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NASA May Have Killed The Martians

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the that's-a-big-oopsie dept.

NASA 238

Sneakernets writes "CNN reports that NASA may have found life on Mars via the Viking space probes in 1976-77, but failed to recognize it and killed it by accident. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a geology professor at Washington State University, says that Mars microbes that the space probes had found were possibly drowned and baked by accident. Other experts said the new concept is plausible, but more work is needed before they are convinced. From the article: 'A new NASA Mars mission called Phoenix is set for launch this summer, and one of the scientists involved said he is eager to test the new theory about life on Mars. However, scientists must come up with a way to do that using the mission's existing scientific instruments, said NASA astrobiologist and Phoenix co-investigator Chris McKay.'"

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That would explain... (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503718)

That would explain why we haven't heard from K'breel or the Council of the Elders for a while :(

Re:That would explain... (3, Funny)

7macaw (933316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503798)

May be he's off inspecting the disgusting blue planet, preparing a surprise for the nasty water-breeds.

Other life forms missed... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17503770)

By this reasoning, they also missed out on life forms made from blown glass and beeswax because they weren't looking for them. They also were not calibrated properly to detect pixies.

Dilbert had a similar problem... (4, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503780)

(To intelligent life under his microscope)

We come in peace!

*Adjusts lens to get a better view*

*Squish*

Re:Dilbert had a similar problem... (0, Troll)

JoGlo (1000705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504384)

We came, We saw, We wopped their collective asses!

Marvin will get angry (5, Funny)

Tim99 (984437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503782)

This story is a total crock. Everyone knows that when you add water, you get more Martians...

http://looneytunes.warnerbros.com/stars_of_the_sho w/marvin_the_martian/marvin_story.html [warnerbros.com]

Re:Marvin will get angry (5, Funny)

Axe (11122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504162)

..not Martians - Sea-men

Kyle: Wow! That's a lot of seamen, Cartman.
Cartman: Yeah, I bought all that I could at this bank, and then I got the rest from this guy Ralph in an alley.
Stan: That's cool.
Cartman: Yeah, and the sweet thing is, the stupid asshole didn't even charge me money for it. He just made me close my eyes and suck on a hose.

Obligatory (-1)

jrobinson5 (974354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503792)

I, for one, welcome our new Martian overlords.

Re:Obligatory (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504006)

I, for one, welcome our new Earthling overlords.

      -- A. Martian

Can't you read? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504074)

They're *dead*. :-)

Re:Can't you read? (4, Funny)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504480)

They're not dead, they're just pining for the fjords.

Oh no... (0)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503806)

They better hope there's no more life on Mars, or NASA will have some 'splaining to do!

Re:Oh no... (1)

thedarknite (1031380) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503840)

It's fine, they'll keep "landing" probes on Mars. That will take care of any pesky Martians.

"We're here to bring democracy to...oops." (5, Funny)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503848)

Well, at least we can learn from this sad lesson in our future missions to other sandy, desolate places. Right?

Right?


Lenny at NASA: "I used to have a little friend, but he don't move no more."

Re:"We're here to bring democracy to...oops." (4, Funny)

markana (152984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504100)

Right - we've found an effective method of killing off the natives before we colonize the place.... :-)

Re:"We're here to bring democracy to...oops." (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504602)

Well, at least we can learn from this sad lesson in our future missions to other sandy, desolate places.

Umm, on the positive side, at least this time NASA didn't put up a huge "Mission Accomplished" sign.

old video (5, Interesting)

Hennell (1005107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503858)

This is rather similar to what I thought when I was watching a video at school once. The video claimed their was no life on Mars (Or any other planet for that matter) because they lacked the key conditions life needs. The lack of water, or stable temperature or decent atmosphere etc were all touted as being proof that life couldn't exist on these planets.

My immediate thought was Why are we deciding all life is the same here? There are different species on the earth who need different amounts of things, Just because we all need water and a regular-ish temperature doesn't make potential alien life follow that rule. This scientist seems to be agreeing with me. Which is more then my teacher did at the time.

Re:old video (3, Interesting)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503902)

star trek had an episode similar to this, altho they didn't kill the life form. someone else will have to help with the details, but i do remember that the crew scanned the planet and found no life, which later they had to revise as "no carbon based life found". this issue has bothered me as well, when i hear that planets/environments are hostile to life. of course they might be hostile to our kind of life, but who knows what the hell is out there?

Re:old video (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504050)

Was that the rock monster episode? Million year old things eating through rocks and that the newly arrived miners were being killed by?

Re:old video (4, Funny)

scottv67 (731709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504486)

Was that the rock monster episode?

