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Life On Mars? By Brian Simpson
Is, or was there, life on Mars? One line of thought has it that life has been discovered but covered up because it would be too threatening to orthodox beliefs, such as religion.
However, I very much doubt that the discovery of bacteria on another planet really threatens Christianity in any way. After all, we deal with evolution here and all that, so bacteria on another world should not be a problem. Even in the case of the encounter with an advanced alien civilisation, that does not mean much about the foundations of religion. If their bug-eyed theologians disagree, then that is just like the debates on Earth with our bug-eyed theologians. But if the aliens were human-like, and also believed in Christianity, that would be a startling confirmation of Christianity, making it simply irrational not to believe, because the probability of that religion arising by chance in two distinct worlds is infinitesimal. It would still mean that a lot of questions would be raised, but no more than theology does now.
Anyway, Gilbert Levin believes that life on mars has already been found:
“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 determinted 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. This standard test, in essence, was the LR test on Mars, modified by the addition of several nutrients thought to broaden the prospects for success with alien organisms, and the tagging of the nutrients with radioactive carbon. These enhancements made the LR sensitive to the very low microbial populations postulated for Mars, should any be there, and reduced the time for detection of terrestrial microorganisms to about one hour. But on Mars, each LR experiment continued for seven days. A heat control, similar to Pasteur’s, was added to determine whether any response obtained was biological or chemical.”
Thus, even if the past experiments were accepted as showing that life did exist on mars, ironically that life could have come from Earth in the first place. But it may not, and perhaps someday little green men will be found. There will be the need for the Left to immediately seek out their gender, and try to get them to change it.