04 August 2008

What Does the White House Know about Life on Mars?

Ooooh, there's an intriguing report from Scientific American, re findings from the Mars lander, Phoenix.
Is NASA telling the White House something about life on Mars that it hasn't told anyone else?

That's what Aviation Week reported on Friday. Citing unnamed sources, the site said that NASA had briefed the White House Science Adviser on new findings about the habitability of Mars based on data from the space agency's Phoenix Mars Lander. The rumor was picked up by LiveScience.com, which connected it to results that are supposedly under review for publication at the journal Science.

NASA announced last week that Phoenix had once and for all confirmed the presence of water on Mars. The rumored findings relate to the vehicle's MECA wet chemistry experiment, for adding liquid water to soil samples to identify trace chemicals.

That experiment is not designed to detect life. Instead it can identify trace minerals and salts that might support life.

Kristin Scuderi, a spokesperson for the Science Adviser at the Office and Science and Technology Policy, told SciAm.com that no White House briefing took place, but that something "may be forthcoming" from NASA soon.

"I believe they may have some plans to brief us" on something, she said, adding that she contacted the space agency after the Aviation Week story was published.

Now if life, no matter how infinitesimal, should be found outside Earth, that would put a dint into the belief systems promulgated by certain religionists, wouldn't it? Including Rapturists, of which Dubya is one.

Which makes it no surprise that the White House would be consulted first, before the publication of anything suggesting life on Mars.

Not that I'm sayin' there IS life on Mars, but the article is intriguing, wouldn't you say? Particularly given the White House consultation?

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