Thursday, November 28, 2013

The "Politics" of Mars Exploration.

There have been more robotic missions to Mars in this last decade than there have been . I was thinking to write a  piece about Mars , the planet.  In a political sphere Mars exploration is costly to American nationalism , but lets  figure on this since 1976 we landed on Mars beginning with Viking 1 and Viking 2 We have analyzed the soil , the air . We have "discovered"  that Mars was "earth-like" in some distant past , with orbital photo's of dry river beds , channels and ocean-like coastlines . My ARGUMENT is why is the United States sending more probes and rovers , have we learned already about Mars is a bit intriguing .Mars has lots of water and so on . The newest Mars probe called MAVEN successfully sneaked through its weather window and launched from Cape Canaveral . Blasting away to join 20 other orbiting human made satellites . NASA's MAVEN is basically has nothing "new" as far as instrumental , it is an "atmosphere" probe . What get's me is , and it draws a line for "conspiracy kooks" is that NASA/ Government must have "discovered" something on Mars already to account for it's massive spending for Mars projects . NASA has planed for future Mars missions that will include a sample return mission . Is NASA covering up evidence of life on Mars? That’s what University of Cardiff astrobiologist Chandra Wickramasinghe claims as quoted in an article on the Helium website (warning: site has autoloading video ads) Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, acclaimed astrobiologist from Cardiff University of Wales said the discovery of water on planet Mars combined with other discoveries point to the existence of life on the planet. In an interview he said, “The discovery of liquid water on Mars combined with earlier discoveries of organic substances in a meteorite that came from Mars, and also of methane in the Martian atmosphere all point to the existence of life – contemporary life – on the “Red Planet”. “I am not speaking of fossilized life but contemporary life,” he emphasized. Professor Wickramasinghe , is the world’s leading proponent of Panspermia, which suggests that all planets including earth in the universe have been seeded for life by microbes from outer space. He recently said such life could even exist on the upper layer of the clouds of Venus and could be blown out to earth by solar wind. Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Dr Janaki Wickramasinghe (his daughter) of the Cardiff Astrobiology Center claim that Venus’s clouds contain chemicals that exist with the presence of micro organisms. “Our research proposes that the two sisters, Earth and Venus may be biologically interconnected as well,” Wickramasinghe added. Speaking of earth’s other sister planet Mars, Chandra Wickramasinghe said, “ Even as early as 1976, when the two NASA space probes “Viking 1 and Viking 2” landed on Mars, experiments carried out in situ pointed strongly to the existence of active microbial life. In one experiment nutrient broth was poured onto a sample of Martian soil, and it frothed up so vigorously exuding carbon dioxide, that a positive detection of life might have been inferred. But when the NASA scientists looked for organic material, the detritus of living organisms, around the landing site, their experiments yielded negative or ambiguous results. So NASA cautiously concluded – no organics means no life detected. But 32 years on,  Gil Levin, who was Principal Investigator on this project maintains that life on Mars was indeed detected in 1976! The experiments of 1976 to detect the dead bodies and decomposition products of bacteria were simply not sensitive enough.” > So I have argue . No wonder the United States has invested so much on a Mars exploration missions , yes its not admitting that it "found" life on Mars as of yet . Yet in the scientific community there is a fringe group of NASA scientists who are willing to accept that the  Red Planet  is alive and well.


The biggest "riddle" of possible Mars life has been the recent detection of Trace amounts of methane (CH4), at the level of several parts per billion (ppb), were first reported in Mars's atmosphere by a team at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2003.[3][25] In March 2004 the Mars Express Orbiter[26] and ground based observations from Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope[27] also suggested the presence of methane in the atmosphere with a mole fraction of about 10 nmol/mol.[28] Because methane on Mars would quickly break down due to ultraviolet radiation from the Sun and chemical reactions with other gases, its reported persistent presence in the atmosphere also necessitates the existence of a source to continually replenish the gas. Current photochemical models alone can explain neither the fast appearance nor the disappearance of the methane, or its reported variations in space and time.[29] It had been proposed that the methane might be replenished by meteorites entering the atmosphere of Mars,[30] but researchers from Imperial College London found that the volumes of methane released this way are too low to sustain the measured levels of the gas.[31]The methane occurs in extended plumes, and their profiles imply that the gas was released from sources in three discrete regions. In northern midsummer, the principal plume contained 19,000 metric tons of methane, with an estimated source strength of 0.6 kilogram per second.[32][33] The profiles suggest that there may be two local source regions, the first centered near 30°N 260°W and the second near 0°N 310°W .[32] It is estimated that Mars must produce 270 tons/year of methane.[32][34][35] The existence of life in the form of microorganisms such as methanogens is among possible, but as yet unproven sources. If microscopic Martian life is producing the methane, it likely resides far below the surface, where it is still warm enough for liquid water to exist.[22]Since the 2003 discovery of methane in the atmosphere, some scientists have been designing models and in vitroexperiments testing growth of methanogenic bacteria on simulated Martian soil, where all four methanogen strains tested produced substantial levels of methane, even in the presence of 1.0wt% perchlorate salt.[102] The results reported indicate that the perchlorates discovered by the Phoenix Lander would not rule out the possible presence of methanogens on Mars.[102][103]
Exactly! Why cover it up? If NASA had proof of life anywhere, they would suddenly find they had funding for new missions. Even if they did cover it up, why continue when their funding gets slashed, the JIMO mission canned? That would be the time to come out.

Interestingly enough INDIA is also launching a space craft to Mars .  India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is any indication (see above), then we can expect absolutely gorgeous scenes of the Red Planet once the groundbreaking probe arrives there in September 2014. But despite all that’s been accomplished so far, the space drama is still in its infant stages – because MOM still needs to ignite her thrusters this weekend in order to achieve escape velocity, wave good bye to Earth forever and eventually say hello to Mars!

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