The complete original press release of Dr. Gilbert V. Levin. Past life on Mars

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    Newly published calculations show that material ejected into space by meteoric impact must come from the surface of the impacted planet. Thus, if the meteorites containing biological findings are, indeed, from Mars, they validate that microorganisms would have been in surface material such as that taken in the LR sample.

    Levin also studied the Viking Lander images looking for signs of life that might support his LR data. In 1978, he reported that some areas of the soil and some rocks bore greenish patterns that changed in shape over the 6 years that the Viking cameras kept sending pictures back to Earth. This was the first time colors other than orange-red were attributed to Mars, and a major controversy ensued until the colors were independently confirmed by other Viking scientists. Levin brought lichen-bearing rocks to NASA's Viking simulation site and had the rocks imaged by and processed through the Viking camera system. A scientific comparison of the colored patterns on the Martian rocks matched the lichen-colored patches on the Earth rocks. Levin cited lichen as a good model for the life he claims on Mars, not only because of this analysis, but also because lichen are known to live under conditions nearly as extreme as those on the Red Planet.

    In his talk, Levin stated that Pathfinder, our first return to Mars in 21 years, should have contained a life detection experiment, especially since the President and the NASA Administrator have stated that the discovery of life on Mars is NASA's top priority. While NASA included none, Levin claims to have a "Trojan Horse" aboard Pathfinder in the form of its cameras. More precise than Viking's, Pathfinder's imaging equipment may show formations undeniably biological, such as colonial clusters of lichen or similar organisms.

    Commenting on the continuing stream of Pathfinder pictures and data, Levin says they are consistent with his conclusion that there is life on Mars. The meteorological data fully confirm the presence of liquid water in the topsoil each morning. The black-and-white as well as the color images show slick areas that may well be moist patches. Sojourner's tire tracks leave tiny vertical piles of soil consistent with their being moist. The color images confirm Levin's finding of brown to green areas on the surface and rocks. "I'm just waiting for that picture of lichen," he says, "to convince everyone finally that I've reached the right conclusion!"

    Meanwhile, Levin has proposed a low-cost, simple life detection test for NASA's Surveyor '98, scheduled to be launched to Mars this fall. The test is based on the fact that only living things distinguish right-handed organic molecules from their left-handed twins. So far NASA has declined interest, saying it intends to look for life on Mars by bringing samples back to Earth within the next several years. Levin strongly cautions against this, saying that "Although Earth has probably received many microorganisms from Mars as its meteorites impacted us over the eons, there still could be very dangerous surprises in such samples that could jeopardize our environment and life itself."

    Levin did his Viking work and other space research under NASA contracts to his firm, Biospherics Incorporated (NASDAQ/BINC), Beltsville, Maryland, which he founded in 1967 and where he remains as President. In addition to Viking, he was also designated by NASA as an Experimenter aboard the Mariner 9 Mission to Mars, and the ill-fated Russian '96 Mars Lander.

    Under its motto, "Technologies for Information and Health," Biospherics' mission is to provide guidance and products to improve the quality of life. The Firm offers telecommunications and database management information systems, and proprietary food and medical innovations.

    # # # # # #

    References:

    Sir Fred Hoyle, 011-44-202-556474
    Dr. Robert Jastrow, Director, Wilson Observatory
    Dr. Ron Weiner, Department of Microbiology, University of Maryland
    Dr. John Brewer, Vice President (retired), Becton Dickenson, Inc., (410) 255-8484
    Dr. Harley Halvorson, Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory

    Copyright © 1996, 1997 Biospherics Inc.




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