Viking found life 36yrs ago?


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Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : Viking found life 36yrs ago?

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Bob
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Message 1217395 - Posted: 12 Apr 2012, 20:38:14 UTC

New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week.

Whole story:
http://news.discovery.com/space/mars-life-viking-landers-discovery-120412.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1

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Message 1217452 - Posted: 13 Apr 2012, 0:06:36 UTC - in response to Message 1217395.

There is life or there WAS life ?? Not clear from the article

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Message 1217634 - Posted: 13 Apr 2012, 13:56:20 UTC

It seems that they are claiming that present life was detected on Mars in 1976. If so, it is presumably still there and viable. The scientist in charge of the Viking missions labeled-release experiment has maintained right along that life was detected. This new mathematical study apparently maintains that the results of the life detecting experiments were uncharacteristically complex for non-living matter, and seemed much more like the sort of results that living organisms would give.

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Message 1217817 - Posted: 13 Apr 2012, 21:31:11 UTC

They believe they've found possible evidence of metabolic activity, which is a far cry from anything definitive but is still very interesting.
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Message 1218090 - Posted: 14 Apr 2012, 6:20:03 UTC

With all of the indirect evidence from Mars indicating that some form of microbal life exists there, including the Viking data, I think it might be wise to include a robot microscope with the next lander mission. I've seen reports of certain gases in the Martian atmosphere during different parts of the year that are associated with life and then there's the seasonal change in color that occurrs on parts of the surface. I won't be surprised at all when the final announcement is made stating there is life on Mars.

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Message 1218263 - Posted: 14 Apr 2012, 15:14:06 UTC - in response to Message 1218090.

We have to chose the correct verbs, here. may now and may have or even has or had apply. We don't have the ability to send petri dishes with standard growth media to growth bacteria, yet. That's about the only way you can conculsively say something is alive on Mars
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Message 1218536 - Posted: 15 Apr 2012, 1:38:04 UTC

The Viking probes labeled-release experiments fed a nutrient solution to soil samples, which released carbon dioxide with the same radioactive tracer as the solution. The level of activity varied in a cycle of the same length as the Martian day, the same as happens with living things on Earth. This sounds like a reasonable substitute for agar in a petri dish. It has been wondered why NASA never sent a Mars probe fitted out with a biological microscope, instead concentrating on indirect, geological indicators of the presence of life. This might not have been possible in the Viking days, but appears to have been do-able for the last several years, at least. Michael

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Message 1218564 - Posted: 15 Apr 2012, 2:54:45 UTC - in response to Message 1218536.

The Viking probes labeled-release experiments fed a nutrient solution to soil samples, which released carbon dioxide with the same radioactive tracer as the solution. The level of activity varied in a cycle of the same length as the Martian day, the same as happens with living things on Earth. This sounds like a reasonable substitute for agar in a petri dish. It has been wondered why NASA never sent a Mars probe fitted out with a biological microscope, instead concentrating on indirect, geological indicators of the presence of life. This might not have been possible in the Viking days, but appears to have been do-able for the last several years, at least. Michael

From what I read however....

Only the first viking test produced the "positive" results, the viking test was re-done subsequent times without the same result...
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Message 1218668 - Posted: 15 Apr 2012, 10:39:44 UTC - in response to Message 1218564.
Last modified: 15 Apr 2012, 10:40:59 UTC

From what I read however....

Only the first viking test produced the "positive" results, the viking test was re-done subsequent times without the same result...

Suggesting pesky Earthly hitch-hikers...

Or... There's a big problem with the Martian surface being unexpectedly reactive that then confuses the results.


What is really needed is a new lander with better suited tests... As has been done with Phoenix near the pole, and the new MSL now enroute...


