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Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/08/2007 10:09 AM

Did the Viking space probes find life on Mars in the 1970s? A new NASA report suggests that the probes could have located microbes on the planet, but did not recognize them as living organisms, because they differed significantly from life on Earth:

"In the '70s, the Viking mission found no signs of life. But it was looking for Earth-like life, in which salt water is the internal liquid of living cells. Given the cold dry conditions of Mars, that life could have evolved on Mars with the key internal fluid consisting of a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide," said Dirk Schulze-Makuch, author of the new research. "The Viking experiments of the '70s wouldn't have noticed alien hydrogen peroxide-based life and, in fact, would have killed it by drowning and overheating the microbes."

Of course, Schulze-Makuch admits that there is no proof that such Martian microbes exist, and that this is all highly theoretical. That said, it is interesting to note that the parameters that NASA used (possibly still uses) to find life on other planets may be too focused on Earth normal to make a significant discovery.

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The Engineer
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#1

Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/08/2007 10:31 AM

The Article Says: "Of course, Schulze-Makuch admits that there is no proof that such Martian microbes exist, and that this is all highly theoretical."

This isn't "theoretical", this is conjecture. I hate when scientists do this, they completely undermine the validity of science when they present their conjectures as theory.

Just because someone can imagine something doesn't make it a theory. Evolution is a theory, Plate Tectonics is a theory, Big Bang is a theory. There is a ton of data that supports these theories. This is just some Sci-fi masquerading as science, at least until there is a little data to back it up. Until that time, it is premature and irresponsible to suggest that NASA destroyed some life on Mars.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/08/2007 11:24 PM

Hi Roger,

Just to deviate off the subject somewhat, I saw an interesting programme on the box, Discovery Channel(?) a while back, concerning the Moon landings. May-haps I'm a tad out of date or this conspiracy theory has a valid issue in claiming the moon landing in fact did not happen. Would love to hear other's comments on this subject.

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#3
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Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/09/2007 6:15 AM
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#5
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Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/09/2007 6:21 AM

Hi Roger, I couldn't agree more about the conjecture thing, however, the point raised is: - Are NASA's criteria correct? Doesn't sound like it?

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#4

Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/09/2007 6:17 AM

Anybody who thinks that ours is the only planet in the universe with life on it should be locked away in an asylum.

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#6
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Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/09/2007 7:41 AM

But we are.....it's called Earth!

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#7
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Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/09/2007 8:07 AM

Hi PIbMak, I cannot beleive you said that. Answer me this then; Why is so much money put in to seaching for other Earth like planets if not seeking to find other life on distant plenets. These life forms may differ from us but it is life after all?

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#8
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Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/09/2007 8:34 AM

I think you missed the irony there………….I am a firm believer in life….I believe life will rise anywhere given half a chance, and that it is only extreme arrogance that would make anyone think there is no life anywhere else. The problem here is size (why does everything boil down to size?), the universe is a big place, and with the state of the art as it is, we are going no-where. That won't stop us trying, of course, as it is in our nature to keep pushing in all directions as hard as we can. As soon as the politicians realize that, things may become easier.

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#10
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Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/09/2007 11:15 AM

Yes I could not agree with you any more. And to think otherwise is plain ignorance and lunaciy

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The Engineer
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#11
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Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/09/2007 11:37 AM

You Wrote: "Yes I could not agree with you any more. And to think otherwise is plain ignorance and lunaciy"

I don't agree with your statement. It's one thing to believe that there is other life in the Universe. That's a very reasonable opinion. To suggest that anyone who disagrees is a lunatic is not a reasonable opinion.

Look, I know that life is to a certain extent, a complicated chemical reaction. I also know that the universe is amazingly vast and the number of galaxies out there that we can see is beyond counting. So I agree that the likelihood that there is life out there is almost probably certain. I also realize that without data to back me up, I'm just stating an opinion, not a fact.

There could be an aspect involved in the creation of life that we are not aware of that turns out to be particularly rare in the universe which allowed it only to develop here. Perhaps Earth-like planets are rare. Maybe the initial bacteria required an obscure chemical to work which only occurs in the rarest of situations. Do I think that is likely? No. Life appeared almost instantaneously after the Earth cooled, that leads me to believe that it was likely easily formed, but I don't know that for sure. We can't say it's a certainty until we start getting data to back it up, therefore we can't call people who might disagree lunatics, just call them skeptics.

That's why this search for extrasolar planets is such a worthy endeavor. Perhaps in 20 years, improved resolution and spectroscopy techniques might allow us to determine that Earth-like planets exist and will give us an idea of their frequency in the Universe. This of course ignores all the other ways life may be able to form, but lets face it, we've got to stick to what we know in these early stages of looking for life.

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/09/2007 8:52 AM

Agreed, there is likely other life out there. I just don't think its valid to say "I have a theory that NASA killed a certain type of life on Mars" when you don't have any evidence for the particular type of life your suggesting or that it exists on Mars.

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#12

Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/09/2007 1:25 PM

plese take in mind that this is only my opinion:

I beleve that life dont have to be like in earth, i mean we need oxigen to live, but maybe in other planets some organism uses something else, they dont even have to need water as we do.

i beleve that the only thing that is requires is a stable sistem and a bit of lucky

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/09/2007 2:30 PM

You Wrote: "i believe that the only thing that is requires is a stable system and a bit of lucky"

I'm not even sure much luck is required. It seems like it happened rather quickly here on Earth. All things considered, the Universe should probably be teeming with life, yet we haven't heard anything or have seen anything that indicates it's there. That seems odd to me.

It would be like going to a new continent and finding nothing but barren rock with no life whatsoever. Just wouldn't feel right. The silence of space is deafening, which either means we haven't learned how to listen yet or there really is nothing out there to hear. I doubt there's nothing out there so we're probably using the wrong methods to listen.

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#14

Re: Was "Life" Found on Mars in the 1970s?

01/10/2007 11:46 AM

Hmm, I would agree with all the conjecture that there might be possibilities for life to exist in different forms, but in a practical sense we must have a detailed definition that allows for those forms to be considered life. As stated earlier life is a complex series of autonomous chemical reactions. The gray arise in the terms in the definition that are too broad like reproduce. We have trouble with a consistent definition for life on earth, let alone extraterestrial. Usually at some point the biologists decide they don't like something being considered alive, then it is not. As far as the conjecture in the original statement goes, that is how biology operates. I am not sure most biological theories, such as evolution, would qualify as theories under that standards of proof Physicists or Chemists utilize (alot of biological theories are imperical).

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