...and simply be discreet about it? 
[/quote:post_uid0]

Government, red tape. They can't include so much as a piece of electrical tape without dozens of procurement forms, analyses and approvals. All it takes is one congressman with a bug up his butt to find that line item, look at the whole budget, then proclaim without correction that "They're spending X billions of dollars looking for Martians!"

It sucks, but that's where we are.[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#21 2004-12-02 18:18:54

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid14]Thanks, guys, for the interest in this subject. It's great to get feedback on something like this because it is potentially a 'conspiracy theory' point of view and third party calibration of one's sanity can be very useful in such matters!  :;):

    Reading numerous press releases and interviews with scientists from all over the world, for many years, you get a feel for how the Life-on-Mars' question is regarded in different quarters.
    My feeling is that Russian and western European scientists are quite open-minded about the possibility of martian life (microbial at least) and seem able to move freely from pro- to con- and back to pro-life positions in accordance with whatever evidence comes their way. In other words, I detect no restraint in their speculation and hypothesising.
    With American scientists, on the other hand, there is a very definite difference. The feeling of restraint is almost palpable. I get the impression there are many scientists, inside and outside NASA, who are excited by the prospects for martian life and who would love to go and look for it. At the same time, I can feel the burden of the official standpoint weighing heavily on every statement these people make in public.
    There's definitely something going on behind the scenes, in my opinion. There's a much more authoritarian central control of information, attitudes, and what can or can't be said.

    CC's take on the matter is logical, in so far as it probably defines the mechanism whereby the restraint I've mentioned is imposed .. money!  If you state openly and publicly that you believe there are oases of microbial life on Mars and that you want to devise and launch missions to prove it, you will receive short shrift from those in authority and your funding will mysteriously dry up.
    So, funding is the stick used to enforce the plan, the censorship, the agenda .. whatever you want to call it. But it doesn't explain where the agenda comes from, and neither does it explain the nature of that agenda.

    Cindy's comment on the religious element in American society may be very relevant to this discussion. If I may come back to Dr. Levin, of Viking fame (infamy?), I've read about him taking his son to an interview at Brown University. Apparently the son, being a chip off the old block, had a mind to study chemistry there.
    When the Dean of the Faculty realised he was dealing with [b:post_uid14]those[/b:post_uid14] Levins(! ), he's reported to have made the observation that searching for life on Mars was ever a waste of time because the Bible made no mention of life there, so there [b:post_uid14]couldn't be[/b:post_uid14] any there!
    This isn't the first time I've mentioned this episode but I think it bears repeating.
    More recently, the "Magic Carpet" situation at Spirit's landing site gives us another possible insight into the mindset we're discussing. There was much excitement about sending Spirit to examine what looked very much like mud where the airbag was retracted. Dr. Levin said about it: "If it looks like muck, and it puddles like muck, and it tracks like muck -- it must be muck."  Spirit never went to look at the intriguing area because, according to mission scientist Des Marais: "We can't go there with the rover. Engineers have an exclusion zone because it's a navigation hazard. That area is too close to the lander, unfortunately."  Dr. Chris McKay later complained that interest in the "Magic Carpet" just "went away." And he went on to say it shouldn't have gone away!

    I can't be certain that anything is really going on; the evidence is all anecdotal and circumstantial. But I have eyes to see and I have ears to hear and I can see NASA's track record as far as life on Mars is concerned. And I can see American scientists, almost as though they're mindful that they're being watched, choosing their words about martian life with the utmost care.
    To my mind, the NASA track record concerning Life-on-Mars, and the search for it, needs explaining.
    Something doesn't quite add up.   ???

    Are you guys still with me on this or am I pushing the envelope a little too hard for your taste?
    [Be blunt with me; remember you're dealing with someone who's felt the lash of Bill White's tongue and staggered back into the fray for more!   tongue   big_smile  ][/color:post_uid14]


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#22 2004-12-03 06:49:58

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#810541:post_uid6]

Shaun:  When the Dean of the Faculty realised he was dealing with those Levins(! ), he's reported to have made the observation that searching for life on Mars was ever a waste of time because the Bible made no mention of life there, so there couldn't be any there!
[/quote:post_uid6]

*Hi Shaun:  And as we know, the Bible doesn't mention alarm clocks or open-heart surgery or airplanes either.  roll 

More recently, the "Magic Carpet" situation at Spirit's landing site gives us another possible insight into the mindset we're discussing. There was much excitement about sending Spirit to examine what looked very much like mud where the airbag was retracted. Dr. Levin said about it: "If it looks like muck, and it puddles like muck, and it tracks like muck -- it must be muck."  Spirit never went to look at the intriguing area because, according to mission scientist Des Marais: "We can't go there with the rover. Engineers have an exclusion zone because it's a navigation hazard. That area is too close to the lander, unfortunately."  Dr. Chris McKay later complained that interest in the "Magic Carpet" just "went away." And he went on to say it shouldn't have gone away!
[/quote:post_uid6]

*Yep...the ol' Magic Carpet issue did a Magic Carpet [i:post_uid6]Disappearing Act[/i:post_uid6].  :-\  And Des Marais' comments (excuses) bring to mind the old saying, "I think he doth protest too much."  My b.s. detector went off.

I can't be certain that anything is really going on; the evidence is all anecdotal and circumstantial. But I have eyes to see and I have ears to hear and I can see NASA's track record as far as life on Mars is concerned. And I can see American scientists, almost as though they're mindful that they're being watched, choosing their words about martian life with the utmost care.
   To my mind, the NASA track record concerning Life-on-Mars, and the search for it, needs explaining.
   Something doesn't quite add up.   

