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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."
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BOLD Plan To Find Mars Life On the Cheap

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  • 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@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' 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?

I've got a bad feeling about this.