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View Full Version : The White House is Briefed: Phoenix About to Announce "Potential For Life" on Mars



Fraser
2008-Aug-02, 08:20 AM
It would appear that the US President has been briefed by Phoenix scientists about the discovery of something more "provocative" than the discovery of water existing on the Martian surface. This news comes just as the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA) confirmed experimental evidence for the existence of water in the Mars regolith on [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/08/02/the-white-house-is-briefed-phoenix-about-to-announce-potential-for-life-on-mars/)

Whirlpool
2008-Aug-02, 08:33 AM
So , if this will progress positively .
Do they have a plan of migrating to Mars in the future?


:think:

Neverfly
2008-Aug-02, 09:42 AM
We already know what they found.

Blackout's footprint.

parallaxicality
2008-Aug-02, 11:18 AM
No! Bigfoot's footprint!

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23433577-details/Crikey!%20There's%20a%20little%20green%20man%20on% 20Mars/article.do

KaiYeves
2008-Aug-02, 11:53 AM
So , if this will progress positively .
Do they have a plan of migrating to Mars in the future?
Oh, I hope so!

01101001
2008-Aug-02, 01:27 PM
I can't view UT at the moment, but the story is probably based on the Aviation Week article by Craig Covault: Aviation Week: White House Briefed On Potential For Mars Life (http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/WH08018.xml&headline=White%20House%20Briefed%20On%20Potential% 20For%20Mars%20Life).

Calm down, please.

It's about "potential". It's about habitability.

And it's not about evidence for past or current life.


Sources say the new data do not indicate the discovery of existing or past life on Mars. Rather the data relate to habitability--the "potential" for Mars to support life--at the Phoenix arctic landing site, sources say.

And, it comes from unnamed sources and they're often of limited usefulness evidence-wise. Keep being skeptical.

Neverfly
2008-Aug-02, 01:33 PM
And, it comes from unnamed sources and they're often of limited usefulness evidence-wise. Keep being skeptical.

<Sells the "Alien Shielding Technologies" stock he bought yesterday...>

clint_dreamer
2008-Aug-02, 04:39 PM
No! Bigfoot's footprint!

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23433577-details/Crikey!%20There's%20a%20little%20green%20man%20on% 20Mars/article.do

Great link. I love how the "being" is out for casual stroll.

Anyways do we know when I actual announcement will be made?

Neverfly
2008-Aug-02, 04:53 PM
Anyways do we know when I actual announcement will be made?

As soon as all the disinformation agents are in place.

01101001
2008-Aug-02, 05:19 PM
Anyways do we know when I actual announcement will be made?

When the science is done. When it's checked and rechecked, and confirmed. Knowledge can't be scheduled.

Guess: From Mid-August into September.

===

By the way, this UT story is on Slashdot's front page. Expect a busy BAUT Forum server for a while.

Slashsot: White House Briefed On "Potential For Life" (http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?no_d2=1&sid=08/08/02/133259)

139 comments so far.

napier
2008-Aug-03, 12:28 AM
What sort of discovery would require notifying the White House? What is the criteria for this, if any? It has already been announced that they've found water, that Mars soil is compatible with life. What else could they have found that would lead to this sort of notification way in advance of the public?
I'm damn curious. I don't want to get too excited, because it will probably be a letdown when the info is released.
So, is this story accurate?, and if it is, what common sense speculation is there as to what was discovered? :confused:

01101001
2008-Aug-03, 06:04 AM
Welcome to BAUT Forum.


What sort of discovery would require notifying the White House?

Anything of a nature that would make a reporter think to ask for a White House comment. It's a good idea to let the White House prepare some answers.


What is the criteria for this, if any? It has already been announced that they've found water, that Mars soil is compatible with life.

There is no set criteria, I expect. It is a judgment call by a government worker or contractor over what sort of discovery might cause reporters to ask for White House comment.

Indeed, what could be more interesting than the result the first sample gave?


What else could they have found that would lead to this sort of notification way in advance of the public?

"Provocative" results about habitabilty, says the article, quoting unnamed sources. Most everyone else is pretty much wondering what that could be, how the second sample could be different from the first (which already had much to say about the potential for habitability), and how that difference could be interpreted as being provocative results about habitability. I have yet to hear conjecture that makes me think it was a good fit for what the story reported.


I'm damn curious. I don't want to get too excited, because it will probably be a letdown when the info is released.
So, is this story accurate?, and if it is, what common sense speculation is there as to what was discovered? :confused:

I'd expect nobody but the author and his sources, some White House science advisors, and some others of the Phoenix team know the accuracy of the story. I would remain skeptical. There is little solid evidence offered of anything about the MECA WCL second sample being provocative. Speculate away if you can think of an answer that matches the puzzle pieces. Or, wait and see.

Yes, don't get excited. No reason. Doesn't accomplish much. Way most often, these rumored sorts of things are blown way out of proportion to their actual impact. But, speculation is fun, too. Final results are most often less fun.

mike alexander
2008-Aug-03, 03:51 PM
Ha! I know! The heck with life...


