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Proceedings Paper

Stealth life detection instruments aboard Curiosity
Author(s): Gilbert V. Levin
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Paper Abstract

NASA has often stated (e.g. MSL Science Corner1) that it’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), “Curiosity,” Mission to Mars carries no life detection experiments. This is in keeping with NASA’s 36-year explicit ban on such, imposed immediately after the 1976 Viking Mission to Mars. The space agency attributes the ban to the “ambiguity” of that Mission’s Labeled Release (LR) life detection experiment, fearing an adverse effect on the space program should a similar “inconclusive” result come from a new robotic quest. Yet, despite the NASA ban, this author, the Viking LR Experimenter, contends there are “stealth life detection instruments” aboard Curiosity. These are life detection instruments in the sense that they can free the Viking LR from the pall of ambiguity that has held it prisoner so long. Curiosity’s stealth instruments are those seeking organic compounds, and the mission’s high-resolution camera system. Results from any or all of these devices, coupled with the Viking LR data, can confirm the LR’s life detection claim. In one possible scenario, Curiosity can, of itself, completely corroborate the finding of life on Mars. MSL has just successfully landed on Mars. Hopefully, its stealth confirmations of life will be reported shortly.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 October 2012
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 8521, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XV, 852102 (15 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.928032
Show Author Affiliations
Gilbert V. Levin, Arizona State Univ. (United States)
Univ. of Buckingham (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8521:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XV
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Paul C. W. Davies, Editor(s)

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