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Home / Science / People looking for life on Mars, and people who say we have found life

People looking for life on Mars, and people who say we have found life

Jerry van Andel sits alone on the bow of RV Lulu, a floating dump on the ship, swaying with the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Across the deck, a group of scientists was busy in a basket full of strange life forms, struggling from a huge crack in the earth 10,000 feet below sea level.

This was a difficult task, but the vibrant Dutch oceanographer van Andel from Stanford University did not dance with the rest of the team. He pondered his thoughts and was propped up by the anchor windlass. A crew member John Porteus noticed and dragged past.

“What’s going on?” the door god asked.

Van Andel replied: “They didn̵

7;t realize our discovery.”

It was 1977. For the first time, scientists have observed the vigorous development of life in ocean ridges on the seabed. They look forward to a desert. They found an oasis. The weird fish swam across the rock chimney, billowing thick smoke. Mollusks cling to the hydrothermal vents and the extraordinary crack worms-six-foot-tall tubes decorated with blood-red feathers-currently swaying.

There is no biologist on RV Lulu’s mission. It is not designed to find life deep in the ocean. But the researchers still found it. Continue to consume a toxic hydrogen sulfide diet in a completely dark environment,Under the pressure of crushing bones, this place is really alive. When the specimen barrel rose to the surface, van Andel immediately realized the importance of this discovery: the definition of “life” is being rewritten.

Great Rift A tubular worm found on the seabed.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

This discovery has had a profound impact on scientists’ understanding of not only life on our planet, but also the potential of life. Elsewhere In the solar system. If life can multiply 10,000 feet under the sea, then maybe it can Other planet. Planets like Mars.

The surface of Mars exposed to the space harsh seems impossible to contain anything but ghostly relics. This planet is too dry. It’s too cold. But many believe that not only does life exist on Mars, but NASA has already Find it.

In 1976, a year before RV Lulu was discovered 10,000 meters below the seafloor, NASA landed two beetle-shaped spacecraft, Viking 1 and Viking 2, on the surface of Mars. This is the first time the institution has reached the surface of the Red Planet. The lander is an interplanetary laboratory with a set of instruments capable of detecting life. Just a few weeks after landing, Viking began conducting biological experiments on surface soil samples. The first result flowing back to earth is shocking: positive.

Living on another planet.

But really?

this experiment

Gilbert Levin stared at a flashing TV monitor in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, waiting nervously with his collaborator Patricia Straat, The data of the entire universe is scattered into it. That was the evening of July 30, 1976. Leon (a 52-year-old public) health engineer with a strong interest in microorganisms was receiving the results of an experiment conducted over 200 million kilometers on the surface of Mars.

Ron Levin pointed to the latest images released by the Vikings on the monitor in the JPL biology team meeting room.

Ron Levine

In a small room of the Viking 1 metal hull, soil samples were being examined for signs of radioactivity. The test is called a marker release experiment and is designed to absorb Martian soil and spray it with radioactive nutrient soup. If there are microorganisms in the soil, they will suck up the mud and release it as a radioactive gas into the room-this reaction can be detected by the equipment on the Viking aircraft, and theoretically proves that there is life on Mars.

On the evening of the experiment, Levin’s son Ron was placed on the lower level of the JPL biology team. When Viking slowly sent the results home, he lifted his face to a plastic window and watched the task data printed on folding paper. He can see signs of positive discovery through the window.

He quickly went upstairs to tell his father and biology team. Their nervousness disappeared. Around 9 pm, the first complete reading has been sent to the laboratory, showing a sharp curve on the graph. This is the first sign that life may exist elsewhere in the universe.

Levin, 96, recalled: “I am very excited, I send out champagne and cigars.”

Other experiments are needed to confirm what is seen in the LR experiment. A week later, Levine ordered another sample and heated to 160 degrees Celsius-to kill any microorganisms that may be present in the soil-and then treated with radioactive soup. This reading did not show the expected results.

Ron said: “The pre-mission criteria for life detection have been met.” “Dad found microorganisms in Martian soil.”

The Vikings conducted a total of nine tests, all of which seemed to point to the same conclusion. But the excitement is short-lived. Another experiment on the lander failed to detect the organic molecules necessary for life, leading NASA scientists to assume that the LR experiment has detected an unknown chemical reaction in the soil.

“They think our experiment was wrong,” Gilbert Levine said.

Violet Prince

Rhawn Gabriel Joseph believes that the LR experiment is correct.

Joseph is a mystery, a mystery, a mystery, a button shirt wrapped around his stomach. According to his autobiography, he is a famous neurobiologist. He likes the ocean, walking and hiking along the beach. His own article stated that life has been found on Mars with Venus, and spread another view of the origin of life.