Rock monster? Rock monster??? Jeeeeesus!!! Every geek knows that the creatures were called "Hortas".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horta_(Star_Trek) [wikipedia.org]

This is the Star Trek episode where we got to hear McCoy complain to Capt Kirk, "Damn-it Jim, I'm a doctor not a bricklayer!" as he was patching the wounds on the Horta.
That quote is mentioned on the bottom of the Wikipedia page.

Rock monster? Please turn in your geek card at the door. ;^)
Just for grins, what is your name for the furry creatures in "The Trouble with Tribbles?" :^)

It's life Jim but not as we know it (2, Interesting)

Attaturk (695988) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504126)

star trek had an episode similar to this, altho they didn't kill the life form. someone else will have to help with the details...
I believe that's the "Devil in the Dark" episode. Miners accidentally destroy some alien eggs thinking they're just rocks. Silicon-based mummy alien gets mad and starts harrassing the mining operation until Spock works out that they're dealing with sentient life and the apologies start flowing.

Re:It's life Jim but not as we know it (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504158)

the one i'm thinking of was from TNG...the thing was superintelligent, and as a result, superbored. it sort of swallowed up riker, iirc, and wanted the rest of the crew to entertain it...

Re:It's life Jim but not as we know it (1)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504234)

Skin of evil is the episode you are after i recon, Its the one it kills tasha yar in.

Re:It's life Jim but not as we know it (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504394)

the one i'm thinking of was from TNG...the thing was superintelligent, and as a result, superbored. it sort of swallowed up riker, iirc, and wanted the rest of the crew to entertain it...
Skin of Evil? That's the one where Yar died by the creature who was composed of everything bad discarded from a particular race. I think the TNG episode closest to this is the terraforming project where they had the crystalline life forms (they called humans "bags of mostly water") which existed in the water layer just below the surface.
 

Re:It's life Jim but not as we know it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504262)

didn't that one have a fantastic scene with spock mind melding with the rock. great memories.

Re:It's life Jim but not as we know it (1)

colfer (619105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504348)

He feels the mama rock's pain via a particularly difficult Vulcan mind meld with her. "Ahhhhhh painnnnn arghhhhhhhhh," I recall him saying. That's how I remember it.

It's life Jim (5, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504538)

We have found many new and oddball extremophiles over the last few decades living right here on Earth in places that were once considered impossibly "hostile to life". This has resulted in a tree of life [wikipedia.org] with many more branches than the animal, plant and fungi ones I was taught at high school.

The three "essential ingredients" for life now seem to be carbon, water and energy but we haven't finished searching the planet yet, let alone our solar system and beyond.

To summerize: "It's life Jim, but not as we know it".

Re:old video (1, Insightful)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503976)

That always baffled me as well. Why would you look for life that is similar to life that evolved on a planet where 70% of the surface is covered in water on a planet that has little to no water, it just doesn't make any sense. You would think scientists would at least have a basic enough understanding of evolutionary biology to comprehend that life would be different on a planet with entirely different conditions.

Re:old video (1)

OfficeSubmarine (1031930) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504084)

From what I've seen they do, or at least a large number of them do. Most don't like to talk to reporters because of the level of speculation involved in this kind of issue. The same people who trout a new cure for cancer any time a drug kills something in a test tube aren't going to do a good job with that level of detailed speculation. Most especially in a climate that's not very friendly to scientific explanations of life's beginning.

Re:old video (4, Insightful)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504256)

There are fundamental chemistry issues (energy, stability, etc.) that limits the likely composition and needs of any kind of life. There is a Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] that does a decent job of describing why even the more plausible forms of non-carbon based life are unlikely. Yes, there are many possibilities for life, but the laws of physics still apply.

Carl Sagan wrote some great material on the topic as well. I particularly like his reasoning on why it makes sense that any alien life would have developed the ability to sense a similar portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that we can.

Re:old video (4, Informative)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504362)

There are two things here.

First, there is an 'energy' definition of life. That is to say, alien life may not be carbon-based, may not use water, may not be composed of cells, and may not have DNA inside of it. However, one of the defining characteristics of life is that it uses energy. It metabolizes, grows, and reproduces. It eats something, somehow. It makes a waste product.

So, if we look at a planet's chemical composition, we can make a good guess as to whether there is life there by looking at its chemistry. If there are living things there, they will be making reactive chemicals. From outer space, we could tell that the Earth has a lot of metabolic activity in it, because the sky is mostly highly reactive oxygen that is a result of plant respiration. Mars, on the other hand, is mostly chemically inert. There is very little metabolism going on there, if there is any at all. Either life there has already eaten up the planet, or else there wasn't enough resource to really get started, or there was never life at all.

