I’m Convinced We Found Evidence of Life on Mars in the 1970s
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Article by Gilbert V. Levin October 10, 2019 (scientificamerican.com)
• On NASA’s 1976 Viking mission to Mars, NASA dispatched the ‘Labeled Release’ (LR) experiment to detect life on the red planet. On July 30, 1976, the LR returned its initial results from Mars with four positive results, supported by five varied controls, streamed down from the twin Viking spacecraft that landed some 4,000 miles apart. Engineer Gilbert Levin was the principal investigator for the LR experiment.
• According to Levin, the data curves signaled the detection of microbial respiration similar to those produced by LR tests of soils on Earth. But the Viking’s Molecular Analysis Experiment failed to detect organic matter, so NASA concluded that the LR had found a substance mimicking life, but not really life. Since then, none of NASA’s Mars landers have carried a life detection instrument to follow up on these initial results. Over the past 43 years, NASA has instead launched a series of missions to Mars to determine whether there was ever a habitat suitable for life, but not to detect life itself already there.
• NASA maintains that the search for alien life is among its highest priorities. Mars could even hold life that came via ejecta from the Earth . Laboratory experiments have proven that microbial species could survive the Martian environment. Indeed, microorganisms have been found to survive in naked space outside of the International Space Station.
• The process of detecting living microorganisms is elegantly simple. It is derived from the process that Louis Pasteur developed in 1864. This process is in daily use by health authorities around the world to examine potable water for microbial pathogens. The Viking LR sought to detect and monitor ongoing metabolism through a very simple and fail-proof indicator of living microorganisms. This strongly supports the reliability of the LR Mars data that microbial life was detected. Still, the results were debated and then abandoned.
• In addition to the direct evidence for life on Mars obtained by the Viking LR in 1976, subsequent missions to Mars have conducted experiments that support the existence of microbial life. The Phoenix and Curiosity landers found evidence that the ancient Martian environment may have been habitable. The CO2 in the Martian atmosphere should long ago have been converted to CO by the sun’s UV light; thus CO2 is being regenerated, possibly by microorganisms. Surface water sufficient to sustain microorganisms was found on Mars. Spectral analyses by Viking’s imaging system have even found lichen and green patches on Mars rocks.
• What is the evidence against the possibility of life on Mars? The astonishing fact is that there is none. Still, NASA has already announced that its 2020 Mars lander will not contain a life-detection test. Levin has formally proposed that the LR experiment be sent to Mars to confirm the existence of life. Moreover, the Chiral LR experiment could determine whether any life detected were similar to ours, or whether there was a separate genesis. A small, lightweight Chiral LR has already been designed. It could readily be turned into a flight instrument. Such an experiment on Mars might confirm that the Viking LR in 1976 did in fact discover microbial life. At a minimum, the study would produce guidance for NASA’s pursuit of life outside of the Earth.
• [Editor’s Note] So NASA discovered microbial life on Mars in 1976, but then immediately denied it. Then over the ensuing 43 years, NASA has not attempted to repeat its Labeled Release (LR) experiment to confirm life, but has instead maintained that life on Mars was still theoretical. Over the past four decades these experiments detecting life have certainly become more precise and sophisticated. Is NASA trying not to find life? Are they worried that using highly sophisticated instruments to search for microbial life might detect undeniable evidence of far more developed life on Mars? Is this just part of the ongoing cover-up by the Deep State of the advanced lifeforms that live on and underneath the surface of Mars, of which the elite NASA scientists and administrators are well aware?
On October 16th, NASA “refuted the explosive claim” by Gilbert Levin in an article published on the FoxNews.com website (see here). In an email to Fox News, NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said “the large majority of the scientific community does not believe the results of the Viking experiments alone rise to the level of extraordinary evidence.” “[W]e have yet to find signs of extraterrestrial life.”
We humans can now peer back into the virtual origin of our universe. We have learned much about the laws of nature that control its seemingly infinite celestial bodies, their evolution, motions and possible fate. Yet, equally remarkable, we have no generally accepted information as to whether other life exists beyond us, or whether we are, as was Samuel Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, “alone, alone, all, all alone, alone on a wide wide sea!” We have made only one exploration to solve that primal mystery. I was fortunate to have participated in that historic adventure as experimenter of the Labeled Release (LR) life detection experiment on NASA’s spectacular Viking mission to Mars in 1976.
On July 30, 1976, the LR returned its initial results from Mars. Amazingly, they were positive. As the experiment progressed, a total of four positive results, supported by five varied controls, streamed down from the twin Viking spacecraft landed some 4,000 miles apart. The data curves signaled the detection of microbial respiration on the Red Planet. The curves from Mars were similar to those produced by LR tests of soils on Earth. It seemed we had answered that ultimate question.
When the Viking Molecular Analysis Experiment failed to detect organic matter, the essence of life, however, NASA concluded that the LR had found a substance mimicking life, but not life. Inexplicably, over the 43 years since Viking, none of NASA’s subsequent Mars landers has carried a life detection instrument to follow up on these exciting results. Instead the agency launched a series of missions to Mars to determine whether there was ever a habitat suitable for life and, if so, eventually to bring samples to Earth for biological examination.
NASA maintains the search for alien life among its highest priorities. On February 13, 2019, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said we might find microbial life on Mars. Our nation has now committed to sending astronauts to Mars. Any life there might threaten them, and us upon their return. Thus, the issue of life on Mars is now front and center.
Life on Mars seemed a long shot. On the other hand, it would take a near miracle for Mars to be sterile. NASA scientist Chris McKay once said that Mars and Earth have been “swapping spit” for billions of years, meaning that, when either planet is hit by comets or large meteorites, some ejecta shoot into space. A tiny fraction of this material eventually lands on the other planet, perhaps infecting it with microbiological hitch-hikers. That some Earth microbial species could survive the Martian environment has been demonstrated in many laboratories. There are even reports of the survival of microorganisms exposed to naked space outside the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA’s reservation against a direct search for microorganisms ignores the simplicity of the task accomplished by Louis Pasteur in 1864. He allowed microbes to contaminate a hay-infusion broth, after which bubbles of their expired gas appeared. Prior to containing living microorganisms, no bubbles appeared. (Pasteur had earlier determined that heating, or pasteurizing, such a substance would kill the microbes.) This elegantly simple test, updated to substitute modern microbial nutrients with the hay-infusion products in Pasteur’s, is in daily use by health authorities around the world to examine potable water. Billions of people are thus protected against microbial pathogens.
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