This theory is “panspermia”. It believes that life first appears in space, while planets in the solar system are driven by microorganisms, dust, meteors and debris.

Paul Myers, a developmental biologist at the University of Minnesota Morris, said: “Panzoospermia is one of the things that all biologists have said,’Maybe it may happen, but we have no evidence. ‘Myers has refuted this theory in the past, leading to conflict with Joseph and his colleagues. He called this group of people the “chimpanzee mafia”.

The two biggest supporters of Panspermia are the famous astronomer Fred Hoyle (he died in 2001) and his goalkeeper Chandra Wickramasinghe. Hoyle helped unravel the process of “star-shaped nucleus synthesis”, which takes place in stars to produce all the chemical elements in the universe, and in collaboration with Vikramak Singh, the two discovered the organic matter that constitutes the cosmic dust substance. However, later in their careers, the two made controversial claims, with little evidence to support them, including the idea that viruses such as flu and coronavirus come from space.

Myers said that the academic pedigree of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe gave the whole violet a credible atmosphere in the 1970s, helping the couple promote it as a rebellious view of the origin of life. However, the theory laid the foundation for meaningless pseudoscience theory-including Joseph’s belief that Mars is full of mushrooms, fungi and lichens.

Wickramasinghe is still the godfather of panspermia and continues to publish the theory in books and his own journals. Ron Gabriel Joseph is the heir.

Fred Hoyle (left), Chandra Wickramasinghe (center) and Lee Spetner, and photos of fossils Archaeopteryx, They falsely claimed that this was fake.



Most of the information I know about Joseph comes from his website brainmind.com. The site immediately evoked the spirit of another famous Joseph- Tiger KingJoseph Maldonado-Passage-took Rhawn’s light and shadow photos, placed in front of the hot mushroom cloud, read the novel, with a black hair on his head, from a light blue It appeared on the shirt. The site does not appear to have been updated since the 1990s, which is a far cry from the resume wall usually associated with scholars and researchers.

It includes a 2,000-word biography, in which Joseph detailed his childhood and growing interest, including an intermittent beheaded chicken who was “impressed” by him when he was a toddler. Another story recounts his first intimate experience with his neighbor of “delicious and cute long legs” when he was 13 years old. He said she stared at the woman “like a starving lion staring at a steak”.

These bizarre places paved the way for academic proof, explaining Joseph’s early life as a neuroscientist in the 1970s, when he made “significant discoveries” in the field, and then turned to current exploration to seek the origin of life . In 2009, he founded his own journal, “Journal of Cosmology” (JOC), and claimed that by 2011, it was “the most read and discussed scientific journal in the world.”

But JOC is not a real journal, but a website. Since its inception, its credibility has often been questioned by other scholars, and it is based on the beliefs of fringe science spread by a group of traitor researchers. In one instance, it published a statement from Richard Hoover, a former NASA scientist, that fossil bacteria born in space were found in meteorites on Earth. NASA rejected these claims, saying they had not been thoroughly reviewed by experts.

Screenshot of Brainmind.com, website of rhawn Joseph, on June 29.


Joseph’s own controversial claim about life on Mars was only occasionally mentioned in the mainstream media, and in most cases, was suspected. One of the most striking incidents occurred in February 2014, when he filed a lawsuit against NASA, forcing the agency to examine the “recognized organism” seen by Mars “Opportunity” in images returned from Mars. It was later confirmed that this “creature” was a stone.

Since then, Joseph has rarely been heard. In addition to the now-defunct YouTube channel, the channel has accumulated millions of views in its videos about ancient history, alien life and war atrocities, but he does not have any social media accounts. He has nothing to do with the scientific institutions or universities of the “Brain Research Laboratory” established in 1986 and the “San Francisco Astrobiology Association of Northern California”. There is no online status or actual address. Joseph’s name appeared only four times in PubMed, an online research paper repository maintained by the National Institutes of Health before 1989. Compared with Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, his academic qualifications are pale.

Joseph is still a mysterious figure, the invisible prince of the crumbling kingdom. Although his controversial views on the universe have been ignored by NASA and the broader scientific community, he recently claimed to have made a breakthrough.

Mushrooms on Mars

My first interaction with Rhawn Gabriel Joseph was through an email sent to reporters on April 11 this year. The theme is surprising: “Nature/Springer’s “Life on Mars””. The attachment to the email is a 50-page document claiming that the evidence strongly supports the idea of ​​”there are mushrooms, algae, lichens, fungi, and related organisms on the surface of Mars.”

