The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?  (Read 4648 times)

Offline Alan McDougall

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1285
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
Hi,


4 Viking's methane
JULY 20, 1976. Gilbert Levin is on the edge of his seat. Millions of kilometres away on Mars, the Viking landers have scooped up some soil and mixed it with carbon-14-labelled nutrients. The mission's scientists have all agreed that if Levin's instruments on board the landers detect emissions of carbon-14-containing methane from the soil, then there must be life on Mars.
Viking reports a positive result. Something is ingesting the nutrients, metabolising them, and then belching out gas laced with carbon-14.
So why no party?

Because another instrument, designed to identify organic molecules considered essential signs of life, found nothing. Almost all the mission scientists erred on the side of caution and declared Viking's discovery a false positive. But was it?


 

Offline Soul Surfer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3345
  • keep banging the rocks together
    • View Profile
    • ian kimber's web workspace
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #1 on: 17/11/2008 19:36:06 »
More time and many more experiments will tell.  I feel that the probability of single cell life existing somewhere on mars is very high.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1285
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #2 on: 18/11/2008 09:30:07 »
Soul Surfer,

I agree but the point is one of the astrobiologist was positive the methane proved the existence of life on Mars
 

Offline Soul Surfer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3345
  • keep banging the rocks together
    • View Profile
    • ian kimber's web workspace
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #3 on: 18/11/2008 10:00:19 »
Science is not advanced by a single positive and/or a single negative result.  you need many results using different techniques if possible and a good statitistical confidence it is right.  Tho original viking experiments were slightly compromised by the fact that the predictions about the martian surface chemistry were wrong.  It was known that there was some oxygen in the atmosphere which was always considered as a potential for life but the high levels of peroxides were not expected and so the experiments were not designed to take this into account.
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #4 on: 20/11/2008 01:30:58 »
I used to think that just crossing the North Atlantic in their longboats was a great achievement but I didn't realise that they'd also got to Mars and caused a flatulence problem there.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1285
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #5 on: 20/11/2008 10:01:26 »

LeeE


Quote
I used to think that just crossing the North Atlantic in their longboats was a great achievement but I didn't realise that they'd also got to Mars and caused a flatulence problem there.

Methane nevertheless is a prime indicator for life, just go to New Zealand with their millions of cattle contaminating and adding to global warming by their constant non ceasing flatulence right here on earth. These beasts are very alive  ;)

Alan
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #6 on: 20/11/2008 13:01:25 »
Methane nevertheless is a prime indicator for life, just go to New Zealand with their millions of cattle contaminating and adding to global warming by their constant non ceasing flatulence right here on earth. These beasts are very alive  ;)

Alan

You need to take your head out of the cows arse and measure the emissions from it's breath, this is where they produce more methane...in their breath not their flatulence.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1285
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #7 on: 20/11/2008 14:55:46 »
Paul is that nice


Quote
You need to take your head out of the cows arse and measure the emissions from it's breath, this is where they produce more methane...in their breath not their flatulence.
 

Online Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8654
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #8 on: 20/11/2008 19:29:01 »
I'm not absolutely certain, but I think that impact of an iron based meteor into a carbonate  rock or a solid CO2 snowdrift could give rise to iron carbides and action of water (or better acids) on those carbides would give hydrocarbons which could be converted to methane.
Biology free methane is, I think, possible.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1285
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #9 on: 20/11/2008 20:11:00 »
Flatulence of cows cud -Chewers come out at both end , but I concede mostly from the mouth

http://www.globalwarmingawarenessblog.com/the-fart-side-of-global-warming.html

By their nature, cud-chewers digest their food with the help of micro-organisms via a process called enteric fermentation. This is where the organisms in the animal break down the cellulose in the plants they eat, releasing methane as a by-product. Thus the livestock flatulence (farts and belches) and poop are very high in methane. When the animal regurgitates (brings food in cud form back from stomach to mouth) and chews the cud - the methane is released from the mouth. The rest find their way out the other end - coming out as farts and fecal matter (both rich in methane gas).
 

Online Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8654
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #10 on: 20/11/2008 21:22:19 »
If there were cattle on Mars that would be relevant here.
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #11 on: 20/11/2008 21:39:11 »
Alan,

I see you totally missed the humour in my post. Just because you may not understand the joke does not mean it is an attack against you, and not every post that disagrees with you is an attack on you. After your accusations in the past to me, and just a few days ago to other members, i though you may have learned this. do i really need to post "smilies" in the text?

Anyway. i am glad to see that you have edited your post and removed the parts that say my reply was vile!!! and then cite "evidence" to prove me wrong, when i was actually correct. I don't mind being taken to task for being wrong, heck im used to it, but please try and see my posts for what they are, humerous, not an attack on your person or an attempt to make you feel intimidated.
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8128
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #12 on: 20/11/2008 21:40:08 »
Biology free methane is, I think, possible.

There is methane in interstellar gas, and in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, et al.
So methane is not necessarily a hallmark of biology.
« Last Edit: 20/11/2008 21:52:12 by RD »
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Vikings methane did it did in not indicate life on Mars?
« Reply #12 on: 20/11/2008 21:40:08 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums