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Oct-26-2010 22:03printcomments

There's Life on Mars: Famous Scientist Accuses NASA of Hiding Data

Phoenix Lander Spacecraft in Mars. Photo: NASA.
Phoenix Lander Spacecraft in Mars. Photo: NASA.

(CHICAGO ) - World renowned astrobiologist Chandra Wickramasinghe is spitting mad. The eminent scientist recently reiterated the charge he made against the National Aeronautics and Space Administration back in 2008.

Life on the Red Planet

"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," the scientist asserted.

Other astronomers, exobiologists and planetary experts agree. One of the lead scientists responsible for scientific experiments conducted by the Viking probes during the 1970s—Gil Levin—has also consistently made the same claim for the record. Levin has a tendency to boil over whenever the subject is raised.

Wickramasinghe underscored his argument by adding that "I am not speaking of fossilized life but contemporary life."

The professor of applied mathematics and astronomy at the University of Cardiff in Wales also cites the Viking experiment of 35 years ago.

The Viking evidence

"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," he explained. The experiments conducted included one specifically designed to detect the presence of microbes in the Martian soil. When the experiment was carried out and a nutrient rich liquid was spilled onto the Martian surface "…it frothed up so vigorously exuding carbon dioxide, that a positive detection of life might have been inferred."

Despite those results, NASA chose to ignore the evidence of life. "…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,'" the somewhat miffed astrobiologist pointed out.

Interplanetary politics

Why would a prestigious organization like NASA withhold such world-shaking information? After all, if life is right next door, then the odds are overwhelming that life is thriving throughout the universe.

Wickramasinghe suspects politics. "I think there could be political and sociological considerations at work." He explains that "…if life was already detected, then there is no need to spend vast sums of money to continue the search."

A danger to Earth?

Those that believe Mars has microbial life are concerned about some projects currently on the drawing board. NASA has been pushing for a mission to collect soil samples and bring them back to Earth.

"There is a lot of scientific interest nowadays in bringing back samples of Martian soil to Earth at the cost of tens of billions of dollars, and there is a lobby that says if microbes exist on Mars we should not be doing this. It could pose a bio-hazard."

A new or mutated type of virus was the basis of "The Andromeda Strain," the first novel by best-seller author Michael Crichton. In the novel, an alien strain escapes and kills everyone in a town. The plot focuses on the frenzied attempt to contain the virulent virus before it can kill most of humanity.

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Terrence Aym is a Contributor based in Chicago, who is well known nationally for his stirring reports on the top ranked site, Born in Minnesota, Terrence Aym grew up in the Chicagoland suburbs. Having traveled to 40 of the 50 states and lived in 7 of them, Aym is no stranger to travel. He's also spent time in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Western Africa. An executive for many years with Wall Street broker-dealer firms, Aym has also had a life-long interest in science, technology, the arts, philosophy and history. If it's still possible to be a 'Renaissance man' in the 21st Century, Aym is working hard to be one.

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Chasity January 28, 2011 12:29 pm (Pacific time)

Well, I agree with Luke. We should focus on our own planet before we start researching Mars. I mean, come on. NASA is nothing but a bunch of bureaucrats. Pardon me.

Jay October 28, 2010 12:02 pm (Pacific time)

Luke I was talking about the "by-products of our space program." The list is seemingly endless ranging from medicine and agricultural research, tecnological leaps in many areas that helped develop economies of scale that has allowed even people deep in the bush to have computer technology at their finger tips. The problems you discuss are certainly important to address, but we can do both. Hopefully new leadership will develop to help solve these problems rather than just pay lip service when one campaigns for votes? Maybe the days of fooling the rubes are coming to a close?

Luke Easter October 27, 2010 5:06 pm (Pacific time)

While millions suffer in poverty, without food to eat, clothes to wear in adverse or any other conditions, medicine for health care and why leave dental care out. Yeah! Not to mention Asbestos filled classrooms and next to nothing police, fire, EMS, garbage collection services as cities struggle to survive. Talk about outsourcing, wow. Name one job outside the space program and one benefit evolved from finding water on mars, the moon or any other planet. Increased well being? Come on tell me the truth, are you from Mars? Looking for a way home ET? Surely you are not speaking of well-being on this planet. Earthquakes, Tsunamis, spread of HIV and AIDS. Riots over finances, pensions, military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan all over the world. Women pushed around like cheap meat in Muslim countries. No, you can't be from Mars because that would signify an intelligent life form. You must be from the planet Earth. That explains it all. Please except my most humble apologies. NOT!

Natalie October 27, 2010 1:36 pm (Pacific time)

Of course Mars is our priority: if they find traces of oil they can start drilling to lower gas prices. Ha-ha.

Jay October 27, 2010 9:06 am (Pacific time)

Luke your ability to communicate your feelings about this matter is because of the by-products of our space program. Literally millions of jobs and increased well-being around the planet has been the side-benefit of American exploration.

Luke Easter October 27, 2010 7:21 am (Pacific time)

There's life on mars? While there is sickness, poverty, homelessness, forsclousures, racism, bullying, etc., on earth. I guess, "priority" is only in my dictionary.

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