It contains 13 images obtained by NASA’s “Opportunity” rover during the “Eagle Crater”. These mainly show enlarged and cropped images of Mars “blueberries”, which are spherical rocks composed of hematite (a mineral made of oxygen and iron). The screed “refutes” the view that these pellets are hematite. Conversely, these pellets may be photosynthetic mushroom colonies.

“Blueberry” discovered by Opportunity Rover in April 2004. Blueberries are made from hematite, a common iron oxide mineral.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / USGS

These extraordinary claims are accepted for publication and are ready to appear in a respected, long-running journal “Astrophysics and Space Science.” Articles submitted to the journal are peer-reviewed, a process that allows other scientists to anonymously evaluate and validate the study.

After I asked Jeremy Mould, editor-in-chief of astrophysics and space science, about the accuracy of Joseph’s research, a spokesperson for the journal confirmed that the research institute had conducted a peer review process. Conducted an investigation and “expressed concerns about its reliability”. Further peer review was ordered, but Joseph withdrew his consideration of this article, claiming that the publisher succumbed to “pressure from NASA.” A week later, he decided to publish himself on another website, called “Astrophysics and Space Science Review”, whose name is very similar to Springer Nature magazine.

How Joseph’s work went beyond the peer review process and was accepted for publication remains a mystery. Process usually Clear these clear non-scientific claims. Other astronomers and astrobiologists who surveyed this research questioned the conclusions of the study based on inappropriate methods and analysis.

Astronomer Michael Brown of Monash University in Australia said: “Blurred photos are a bit overwhelming,” and Gretchen, a geophysicist at Curtin University in Australia Benedix pointed out that “increasing the size of the image to study the object of interest does not change the resolution of the image, so the object of interest cannot be better analyzed.”

Rocco Mancinelli, editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Astrobiology, called science and logic “completely flawed” and said he suggested rejecting it.

A NASA spokesperson told me: “The consensus in most scientific circles is that the current conditions on the surface of Mars are not suitable for liquid water or complex life.”

The Martian mushroom hypothesis burst. But six months ago, Joseph’s theory of interplanetary fungi had entered the major leagues.

Dangerous (and fungus on Venus)

In November 2019, the School of Astrophysics and Space Science published Joseph’s paper entitled “The Transfer of Life and Biota on Venus from Earth to Interplanetary.”

The 18-page document states that the Russian Venara 13 lander spent 127 minutes on the surface of Venus in 1982 and then succumbed to extreme heat. It photographed creatures similar to lichens and fungi image. Like his Martian works, Joseph’s comment provides “evidence” of life by stretching, cropping, and scaling to a forgotten, granular digital image, but pointed out that “morphological similarity is not a proof of life.”

This is the first and only example of Joseph’s publication in a peer-reviewed legal journal in the past decade. But after controversy about the Mars paper, Joseph asked the School of Astrophysics and Space Science to withdraw his comment on Venus and refund all publication costs, claiming that it published “falsified articles.” After I questioned the paper, Springer Nature said that the Venus paper “will be carefully studied in accordance with best practices.” It is still available online and in at least one other scientific paper in another important space science journal Be cited. On June 23, after asking other questions about this article, an editorial note was added.

Over the past decade, Joseph and York (JOC) have been ignored by NASA and the scientific community. Few scientists take seriously the claims of exotic fungi, but since February 2019, Joseph’s work has been emphasized in British tabloids, RTs, and many well-meaning science news websites. Some people praised Joseph’s website as a “scientific journal”, and even compared Joseph’s vanity website with a legal, similarly named journal. One person portrayed Joseph as someone trying to “overcome difficulties”.

This is the danger.

Astrobiology, exploring and studying extraterrestrial life, Yes Serious scientific work. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has an astrobiology program, and finding life is a key part of its Mars exploration program. Although the public seems to object to the fantasy of fungal spores on Mars or lichens on Venus, they have not disappeared. If anything, social media seems to make us More Easily deceived With the crank, marginal theories began to accumulate in peer-reviewed honest journals, and the public’s understanding of astrobiology soon became confusing.

Myers said: “I think these guys have poisoned the entire field.”

Gil Levin, a scientist at the Viking LR experiment, has a similar feeling. He published an article in Joseph’s JOC in 2010 and has a connection with Joseph, who nominated the work for the Nobel Prize. But in recent years, Levine has kept his distance. He said: “He was so erratic that I was afraid to be associated with his work.”