Secondly, let's talk about a scenario where life can really only happen with water and organic ( meaning carbon-containing ) compounds. What conditions are necessary for life? What conditions does life thrive in? Take the Earth as an example. Where do we find the greatest mass and biodiversity? In the oceans. Ocean water is practically alive itself, there is so much life in it. On land, the places with the greatest biomass and biodiversity are the rainforests, where they have near 100% humidity. So water as a medium seem to really grow and reproduce. What temperature range do we find the most life in? About 70-90 degrees F -- I'm talking about the *most* life. So the metabolism of life forms seems to function optimally at 70-90 F.

The point I'm trying to make is that yes, we do find life in weird places on Earth -- inside solid rock, in 200 degree sulfuric vents on the ocean floor, inside nuclear reactor cores. However, there isn't very much of it in terms of biomass, and there's not much diversity of forms. My guess is that those 'extremophiles' are descendants of creatures who lived in more hospital environments and became adapted to increasingly extreme environments. I don't think that life originated in rocks or in ocean vents. I think life originated in an environment that is most like where we find the greatest biomass and biodiversity -- water in sunlight at about 60-120 F.

If we're not talking about the above scenarios, we are getting away from materialism, and thus science. This might include "Imagine beings of pure energy" (hey, atoms are 'pure energy') or "What if the sun is conscious?" ( well, we can't measure consciousness *yet* so we can't tell scientifically ) These are fun to think about, but scientifically they are kind of a non-starter.

I understand what you're saying about thinking outside the box, expecting the unexpected, and not limiting our minds or our past experiences. But science puts some serious restraints on what we can imagine or postulate *scientifically*.

Re:old video (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504582)

From outer space, we could tell that the Earth has a lot of metabolic activity in it, because the sky is mostly highly reactive oxygen that is a result of plant respiration. Mars, on the other hand, is mostly chemically inert.

But small amounts of methane have been detected around Mars, which is a possible result of respiration.

we do find life in weird places on Earth -- inside solid rock, in 200 degree sulfuric vents on the ocean floor, inside nuclear reactor cores. However, there isn't very much of it in terms of biomass, and there's not much diversity of forms.

I don't think that is the issue. We already expect any Mars life to be sparse, limited, and struggling. We are not gonna find leapards or Mars Fly Traps. The mere existence is enough to make scientists dance and sing.

I don't think that life originated in rocks or in ocean vents. I think life originated in an environment that is most like where we find the greatest biomass and biodiversity -- water in sunlight....My guess is that those 'extremophiles' are descendants of creatures who lived in more hospital environments

The rovers have already showed that Mars was probably once a lot wetter and probably warmer. Thus, it had a fairly good chance there, perhaps better than even Earth at that time because Earth was too molten due to its larger size. This is why some think that Earth's life may have started on Mars. Life can hop planets due to impacts and take advantage of the best place at a given time. 4 billion years ago Mars may have been nicer to life than Earth.
         

The Ant Effect (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503860)

NASA may have found life on Mars via the Viking space probes in 1976-77, but failed to recognize it and killed it by accident.

Small consolation for the millions of affected microbes.

Re:The Ant Effect (1)

jo7hs2 (884069) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503900)

"Small consolation for the millions of affected microbes.[..]

That you just killed typing that message. And that you will now kill after realizing how disgusting your keyboard is. /There, fixed that for you.

Re:The Ant Effect (2)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504156)

their decendents will start demanding reparations - it's the next obvious move. i will be the first to claim i'm 1/28th martain and because of my martian heritage i demand 10000000000 in cash as the only thing that will stop my suffering.

Re:The Ant Effect (1)

AaronHorrocks (686276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504458)

Try the new Viking...
Kills 99.99% of all microbes!

Re:The Ant Effect (2, Funny)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504570)

Small consolation for the millions of affected microbes.
Won't somebody think of the microbes?!

Another failure for that peanut farmer Carter (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17503880)

And Gerald Ford.
You kids think Bush is evil-he just kills Bad Muslims. Those incompetent losers we had back in the 1970s killed the MARTIANS!!!

Well (4, Funny)

jaymzru (1005177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503886)

I've seen "Mars Attacks!" Better them than us.

OMG The title is soooo misleading... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17503890)

This same article was on digg a while back, so I've read it already.

The title implies that NASA killed off all of the martians, while the article says that if Viking had found a few martian microbes in its sample, it would have killed those.

There's no need for the sensationalism.

Re:OMG The title is soooo misleading... (1)

Wizard Drongo (712526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503948)

There's no need for the sensationalism.
You must be new here........

