Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Mars NASA Space Science

BOLD Plan To Find Mars Life On the Cheap 61

techfun89 writes "There is a BOLD new plan for detecting signs of microbial life on Mars. The nickname is BOLD, which stands for Biological Oxidant and Life Detection Initiative, would be a follow-up to the 1976 Mars Viking life-detection experiments. 'We have much better technology that we could use,' says BOLD lead scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch, with Washington State University. He elaborates, 'Our idea is to make a relatively cheap mission and go more directly to characterize and solve the big question about the soil properties on Mars and life detection.' To help figure out the life-detection mystery, Schulze-Makuch and his colleagues would fly a set of six pyramid-shaped probes that would crash land, pointy end down, so they embed themselves four to eight inches into the soil. One of the instruments includes a sensor that can detect a single molecule of DNA or other nucleotide."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

BOLD Plan To Find Mars Life On the Cheap

Comments Filter:
  • I may be mad... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by die standing ( 2626663 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:32AM (#39818657)
    but I'm sober. How is it that life as we know it, consciousness, sentience, etc. is not enough? Think about it. Same universe. Same galaxy. Isn't life (as we know/call it) even in ONE place... enough? Beyond amazing, beyond impossible, totally and utterly improbable... yet here we are! So we get to mars and find a small pond of goo with some amino acids and proteins in it. So what? What's the big deal?
  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <mark.a.craig@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:30AM (#39818899)

    Mars may be smaller than Terra, but it's still an awfully big place. Even if life exists or once existed on Mars, there's no guarantees its presence would leave a mark everywhere. Six immovable probes might find nothing and STILL not answer the question. The only way we get a useful answer at all from just six bullets fired into the dunes is that one of them actually finds something; if they find nothing it still doesn't disprove the presence of life.

    It's great that the people behind this want to make names for themselves, but we need to think - and plan and budget - much bigger than this if we truly want a definitive answer. This plan with a spaghetti western budget won't give us one. It's essentially a waste of time. Bold, yes, but also pointless where the stated goal is concerned.

  • Re:Microscope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:38AM (#39818943)

    Because we can't reliably detect unknown life on THIS planet with an optical microscope?

Of course there's no reason for it, it's just our policy.