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Message 1218714 - Posted: 15 Apr 2012, 14:24:26 UTC
Last modified: 15 Apr 2012, 14:26:16 UTC

Tests were done on new soil samples a number of times by the Viking probes, each giving the same life-positive results. It was when soil samples that had already been tested once were fed more nutrient-laced water, that there was little or no response. It's been suggested that excess water can have a inhibiting effect on organisms adapted to a very dry environment, such as exists on Mars. By way of confirmation, tests very similar to the Viking labeled-release experiment were tried on desert soils on Earth and produced the same result: initially responsive soil samples became inactive upon adding more water-based nutrient. Michael

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Message 1218782 - Posted: 15 Apr 2012, 17:26:46 UTC - in response to Message 1218714.

Tests were done on new soil samples a number of times by the Viking probes, each giving the same life-positive results. It was when soil samples that had already been tested once were fed more nutrient-laced water, that there was little or no response. It's been suggested that excess water can have a inhibiting effect on organisms adapted to a very dry environment, such as exists on Mars. By way of confirmation, tests very similar to the Viking labeled-release experiment were tried on desert soils on Earth and produced the same result: initially responsive soil samples became inactive upon adding more water-based nutrient. Michael

Thank you for the insightful and informative information. Makes sense.
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Message 1218904 - Posted: 15 Apr 2012, 22:55:56 UTC

I have a feeling that it is possible that regardless of whether Mars had or has indigenous life, as in microbes, we have most likely already started colonies of microbes from earth that hitched a ride on one or more of the landers. I don't recall seeing information that a rigorous sterilization of all of the components was performed.
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Message 1218956 - Posted: 16 Apr 2012, 1:19:51 UTC - in response to Message 1218904.

I have a feeling that it is possible that regardless of whether Mars had or has indigenous life, as in microbes, we have most likely already started colonies of microbes from earth that hitched a ride on one or more of the landers. I don't recall seeing information that a rigorous sterilization of all of the components was performed.


Well even if that's true, we should hopefully be able to identify anything that came from Earth using genetic sequencing.
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Message 1218961 - Posted: 16 Apr 2012, 1:49:49 UTC - in response to Message 1218904.

I have a feeling that it is possible that regardless of whether Mars had or has indigenous life, as in microbes, we have most likely already started colonies of microbes from earth that hitched a ride on one or more of the landers. I don't recall seeing information that a rigorous sterilization of all of the components was performed.

http://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov/methods

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Message 1219989 - Posted: 18 Apr 2012, 17:56:49 UTC - in response to Message 1218961.

I personaly think microbal life will be found on Mars. At some point in the future we shall be told quite categorically that life exists elsewhere in the universe including Mars.

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Message 1222850 - Posted: 24 Apr 2012, 20:21:19 UTC - in response to Message 1218956.

A recovered camera lens recovered from a experiment left on the moon for 3 years came home with the astronauts and had live microbes of a earthly origin that survived in cold vacuum of space for 3 years. If anything life is tough an given enough time in the right conditions life will prevail.

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Message 1222859 - Posted: 24 Apr 2012, 20:43:53 UTC

I personaly think microbal life will be found on Mars. At some point in the future we shall be told quite categorically that life exists elsewhere in the universe including Mars.


It all depends upon what you classify as life. Microbes probably will be found on other planets in this solar system, but it won't be human life as you and I know it.

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Message 1222935 - Posted: 24 Apr 2012, 23:32:22 UTC

As a biologist I see is no reason why life could not have evolved on Mars (etc) or remains there as an artifact or grander days.

Apparently there are all the required constituents available on Mars atleast for cellular life forms to survive :Carbon Hydrogen oxygen Phosphorous Nitrogen, sources of Hydrogen acceptors and water plus abundant time : and also for self replicating molcules to develop.

On earth life crawled its way out of the sludge in a highly reducing atmosphere and the most hostile of environments imaginable during the Precambrian period : makes MArs look like Disney Land





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Message 1223006 - Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 2:02:00 UTC
Last modified: 25 Apr 2012, 2:02:13 UTC

Do scientists yet know if Mars ever had an atmosphere such that It could have supported some form life?
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Message 1223100 - Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 6:47:29 UTC

They are pretty sure that at some time in it's past Mars had enough water on it's surface to constitute seas. I think that requires that during that epoch Mars had an atmosphere.
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