The Mars Polar Lander, we will find life?

As many of you know the Mars Polar Lander will search the Red Planet for life this week. My question is, do you think we will find it? All of you evolutionist soothsayers and prognosticators step up and show just how intelligent you REALLY are. Make a prediction and show your stuff. For my money, I think one of two things will happen. 1. They will find something that they will interpret as life. Or 2. This probe thing will be swept under the rug so quick next year the populace won’t even remember the embarrassment happened.

From your one and only Phaedrus :wink:

For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes.

My prediction is that some organic precursor compounds will be found, which will be totally inconclusive and quite susceptible for appropriation as evidence by all sides. I don’t know I think this, except that I have a gut feeling that everything will be inconclusive.

What do I mean by precursor molecules? I don’t remember. Basically, they are amino acids, and chunks of amino acids that can be formed when fixed nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon compounds are exposed to ultraviolet radiation in a wet environment.

So I’m just wildly guessing.

Any similarity in the above text to an English word or phrase is purely coincidental.

Yes, Boris that is the sort of thing I was referring to. Some will define the findings as life and others will argue against it, just like they did over the meteorite ALH84001.

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

“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

I think that losing the orbiter due to a stupid conversion error is more embarrassing. And we all know how quickly THAT news was suppressed.

Will the Polar Lander find life? As bantmof pointed out, it is not designed to LOOK for life, so there is no was it can find life. Unless one of the banths kept by the ancient priests of the Lost Sea of Horus escapes and steps on it.

It is very hard to hide something from The Public when The Public doesn’t give a damn about it one way or the other.

Phaedrus posted 12-01-1999 05:50 AM

David B posted 12-01-1999 09:12 AM

Phaedrus posted 12-02-1999 12:40 AM

Well, David, I guess your ship has come it.

“It is lucky for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

Yup. Funny how he won’t address it back in the Flat Earth thread itself, though. Instead he posts mindless remarks in the thread I started to ask for evidence against evolution (which he claimed to have) and trolls in here. Not that I can say I’m surprised, mind you.

I suspect he may have simply redefined evolution (again) to something that still bears no relation to how scientists define it. Although it’s entirely possible that he just wanted to hit 600 posts on that thread, although I would have held out for 666.

I got my info from the front page of Newsweek. Evidently some haven’t read the article.

Across the front page are the words," THE NEW SEARCH FOR THE LIFE ON MARS"

If you disagree with the article, that’s fine but I think it shows a fair bit of arrogance to make statements about an article if you haven’t read it.

I sincerely hope that they find some sign of life because I’m a big believer in the theory that we are not alone. Having been an avid science fiction fan for ages, reading all about UFO’s (then getting disgusted and stopping when the nuts popped up and no one could ever offer concrete proof), and being a great reader and watcher of space technology and theoretical works.

The most CURIOUS thing I’ve run into is that lately, they point out that there never were canals on Mars and never were any photographs of any, which I accept, but, having grown up in the beginnings of the space race, I DO RECALL books in which there were telescopic photographs of what looked like fuzzy lines on the surface.

Now I can’t find any.

Whether they find life or not, I hope we get people there soon. In the 1960s I was expecting functional moon bases by the 1980s and space stations, but the government yanked NASA’s funds, which pissed me off. It really steamed me up when they stopped going to the moon.

I do hope that they find something up there. I recall watching a program ages ago which said that dropping a lander on Mars to find life might be like an alien lander hitting in one of our major arid deserts in that the area was not a good representation of the whole planet. More selections would have to be taken and I’ve wondered why they have not checked out the polar caps.

“Think of it as Evolution in action.”

Phaedrus said:

Silly us. Here we have people who actually check the facts, like NASA’s website, rather than relying on a popular magazine.

I think it shows a rather larger bit of arrogance to forget that we were talking to you, not the magazine, and that you never mentioned the magazine 'til just now, when you also implied that people were arrogant for making statements about it when nobody was doing any such thing.

But we’ve come to expect arrogance from you.

A note: David was right, if you read some of the insane postings of last night, I was really on a tear! I am sorry for that, but I know my time is short here and was feeling so depressed about it, I went around acting like an idiot.

Please excuse me now, I have to go tie my other shoe.


Since you didn’t mention the fucking Newsweek article in your original post, why the hell would you chide us for not having read it, you buffoon?

As a regular reader of both Astronomy and Sky & Telescope, as well as a member of the Planetary Organization, which has a microphone on the MPL and regularly consults with NASA and the JPL on space science missions, I can assure the that searching for life or organic material is not within the scope of the MPL’s mission.

"I prefer shows of the genre, “World’s Blankiest Blank.”

No, David you are right. I wasn’t meaning that people had been speaking arrogantly. I was meaning that if people comment in this thread from now on and said they disagreed with the article and did so before reading it , it would be arrogant. I know the NASA website is good but Newsweek has a good article. If SI did a story on a topic and people went to a “authorized” source and totally disregarded SI’s take on the matter they would be missing a valueable view point.

Gutter mouth: I wasn’t chiding anybody about it. I just explained it and as YOU have said before, RESPOND TO WHAT I SAID NOT TO WHAT YOU THINK I SAID

sheesh some people

pldennison: why don’t YOU read the article and critique it for us THEN?


I think I am getting a telescope for Christmas from my fiancee! I’m so excited! It is an Orion Skyquest XT8 Dobsonian Reflector. If you wouldn’t mind giving some advice, do you think this is a good model for a beginner?

You can see it at Orion’s site. Thanks.

“It is lucky for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

Find life?

In light of recent missions, I’ll be suprised if one of those damn things actually finds Mars!

Elmer J. Fudd,
I own a mansion and a yacht.


For some reason, the link I provided disappeared into a cyber hole.

The address is

“It is lucky for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

I did read the article, shmucko. (And you calling me a “gutter mouth” is just precious.)

Newsweek extrapolated the mission of the MPL into the larger context of continuing Mars exploration, including the possibility of past or present life. (Otherwise, the article wouldn’t need to be much more than a pargraph or two.) Good–I hope public interest in the topic increases. Doesn’t change the fact that the MPL has a particular mission parameter that doesn’t include the search for past or present organic material or microbial and bacterial life.

"I prefer shows of the genre, “World’s Blankiest Blank.”