Joseph insisted that NASA had infiltrated and was “controlled by religious fanatics” and opposed the search for extraterrestrial life. He claimed that he had “finished his career by discovering and recording obvious evidence of life on Mars” and said he could only wait for China to investigate the planet because NASA “never tells the truth” .

Image of Venera 13 lander taken from the surface of Venus.

National Science and Technology Development Center


Luther Beegle, a planetary scientist at NASA JPL, believes the truth is simple: the Vikings did not find life on Mars. But he did say that there is an argument that NASA has made the wrong order of experiments.

Beagle said: “They made Vikings and got a lot of results they didn’t understand.” He explained how the Vikings were designed as biological experiments, but the space agency did not have enough soil or atmosphere on Mars. Understanding. It should complete geological and chemical work first. The ambiguous results from Viking’s LR experiment had a considerable impact on NASA’s exploration of the Red Planet.

Beegle is part of the JPL science department and has been supervising the work of the Curiosity rover since it reached Mars Curiosity in 2012. The next Mars mission will make him the modern Arthur Conan Doyle (Arthur Conan Doyle), only his Sherlock Holmes has only 10 pounds. The instrument is installed on NASA’s next-generation Mars probe Persian robotic arm on.

As we all know, the instrument “scans the habitable environment with Raman and luminescence technology for organics and chemicals” or Sherloc, which will be launched in July in Mars, nearly fifty years after the Vikings’ first experiment, in Looking for signs of life on the red planet. The instrument and its accompanying camera (nicknamed Watson) can take microscopic images of Mars and analyze them. Equipped with a laser that can be emitted on the surface, Sherloc is able to use a technique called spectroscopy to measure the chemicals present in soil and rocks.

“We use the same laser for two types of spectroscopic analysis,” Beagle explained. “The first spectrum is the Raman spectrum, where we obtained the molecular fingerprint.”

Raman spectrometers can detect molecules such as salts, hydrocarbons and even nucleotides-compounds that form RNA and DNA. Beegle said that another spectrometer can detect fluorescence and is mainly used to find aromatic organic compounds, which are highly stable molecules that are very important in biochemical processes.

If life does exist on Mars, then perseverance should be able to find it.

Perseverance before NASA’s JPL launch

NASA/JPL-California Institute of Technology

It is planned to land this rover at the Jerzero Crater in February 2021, which was the birthplace of the long-lived Lake Mars. It contains a layer of sediment that may show signs of life that once flourished there. Sherloc will draw the surface of the crater from inch to inch on a micro level, and the collected data will provide a window into the past.

Perseverance is the first phase of the sample recovery task. The rover is expected to collect its core samples while staying on the surface of Mars. Beegle pointed out: “We put them in sample tubes to seal them, and then leave them on the surface.”

In 2026, a sample return mission will be initiated to obtain the dropped samples and place them on the rocket into Mars orbit, and eventually return to Earth.

The bottom of the ocean and the edge of the universe

After van Andel and a group of undersea explorers discovered them, the existence of deep-sea rift worms was unthinkable. They swayed in the warm waters of the earth’s hydrothermal vent system.

Although seeing them prosper and prosper on the ocean floor is enough to prove that there are many ways of life, what makes worms really outstanding is what is invisible to the human eye.

The worm has no mouth and no intestines. They cannot find food. On the contrary, as Colleen Cavanaugh discovered in 1981, trillions of microorganisms inhabit their bodies to convert hydrogen sulfide and oxygen into energy, a process known as “chemical synthesis.” . Worms rely on bacteria to survive.

Chemical synthesis was discovered in the rift worm, which changed not only our understanding of the seabed, but also our understanding of the universe itself. A paper in Nature in 2017 described up to 4.3 billion years of microfossils in ancient hydrothermal vent deposits. If bacteria do appear and survive under such conditions, why can’t they do so under the surface of Mars? Or is it in the abyss beneath the cold crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa? Perhaps life can even use the hydrocarbon lakes that exist on Titan’s surface. These theories have yet to be strictly tested.

We found that life has flourished in places that have never been seen in the past 50 years. We will still be surprised. Therefore, we cannot and should not completely cancel the pan-violet essence theory. We cannot directly look at the idea that life is lurking under the barren appearance of Mars. There is evidence that this possibility is very small, but we are not sure.

On the other hand, allowing unpublished and eccentric claims about mushrooms on Mars or fungi on Venus in legal academic journals will put us on a slippery slope. The error message will spread quickly and easily. It will actively damage honest, rational astrobiology research.

No NASA conspiracy. We landed on the moon. The earth is not flat. Coronavirus does not come from outer space. There are no fungi on Venus.

Mars is not the home of mushrooms.

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