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Dr. Gil Levin, Friday, 1-23-15 January 24, 2015

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Dr. Gil Levin, Friday, 1-23-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2399-BWB-2015-01-23.mp3

Guest: Dr. Gil Levin. Topics: Searching for life on Mars, 1976 Viking Labeled Release Experiments and 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 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. Gil Levin to discuss searching for and finding microbial life on Mars. During the first segment of our 86 minute program, Dr. Levin first responded to an email question about the type of science equipment needed to find life on Mars & why was it missing from Curiosity. He also wanted to know if it could be added to the Mars 2020 mission. As Dr. Levin pointed out, MSL and Curiosity were not equipped with any life detection instrumentation. As for Mars 2020, it will collect samples and store them for a future sample return mission to Earth. Dr. Levin had much to say about a sample return mission as part of this discussion. Dr. Levin then went over his Label Release Experiments (LRE) from the 1976 Viking Landers and said many times during the show that not only was it suitable for detecting life, it did detect life. Gil then spent the better part of the first segment talking about life detection on Mars, the need to convene an expert panel to look at all the data available today to come to scientific conclusions about microbial life on Mars and more. Listeners emailed many questions to Dr. Levin asking about bacteria that could survive in the Mars environment, perchlorates, & XE-129. Doug from S. California phoned in and wanted to know if NASA had made a choice not to detect life on Mars as he thought they were avoiding doing so. Doug had several additional questions for Dr. Levin.

In the second segment, Kirk called to ask about the chiro experiment, LRE, and the use of fresh samples. Following up on what I asked our guest as the earlier segment ended, I asked Gil what was wrong with the step by step methodology NASA was using regarding Mars life research. Later he talked about the LRE being an effective tool for today, its use of Carbon 14, then he talked about putting a microscope on Mars and why that would be beneficial. I asked Gil if he had anticipated the controversy surrounding the LRE and he said no. Another listener asked about first going to one of the Martian moons. Gil explained why he thought that was a bad idea. He was also asked about Europa instead of Mars 2020. We talked about the high interest level in finding life on Mars and Gil said he believed that their was microbial life on Mars today. Another listener wanted to know if the results of the Viking experiments were only valid for the two Viking locations or most likely widespread on Mars. Gil explained why the findings were most likely applicable across Mars. We discussed Mars and our space policy & he was asked about both RNA and DNA. Don’t miss his final comment about Occam’s razor and Martian DNA.

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

Dr. Gilbert (Gil) Levin, Monday, 10-7-13 October 8, 2013

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Dr. Gilbert (Gil) Levin, Monday, 10-7-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2101-BWB-2013-10-07.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Gil Levin.  Topics:  Life on Mars, Viking 1 and 2, Labeled Release Experiments, NASA & 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 www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed back Dr. Gil Levin to continue our discussion about Viking 1 and 2, the possibility of finding life on Mars, and the Viking Labeled Release Experiment.  In the first segment of our 1 hour 21 minute discussion, Dr. Levin explained why the name “Labeled Release Experiment” was used rather than his first choice, Gulliver.  Dr. Levin talked about liquid water on Mars with the findings that there is probably 2% liquid water in the surface area.  He compared that to the amounts of water found in in dry soils on Earth which supports microbial life.  He also talked about complex organics which he says has not yet been confirmed though he questions why certain Curiosity experiments which he believes have been done have yet to release their findings.  Rick was our first caller with questions about water, NASA policy, and green spots found on rock and what that might mean.  Gil also spoke about his presentation at the SPIE Conference recently held in San Diego and the panel he was part of with a NASA representative.

In the second segment, Gil took a question about the meaning of perchlorates on Mars, he addressed additional questions on liquid water and discussed the recent press releases from NASA and others that there was no methane on Mars and what this might mean for looking for life on the Red Planet.  Regarding methane, our guest had much to say and that the findings were not conclusive for all of Mars nor does there have to be methane for organics.  I asked him about the timelines involved in Viking 1 and 2 and you might be surprised to learn it was a 20 year process.  A listener asked about the odds of finding intelligent life on Mars and our guest said pretty slim.  He was also asked about searching for life elsewhere in the solar system and he said Mars was the best choice and listed the reasons why, including the economics of space exploration.  A listener asked if Curiosity & other missions were shut down due to the government budget crisis. Doug emailed us that Curiosity was still up and running.  Later, Doug called at the end of the show to inquire about possible organic detection using the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) from Spirit and Opportunity. We concluded with Dr. Levin suggesting we contact NASA to release information about the green spots on Mars and liquid organic analysis of the surface. Also during this segment and not related to Mars, a listener asked Gil a few questions about his WW2 experience in the Merchant Marine in the N. Atlantic and the Pacific.  It was an interesting digression and I still found a way to connect it to space and Mars!

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can contact Dr. Levin through his website, www.gillevin.com.