archive: SETI Re: Mars\Water = Life?

SETI Re: Mars\Water = Life?

Larry Klaes ( )
Wed, 09 Dec 1998 10:14:32 -0500

>Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 00:29:04 -0500 (EST)
>From: Julie Edwards <>
>To: Multiple recipients of europa <>
>Subject: Re: Mars\Water = Life?
>Hi Larry,
>I heard Gil Levin speak at the Mars Society Founding Convention this past
>summer, and what he has to say really does sound plausible. The fact that
>the sun-bathed surface of Mars can get to around 70F mid-day (tho a foot
>or so above the soil is freezing) was measured by Pathfinder. The common
>theory had been that in the Martian atmosphere it is too cold and dry, and
>ground frost would sublime rather than melt. Levin's suggestion that
>liquid water could exist in some areas at times would be fantastic if
>proven true!
>Levin's LR experiment, one of the 3 original life-testing ones on the
>Viking landers of the 1970's, came up with positive results (as did the
>others, but no organics were found, so life was assumed non-existant).
>And he has, since then, maintained that his experiment DID prove that
>extant life exists on Mars. The one thing that made me lean more heavily
>toward his ideas is a conversation I overheard in the hallway after his
>talk. It was mentioned that Levin's LR experiment has been used on earth
>soil and always proves life. BUT it also was used on moon soil, and
>proved NO LIFE there. Just a thought...
>On Mon, 7 Dec 1998, Larry Klaes wrote:
>> >From: "Gerard Madden" <>
>> >To: <>
>> >Subject: Sagan: Mars\Water.
>> >
>> >This site shown by Michael Bonnici today is very
>> >exciting. I was hoping that we might someday find
>> >fossils of micro-organisms. Could this be true, that
>> >there is liquid water, and the possibility that the
>> >Viking microbiology experiments confirm the
>> >existence of microbial life.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >>Dr. Levin described a dynamic daily cycle on Mars in which the extreme
>> >>of the Martian atmosphere greatly restricts its ability to hold water
>> vapor. Thus,
>> >>the scant water vapor on Mars is forced down to the surface, where it is
>> >>deposited in frozen form. As the sun rises, the ice melts, but its
>> evaporation is
>> >>restricted by the low vapor capacity of the overlying cold atmosphere.
>> Levin
>> >>cited Pathfinder's results to show that the atmosphere immediately above
>> the
>> >>surface warms considerably, equaling a spring day on Earth, but, just a
>> couple
>> >>of feet above the surface, temperatures are sub-freezing. The warmed
>> surface
>> >>layer of air absorbs water vapor until saturated. No more water can then
>> >>evaporate from the surface, and the ice remaining there melts into liquid
>> water.
>> >>As the sun mounts, the temperature of the atmosphere above the surface
>> warms
>> >>sufficiently to permit any remaining water and ice to evaporate. However,
>> during
>> >>this daily cycle, the soil has been moistened with enough water to
>> >>microorganisms.
>> >-======