THEY FOUND OIL!

ABR.
2008-Aug-03, 04:13 PM
Ha! I know! The heck with life...


THEY FOUND OIL!

Or a hatch...

dhd40
2008-Aug-03, 04:14 PM
What sort of discovery would require notifying the White House?

PLUTONIUM ???

dhd40
2008-Aug-03, 04:23 PM
As soon as all the disinformation agents are in place.

I told this my Avatarīs best friend :)

clint_dreamer
2008-Aug-03, 10:25 PM
Or a hatch...

Leading to where...or what? Can't wait for the answer.

01101001
2008-Aug-03, 11:15 PM
Leading to where...or what?

To the vestibule.

ABR.
2008-Aug-04, 01:16 AM
Leading to where...or what? Can't wait for the answer.

You'll have to ask Mama Cass!

Tuckerfan
2008-Aug-04, 04:17 AM
Ha! I know! The heck with life...


THEY FOUND OIL!

That would be better than finding life. Lots better. If there's life, then we're going to see people screaming to shutdown missions to Mars because the "sane" ones will be worried about us doing something to wipe the Martians out, while the "insane" ones will be worried that the Martians will do something to wipe us out.

JESMKS
2008-Aug-04, 03:21 PM
Hows this for a guess? "Phoenix landed on a polar ice cap that we now believe is floating on a large sea of liquid water. This finding will lead to a whole different approach in our future search for life on Mars"

mike alexander
2008-Aug-04, 03:52 PM
Or "Phoenix has found large collections of plastic bottles filled with a frozen yellow liquid, suggesting ice road truckers may have driven through the area in the recent past."

JustAFriend
2008-Aug-04, 06:47 PM
The only comment released so far: "Acck ack ack!"
http://www.thecinemalaser.com/dvd_reviews/images/mars-attacks-dvd-image-01.jpg

tdvance
2008-Aug-04, 07:54 PM
NASA claims that it isn't true:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,397326,00.html

orionjim
2008-Aug-04, 10:41 PM
NASA will hold a media teleconference on Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 2 p.m. EDT, to discuss these recent science activities.

You can listen to it here:
http://www.nasa.gov/news/media/newsaudio/index.html

Jim

Alexander
2008-Aug-05, 12:31 AM
This story is a rumour gone wild, shame on aviation week and fraser I would have waited before posting a story like this it lowers the tone a tad.

http://planetary.org/blog/article/00001586/

I see Emily has seen the light, There might be an intresting contradiction in the results but that is about it sadly, a good editorial on the matter is required or this just may end up on Phil's blog.

Fazor
2008-Aug-05, 06:40 PM
NASA will hold a media teleconference on Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 2 p.m. EDT, to discuss these recent science activities.

You can listen to it here:
http://www.nasa.gov/news/media/newsaudio/index.html

Jim

Thanks for the link. Anyone else listen to this? I didn't realize it was Real Audio and that RA wasn't installed on my work machine, so by the time I got it set up I had missed the actual press release, and came in exactly at the start of the Q&A.

So I'm kind of getting the basics of what was said, but I don't know for sure.

It sounds to me like the "Exciting discovery" should have been "an exciting discovery to us science nerds (and I don't mean that as a derogatory term), but a discovery that doesn't rule out the possiblity of life, but also doesn't make it any better".

Is that about right?

01101001
2008-Aug-05, 07:35 PM
Anyone else listen to this?

See article in topic Phoenix on Mars (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/74917-phoenix-mars-16.html#post1296079), and forward, for my very loose transcription.

orionjim
2008-Aug-05, 07:38 PM
[...]

It sounds to me like the "Exciting discovery" should have been "an exciting discovery to us science nerds (and I don't mean that as a derogatory term), but a discovery that doesn't rule out the possiblity of life, but also doesn't make it any better".

Is that about right?

Yep. The bottom line was that the perchlorate really doesn't change the odds of finding life on mars, but certainly will make things much more interesting.

You can hear a recorded replay of the briefing by phone (it's one hour) by calling 800-229-6331 (in US)

And it should be available here later today or tomorrow (Aug. 5th):
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/phoenix/audio.php

The first portion was basically damage control. I thought the best part was the Q & A.

There is a portion of the transcript here:
http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/08/liveblog-nasa-p.html


Jim


ETA - Ooops; 01101001 beat me to it...

Fazor
2008-Aug-05, 07:57 PM
The first portion was basically damage control. I thought the best part was the Q & A.


I did enjoy the Q&A quite a bit...which is suprising considering I don't know anything about what was being discussed. I mean, I had to wikipedia (that's a verb now like google) what a "perchlorate" was (and then follow the link to the definition of "oxidizing agent" then to "oxidizer" etc etc).

Still, very informative even from just the Q&A...and best of all, I know more now than I did before...though that wasn't a tough feat to accomplish. :)