   Are you guys still with me on this or am I pushing the envelope a little too hard for your taste?
[/quote:post_uid6]

*No, I don't think you're pushing the envelope too hard.  You raise some pertinent doubts and seriously excellent questions.  smile  I'm definitely with you on this.

--Cindy[/color:post_uid6]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#23 2004-12-03 08:02:14

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=000066:post_uid0]Well, it seems to me that what we have here is, like so many apparent "conspiracies", merely a pervasive mindset that is so widespread it creates the [i:post_uid0]illusion[/i:post_uid0] of an agenda behind it. This mindset appears to be far more prevalent among the political class which funds the research rather than the scientists actually doing it, which leads to a sort of paradox. If life on Mars were discovered it would be a boon to those scientists, they'd get their funding to check it out in excruciating detail. Yet, to champion the cause of Martian life in the absence of proof is a good way to find oneself marginalized by the bearers of funding who are just looking for an excuse to take money from [i:post_uid0]anywhere[/i:post_uid0] and throw it to those people who vote for them.

Unless we give Martian microbes the vote, but then we'll have recounts and disenfranchised microbe strains, dead cells voting Democrat, it just isn't worth the headache.  big_smile

It comes down to [b:post_uid0]Cobra's Second Rule of Democracy[/b:post_uid0]: Everything settles, the greater the weight the lower it sinks.

The nature and prevalance of life in the cosmos is a ponderously heavy issue, and therefore sinks deep in the muck. NASA scientists need to get paid and Congressmen don't like wading through muck, so the search for life on Mars gets ignored for the most part, only occasionaly finding backing when it doesn't rock the boat too much.[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#24 2004-12-03 08:09:47

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#810541:post_uid2]

Spirit never went to look at the intriguing area because, according to mission scientist Des Marais: "We can't go there with the rover. Engineers have an exclusion zone because it's a navigation hazard. That area is too close to the lander, unfortunately." 
[/quote:post_uid2]

*Yep...the ol' Magic Carpet issue did a Magic Carpet [i:post_uid2]Disappearing Act[/i:post_uid2].  :-\  And Des Marais' comments (excuses) bring to mind the old saying, "I think he doth protest too much."  My b.s. detector went off.[/quote:post_uid2]
*Going back to Des Marais' comments, they remind me of Jake's trying to beg off his p.o.'d and jilted former fiancee (Carrie Fisher) in the movie [i:post_uid2]The Blues Brothers[/i:post_uid2] (kneeling and pleading in the grime after she'd sprayed a round of bullets around he and Elwood):

"My alarm clock didn't go off.  My tux didn't come back from the cleaners.  I had a flat tire.  There was an earthquake -- [i:post_uid2]a terrible flood![/i:post_uid2]  [b:post_uid2][i:post_uid2]It wasn't my fault, I SWEAR TO GOD!![/i:post_uid2][/b:post_uid2]" 

:laugh:

It just goes on and on.

--Cindy[/color:post_uid2]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#25 2004-12-03 17:29:35

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: (Non-)Official Life on Mars Poll - Does it exist?

[color=#000000:post_uid5]Thanks again, people, for the comebacks.  smile

Cindy:-

My b.s. detector went off.[/quote:post_uid5]
    Yep, handy little devices those b.s. detectors. Mine's had a [b:post_uid5][i:post_uid5]lot[/i:post_uid5][/b:post_uid5] of use over the years!  big_smile

CC:-

Unless we give Martian microbes the vote, but then we'll have recounts and disenfranchised microbe strains, dead cells voting Democrat, it just isn't worth the headache.   big_smile [/quote:post_uid5]
    Ha-ha!!  :laugh:  Very droll. Especially the "dead cells voting Democrat" bit. (Hope Bill's not watching this thread! )

    As for your idea, CC, that the 'agenda' is just an "apparent conspiracy", all appearance and no substance, that's an interesting one. Your use of the term "pervasive mindset" and how such a thing creates the illusion of an agenda might be a valid interpretation of the situation, but it might also support my argument just as easily.
    If the people in authority, or who hold the purse strings, are all possessed of the same mindset about martian biology, I think that that in itself constitutes a kind of unspoken agenda. Even if there's no actual conspiracy as such, the effect of such a mindset can be just as destructive and it looks to me like it's influenced American science as surely as if it had been a coherent conspiracy.
    While I understand your interpretation of the facts, CC - a very cool, unemotional and reasonable-sounding interpretation - I can't help but feel there's a little more to it than that. There must be some kind of communication, however informal, between the people in these positions of authority; if it's not a detailed and well-orchestrated plan, I think it's at least an implicit understanding that there are certain things NASA doesn't bother investigating.

    There is one obvious flaw in my argument, and that is: Why were the Viking life experiments allowed to fly in the first place? Where was the conspiracy back in the early seventies, when the Viking landers were in the planning stage?
    My only answer to that is to suggest that the political scene must have changed in some way since the mid-seventies. But I don't know enough about any changes in American politics or socio-religious tendencies at that time or since, to be able to explain it. Or maybe a window of enlightened opportunity opened very briefly, permitting Viking to get off the ground, but closed again even before the first data came back.

    I don't know exactly what's going on but I'm sure there's something wrong somewhere. I can feel it in my bones and that feeling has seldom let me down in the past.

Cindy:-

"My alarm clock didn't go off.  My tux didn't come back from the cleaners.  I had a flat tire.  There was an earthquake -- a terrible flood!  It wasn't my fault, I SWEAR TO GOD!!" [/quote:post_uid5]
    Desperate excuses .. Doncha just love it?!   :band:[/color:post_uid5]


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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