14 September 2006 Modern myths of Mars
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Abstract
July 30, 2006 was the 30th anniversary of the Viking Mission's first Labeled Release (LR) life detection experiment on Mars. The strong response, together with supporting results from eight additional LR tests of Martian soil, established the presence of an active agent that was inhibited by heating. The data satisfied the pre-mission criteria for the detection of living microorganisms. However, the scientific community reacted cautiously, generally concluding that the activity in the soil was caused by chemistry or physics. Over the last three decades, investigation of Mars has greatly increased. Soil, rock and atmospheric analyses have been made. Multi-spectral observations have been made from Mars and Earth orbits and from Earth-based telescopes. Knowledge of extreme habitats and bizarre life forms that populate them on Earth has increased dramatically. However, this vast amount of new astrobiological information has yet to be integrated into an objective scientific evaluation of the LR results and the possibilities for life on Mars. Indeed, in part upon misinterpretations of the new findings, myths have been embedded into the scientific literature of Mars. Based on these myths as key ingredients, a false "standard model" of Martian life potential has been developed. It has been accepted by much of the astrobiological community, and, through its endorsement, the world at large. This paper attempts to bring the supportable facts together in calling for a revision of the current consensus regarding life on Mars. It recommends actions to facilitate the paradigm change.
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Gilbert V. Levin, Gilbert V. Levin, } "Modern myths of Mars", Proc. SPIE 6309, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology IX, 63090C (14 September 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.676304; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.676304
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