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Guest: Dr. Gil Levin; Topics: Updates to the Viking Labeled Release Experiment, searching for life on Mars, NASA, upcoming missions, and much more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.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 Dr. Gil Levin back to the show for a two part 85 minute discussion regarding searching for life on Mars. During the first segment, Gil provided us with some new information on his Labeled Release Experiment (LRE) and the publication of updated papers at his website, www.gillevin.com. Click on the Mars tag for his publications. His latest paper with his associate Pat Straat is titled “Partially Pregnant as Submitted” and dated 2017. Our guest talked about this new paper and its conclusions so don’t miss this discussion. I also suggest you download and read his paper.
During the show I read three questions that were emailed me by Alec. The first one I read dealt with comments by Dr. Chris McKay. Note what Gil said about the comments and the work he has done with Dr. McKay. He also offered explanations as to why it seemed so challenging to announce life having been found on Mars or that the LRE was successful. What do you think? Let us know on the blog.
I asked Gil about his having seen the Musk plan for Mars per his talk the night before (California time) from the IAC in Australia. Gil had not seen it so I gave him a brief summary of what Musk said. This prompted Gil to mention his latest paper with his associate Pat Straat, “Partially Pregnant as Submitted.” You can find the paper per the above website reference.
Gil then talked extensively about life detection experiments, finding life on Mars, and a new workshop that he was told about which you can find out about here: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/ssb/currentprojects/ssb_173278. Gil talked about the workshop paper in length for most of the rest of the first segment of our program and he was very critical of it. Don’t miss his comments. I suggest you become familiar with the workshop paper that Gil evaluated for us.
Before the segment ended, Gil mentioned that even if humans go to Mars, they would need robotic instruments to carry out a search for life in the soil of Mars. He then mentioned why finding DNA on Mars might not be a good marker for life detection on Mars.
For the second segment of the program, we talked extensively about controls needed on life detection experiments and why. He mentioned the controls on the LRE. Don’t miss why he said having experiment controls was essential. I then read the second question from Alec regarding Dr. Zubrin and one of his theories. I followed that by the third and final questions submitted by Alec, also regarding Dr. Zubrin. Don’t miss our discussion of these two questions, ideas for Mars put forth by Dr. Zubrin, and what Gil had to say about it all.
One of the several listener emails that came in for the show was from Todd in San Diego. Todd asked about placing a life detection experiment on a SpaceX mission to Mars. Here, Gil talked about the chiro labeled release experiment he has mentioned before and said it would be possible to do on a private mission but he had not had any discussions about that as of this time. Our guest then mentioned the Russian experiment he was part of which ended up in the ocean when the mission failed. Gil talked about science not being as objective and free as it should be and I mentioned the letter from the head of the Aerospace Medical Association that touched on similar concerns.
Please post your comments/questions for Dr. Gil Levin on our blog page for this Space Show program. You can reach Gil through me or his website address which I listed above.