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Armageddon Assteroids Best Kept Secret


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"A scientific adviser to the United States government has suggested that secrecy might be the best option if scientists were ever to discover that a giant asteroid was on course to collide with Earth.


"If an extinction-type impact is inevitable, then ignorance for the populace is bliss. As a matter of common sense, if you can't intercept it and you can't move people out of the way in time, there's nothing you can do in terms of reducing the costs of the potential impact," [Dr. Geoffrey Sommer of Rand Corporation] said.


Don't Worry Be Happy


Don't you just know that the Federal Reserve, Treasury and Wall Street would keep zipped lips if a financial 'extinction event' were foreseen? Why stir up the sheeple if they're doomed anyway?


By the way, Rand Corporation wrote the report in 1999 which introduced the NWO term "Homeland Security." They are pretty good at generating self-fulfilling prophecies.

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The way this planet operates you could easily have a comet come hurtling in from the ort cloud totally unrecognized until days before impact. And then there's the question of inter-asteroidal impacts altering the trajectories. And why can't anybody find the 2 moons of Mars anymore?


I've wondered if there weren't some event already known coming at us that "they" can't do anything about and thusly decide to let us party like there's no tommorrow, but things got out of hand prematurely.

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Something else that has bugged me is that Mars is always portrayed as a lifeless planet with virtually no atmosphere. Okay but why do we have such huge dust storms? Aren't the presence of the dust storms indicative of a fairly robust and active atmosphere? Did you know that the sky as viewed from the surface of Mars is blue, but is never portrayed that way? Why is that?


Goldi beat me to it Hoodwinked. I find the attempt to blend religious and prophetic inferences with what should be a purely scientific discussion a little disturbing in that it weakens the over-all argument. The science considered alone is enough for me without the speculation of matters better left to a supreme being.

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Mars: The Living Planet

Barry E. DiGregorio, with additional contributions by Gilbert V. Levin and Patricia Ann Straat.

North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, 365 pages, 1997, $25.


Book Review

by Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe


The title Mars: the Living Planet does scant justice to the true content and import of this excellent book. Herein is a commentary on the state of 20th century science providing the clearest evidence that the pursuit of truth with its goal of discovering the true nature of things has been relegated to a position of secondary importance. High-tech state-funded science in the late 20th century has become part of a political process in which preservation of an established position in any particular field became a matter of paramount importance. Politically correct science was to become more relevant than correct science, to the detriment of a process of scientific and philosophical inquiry that stretches back to the time of classical Greece.


The author enlists the assistance of two pioneers of Mars exploration, Gilbert Levin and Patricia Straat, to unravel a shocking case history of institutional deception and mendacity in one of the most exciting areas of modern Science. This concerns the search for life outside the Earth, a line of research to which NASA was ostensibly committed from its very inception. In the first three chapters the author takes the reader on a guided historical tour of an intellectual adventure starting from the ideas of the ancient Babylonians right up to the dawn of 21st century Astrobiology.


The centre piece of the book is the story of the 1976 Viking probes of Mars. In the now-famous labeled gas release experiment Levin and Straat showed that a bacterial nutrient with a radioisotope label was taken up by the Martian soil with a dramatic release of CO2 in a manner that was fully consistent with a positive signal for microorganisms. However, the lack of an adequate signal for high molecular weight carbon compounds found in another experiment aboard Viking (GCMS) led quickly to the belief that the former LR experiment did not imply extant biology. The argument was that if life was present, as the labeled release experiment had indicated, evidence of their metabolic products was missing. So a variety of alternative non-biological hypotheses came to be developed and these have been maintained and defended to the present day. This, despite the fact that Viking prototype experiments subsequently carried out on Antarctic samples led to results that were amazingly identical to those found on Mars - and of course microbial life does exist in abundance in the dry valleys of the Antarctic. Although all the non-biological interpretations of the 1976 Viking results have been shown to be flawed, the institutional view has remained that these results disproved the proposition of life on Mars. The author of the present book has taken great pains to demonstrate that this position is totally without foundation.


It would seem remarkable that despite NASA?s avowed commitment to search for life in the Universe, whenever evidence of extraterrestrial life turned up there has always been a tendency to turn away from the facts. This has remained the case both before and after Viking. In the 1960?s evidence presented for microbial fossils in carbonaceous meteorites were immediately rejected without adequate critical appraisal. This was also true for the 1996 discovery of organic molecules and structural "fossils" in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. This latest episode of institutional rigidity is covered in the last chapter (Chapter 8) of DiGregorio?s book. Despite the vigorous denials of a biological interpretation in some quarters, the latest scientific evidence points to at least a fraction of the organics and morphological structures in ALH84001 being of external biogenic origin. This would of course be consistent with the findings of extant life in the Viking experiments of 1976. Although denials are bound to continue, it is to be hoped that future space missions to Mars that are planned for the coming decade would resolve these issues once and for all.


Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe

Professor of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy at Cardiff University in Wales



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