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Guest: Barry DiGregorio; Topics: Mars life detection, needed Mars experiments, rover findings, planetary protection, human contamination on Mars, Mars contamination on earth, microbiology and more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed back Barry DiGregorio for a two segment one hour fort minute discussion focusing on life detection efforts for Mars, Mars-Earth planetary protection programs and efforts, the Viking 1 & 2 experiments, and much more. During the first segment of the program, we mostly talked about the Viking 1&2 life detection experiments that Barry and Gil Levin have suggested found life though they are treated as officially inconclusive. Barry talked at length about the Viking experiments and results plus the more recent efforts to address life detection on Mars past or present though not conclusive. Barry talked about the recent NASA announcement from Thursday, June 7, 2018 and said that it did not contain much new information. Don't miss what he said about this news which has been getting major headlines suggesting possible microbial life on Mars.
Barry, as Dr. Gill Levin and he have done on previous programs, called our attention to the fact that there are no real life detection experiments for Mars. He listed many reasons why there should be and suggested future missions might come closer to having on board actual life detection experiments. We then switched to the planetary protection issues, both for humans going to Mars and bringing Mars samples back to Earth. Barry had much to say about interplanetary contamination so don't miss his comments. Barry also referenced microbiologists and answered questions from those that disagreed with him about a possible biological risk to Earth by bringing back a Mars sample. Don't miss this first segment discussion. Let us know what you think by posting your comments on the blog.
In the second segment, Sara from Kansas City asked Barry about SpaceX having launched the Tesla on the FH launch. Barry called it a stunt and a potential risk regardless of the risk of Mars or Venus contamination being off in the very distant future. However, before I read Sara's email, Barry told us about the Mars Science Laboratory Participants Science Program from 2015 in which he, Gil Levin and others submitted a proposal that was to be paid for by the UK Space Agency. NASA rejected their experimental project which Barry described in detail. He spent several minutes describing their proposed experiment and the NASA rejection which he thought was an indication of NASA not wanting to open the door for life detection experimentation on Mars. Listen to Barry's story and tell us what you think by posting your comments on our blog. Barry will post the abstract for his project on TSS blog once it has been cleared for publication.
Barry brought up his on-going analysis of MSL MAHLI images from Sols 1922 & 1923 taken with MSL’s microscopic imager. His hypothesis about these tube-shaped and other features are that they are the ancient trackways and burrows (trace fossils) left behind by soft bodied worm-like organisms that once existed in near shore lake sediments that existed in Gale Crater perhaps 500 million to a billion years ago. Barry has put together his theory in an abstract for an up-coming Geosciences meeting in October. When he initially announced his theory on TV news station WKBW and Space.com his theory went viral all over the world and was covered by Newsweek, National Geographic and WIRED magazine among many others. On Barry's behalf I will post some relevant links to what Barry was talking about and referencing so check the blog for his suggested URLs.
Next, Barry took some email listener questions asking him about a possible "fix" re the life detection subject. Barry commented on this and seemed to think that there was a fix or something strange regarding microbial life searches for Mars. As we neared the end of our program, we talked about humans to Mars, the use of LOP-G (Barry still referred to it as the Deep Space Gateway) which he supported. He seemed surprised when I told him a significant part of TSS audience, myself included, were not fans or supporters of LOP-G. Our last email question was from Lana in Santa Fe wanting to know if returning astronauts would be considered a giant Mars sample return and would they be quarantined on a space station, the Moon or in some other way. Barry thought that was a unique viewpoint but I believe he concurred with it.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can reach Barry through TSS if you want to contact him.