It was in this book (published on 07/23/97) that Dr. Gilbert V. Levin first announced his conclusion that his 1976 Viking Labeled Release (LR) life detection experiment flown on NASA's Viking mission to Mars found living microorganisms in the soil. Shortly afterward Levin presented his results in a scientific paper to the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Optical Engineering in San Diego.
Mars the Living Planet opens with the telling of how curious people became interested in the planet Mars as a world which might harbor some form of life. The book also traces the history of how the science of astronomy and microbiology eventually merged to become the new science known as astrobiology (first called exobiology in the 1960's). The story quickly moves forward to tell the real life story of astrobiologist Dr. Gilbert V. Levin. Levin was the second astrobiologist hand selected by NASA's first Administrator Keith Glennan in 1959 to develop a microbial detection instrument that could look for traces of life on Mars. Levin then went on to work as an scientific investigator on NASA's Mariner 9 Orbiter mission and later with Viking - the first spacecraft ever sent to look for life on another planet. Mars The living Planet details the exciting events that unfolded during the Viking program from the pre-mission testing and on the surface of Mars.
Recently a new scientific paper was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research with the title "Reanalysis of the Viking results suggests perchlorate and organics at mid-latitudes on Mars" by Rafael Navarro-González and a number of co-authors demonstrates that the Viking gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GCMS) used to invalidate Levin's biology results might have actually found a surprisingly significant amount of organic material in Martian soil at both the Viking 1 and Viking 2 landing sites on Mars. This now reopens the door to the results obtained by Levin's Viking Labeled Release experiments on Mars - a door that has been largely closed for 34 years due to the misinterpretation of the Viking GCMS. A number of newspapers broke the story September 3rd 2010 about the Navarro-González findings including the New York Times and Washington Post.
Mars The Living Planet - now available on KINDLE.
About Barry E. DiGregorio
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Published March 5, 2011
by Barry E. DiGregorio.
Religion & Spirituality, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical.