Umm… I’m currently staring at NASA’s “Mars Polar Lander Science Goals” web page, and the science goals are given as:
o Image mars polar terrain during descent
o Image landing site (in stereo yet!) to determine soil types and mineral composition
o Dig into surface and collect soil and layer data.
o Analyze soil samples for evidence for water, ice, hydrates, and aqueously deposited minerals.
o Measure wind, temperature, pressure, and humidity at mars polar site.
o Detect ice fogs, surface frost and snow, and ground ice formation & loss.
There are also two small impactor probes, who’s mission objectives are given as:
o Search for subsurface ice.
o Characterize thermal properties of mars subsurface soil.
o Obtain atmospheric density profile
o Characterize hardness of soil
And moreover, from NASA’s Mars Polar Lander FAQ at http://marslander.jpl.nasa.gov/mvacs/overview/faq.html
“Will the lander be capable of detecting life?
No. The lander has no instruments designed to search for living organisms.”
So since the lander is apparently not capable of searching for life, my guess is that it won’t find any.
You also write:
If you’re going to troll, at least don’t be so blatant about it. There’s no style in that.
Anyway, by and large the populace doesn’t even know MPL is happening, so they’d be hard pressed to forget.
peas on earth