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Dr. Gil Levin, Friday, 9-25-15 September 26, 2015

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Dr. Gil Levin, Friday, 9-25-15

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Guest: Dr. Gil Levin. Topics: Live on Mars per the Viking Labeled Release experiments plus modern research analysis. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm. For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed Dr. Gil Levin back to the show to discuss Mars new updates, the possibility of life on Mars, and news based on his Viking Labeled Release life detection experiments from the two Viking missions to Mars in 1976. During the first segment of our 93 minute show, Dr. Levin told us about three important announcements that have either happened or will happen. The first was is by the ISRO in India saying they would release their methane experiment data from their Mars orbiter on Oct. 1. We discussed the implications of Martian methane later in the program. The second announcement which will take place on Monday, Sept. 27 with an afternoon NASA press conference is expected to announce the confirmation of flowing water on Mars. All NASA will say is they are going to finally disclose answers about a significant Mars mystery that has finally been answered. The speculation all points to water. The third news announcement was that the Viking 1 landing site from 1976 has been selected by the appropriate NASA team as the first landing site for the Mars human mission. Dr. Levin spent most of the rest of the first segment talking about the Viking Labeled Release experiments, why the science continues to be rejected today and some theories behind the rejection. Some of this discussion followed us into the second segment. I asked Gil to describe what a modern life detection experiment would consist of and he went into that in some detail. Gil was asked if he believed in conspiracy theories. He did not want to go there but we did talk about them from time to time during the show. BJohn for example suggested NASA did not want to announce life on Mars for fear of planetary protection rules and policies stopping their humans to Mars program. We also talked about that being a possible stumbling bloc for wealthy private sector space entrepreneurs to launch their own life detection experiment because planetary protection rules would impact their plans just as they would NASA. The 25 year NASA Roadmap to Mars program came up and like many others, Dr. Levin did not think it was credible. We spent mor time discussing wealthy private sector people possibly funding their own Mars science and eventual human missions. Gil addressed methane on Mars in some detail and what finding it on Mars may mean for life detection. He was also asked if he could propose experiments for missions from other national space agencies. He said he could but then told how he was doing that for Russia in 1996 & then the mission was cancelled because the US blocked him from exporting and talking about Carbon 14. As the first segment ended, Gil identified scientists that had published credible research in support of life on Mars. Don’t miss what he had to say about the scientists, their work, and what happened when it was published.

In the second segment, Gil suggested that possibly his work was dismissed because he was an engineer, not a scientist. He talked about this possibility in some detail. I asked him to support his contention that life existed on Mars now. For a significant part of this segment, he listed experiment after experiment, solid evidence, some solid theory, all in support of and to back up his claims. It was a convincing impressive list so don’t miss this part of the discussion. Ben from Chicago challenged Gill with a few hard hitting questions about his work being dismissed. Essentially he asked Gil if he might just be dismissed because he is seen as an old, angry guy, fighting for his decades old experiment to be valid so his claims and efforts are pretty much dismissed for those reasons. Gil agreed with part of it and said he was looking and hoping for younger, more open minded researchers to take a fresh look at the data. We talked about open minded researchers, their organizations, and institutions for a good portion of this segment. As the show was nearing its end, we talked about NASA life detection experiments that flirted with detecting past or present live as compared to experiments designed to confirm once and for all life or no life. As the show was ending, BJohn asked why everyone was in such a hurry to do the life detection experiments given Mars was not going anywhere. I thought Gil gave a terrific answer to this question which also served as his conclusion to our discussion. Don’t miss his response to BJohn. Let us know what you think by posting your thoughts on the blog.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Dr. Gil Levin through me.

Dr. Gilbert (Gil) Levin, Friday, 8-15-14 August 16, 2014

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Dr. Gilbert (Gil) Levin, Friday, 8-15-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2296-BWB-2014-08-15.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Gilbert (Gil) Levin.  Topics:  Life on Mars, Viking Labeled Release Experiment & more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See http://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed back Dr. Gilbert (Gil) Levin who was the designated Experimenter of the Viking Labeled Release Life Detection Experiment (LR) on the two NASA Viking missions in 1976.  During the first segment of our 90 minute discussion, Dr. Levin talked about his latest research and paper which was delivered at this year’s Mars Society Conference.  His paper, “MARS: Dead or Alive,” can be found on his website for download at http://www.gillevin.com.  Scroll to the bottom of the Mars Research for all his papers or use http://www.gillevin.com/Mars/Levin-Straat_Mars_Society_Paper_8-8-14.pdf.  I asked Dr. Levin about criticisms to the findings published in his paper and he said the controversies centered around liquid water being on mars and for fossil references.  Gil also talked about the difficulty in getting NASA information on Mars mission experiments and his use of the Freedom of Information Act.  He also told us stories of his efforts to propose Mars life detection experiments with other national space agencies.  His theory as expressed in his latest paper is that there are microorganisms on Mars with a similar biochemistry in water similar to what is on Earth.  We received lots of email questions from listeners ranging to questioning the significance for us here on Earth in confirming microbial life on Mars, to the impact in our science, academic and religious communities.  One interesting email came from Joe in Denver asking if Gil was maybe too close to his own research thus possibly skewing his objectivity. Gil brought this up near the end of the second segment as well but listen to how he responded and the challenge he put out to listeners and others interested in this issue.  You decide if you think he is too close to life detection on Mars to be an objective scientist.  Near the end of the first segment, Doug emailed in wanting to know if microbes in the rocks could be imaged by a microscope instrument on a rover.  He was not satisfied with Gil’s response so he asked it again as we started the second segment.  Before we ended the first segment, we talked about possible reasons why some life detection experiments that could be done by Curiosity had not been done or at least not reported on were they done.

In the second segment, aside from Doug’s modified repeat question about microscope image detection, Gil talked about the newer LR analysis using complexity analysis by a scientist at Sienna University. He also mentioned updated analysis by Dr. Joe Miller at USC.  Another listener again asked about challenges to his Mars Society paper and Gil listed the three mail areas of challenge for us to consider.  BJohn from Sweden asked a series of questions about a Mars sample return mission and the risks of bringing a Mars sample back to Earth or using an orbiting station or the Moon to evaluate it due to the possibility of risk to Earth. As mentioned earlier, toward the end of our program, Gil’s objectivity came up & he challenged listeners to contact him with objections to his research which he will respond to via email as he gave out his email address.  Charles Pooley called in near the end to raise ethical issues about HSF to Mars were some form of life discovered there.

If you have questions/comments, post them on TSS blog above.  You can contact Dr. Gil Levin through me, his website, or the email address he gave out during the program.