No, I'm New Here (5, Funny)

New Here (701369) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504042)

No, I'm New Here

Re:OMG The title is soooo misleading... (2, Informative)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504246)

The title implies that NASA killed off all of the martians

Unless all of martian life was conviniently located in just that sample, and nowhere else.

Re:OMG The title is soooo misleading... (1)

ziggyzig (944029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504264)

I believe that the article suggests that the last time NASA tried to look for "life," they were using a Earth-centric view. The updated way suggests that due to conditions on Mars, instead of pure salt-water, the mixture would be water + hydrogen peroxide; implying that if life existed, when they went to measure for salt-water, they may have killed it due to not knowing what they were looking for.

Actually your wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504434)

The article says the rover thing wouldnt have 'killed' the sample. Its said the tools on the rover did not analyze the sample right.

Re:OMG The title is soooo misleading... (0, Redundant)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504440)

It's also misleading in that it says they may have "found" life...if they didn't spot it, or gather data that allows us to spot it now, it doesn't seem to me they found anything. The guy is just speculating that life might exist there, but no one has found it yet. That's a pretty big difference to me.

*sings along* (1, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503908)

Pop a Poppler in your mouth, when you come to Fishy Joe's. What they're made of is a mystery. Where they come from, no one knows. You can lick 'em. You can pick 'em. You can stuff 'em. You can stick 'em. If you promise not to sue us, you can shove one up your nose.

In related news... (0)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503910)

6 more people have shown interest in space exploration, and the NASA in particular.

Seriously... NASA's credibility and image is diminishing by the hour, despite 'breakthrough' announcements every other day.

Re:In related news... (1)

Angry Toad (314562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504428)

We're in a downswing in people's vision for the future right now. Give it a couple of decades (or centuries) and things will change again.

Bummer to be us, though.

Well, (5, Funny)

ampathee (682788) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503958)

I for one, welcome our new Martian- oops.. Nevermind.

Re:Well, (1)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504432)

I am a martian microbe, you insensitive clod. or rather, I was.....

Obligatory Star Wars Quote (4, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503972)

"I feel a great disturbanc in the Force, as if billions of microbes cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced"

--
BMO

Re:Obligatory Star Wars Quote (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504104)

> I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if billions of microbes cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

They're midichlorians, you insensitive clod! :]

Re:Obligatory Star Wars Quote (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504372)

Well, I'm sorry fer 'em all and shit, but my hands needed cleaning.

KFG

A deep question to ponder (1)

JayTech (935793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503978)

Here's a deep question for the intellectuals to ponder...

In your opinion, what exactly constitutes the definition of "life"?

Re:A deep question to ponder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504034)

According to star trek they could simply be crystaline structures composed of silicon lying next to saline water...and I wouldn't doubt if these martian microbes have declared war on us!

Re:A deep question to ponder (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504068)

Life, as we know it, generally consists of molecules that are capable of building other molecules like them which are after their transfer not of an energetic inferior level as before.

Life = Resists Entropy (1)

R_Ramjet (994878) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504148)

According to my Biology prof many years ago, life is anything that resists entropy....

Re:A deep question to ponder (1)

Hennell (1005107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504168)

I think you're asking the wrong crowd; Slashdoters don't have lifes...

Re:A deep question to ponder (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504478)

... and others who think that Slashdot is life...

Re:A deep question to ponder (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504524)

I'd say it's anything that offers true resistance to the Borg.

Those Vikings sure killed a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17503990)

Famed for their navigational abilities [wikipedia.org] ...

No kidding. They sacked Mars! Another planet entirely!

Space, The Next Frontier (-1, Flamebait)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504024)

I am sure that as the next Frontier, as Americans we will settle for our tried and true methods of dealing with previous Frontiers.

We shall load up as many psychotic men with guns as possible who shall kill, plunder and rape away all the natural resources in the area and ensure the expansion of our great country.

Obviously NASA is establishing this pattern for Mars. I am sure our next mission should be more successful for the USA and deadly for the natives. The only question we need to ask, is how many gold bars will they be bringing back...

God Bless America!

Obligatory.... (3, Funny)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504026)

"He's dead, Jim..."

Re:Obligatory.... (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504304)

It's life Jim, but not as we know it.

Greens Vs Reds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504030)

There will be a time when martian colonists divide into subfactions including the reds (opposed to terraforming) and the greens (advocates of terraforming)... until in 2061 the martian revolution will take place including the destruction of the UNTA Space Elevator, during said revolution many colonies tents are popped from space by UNTA forcing the remainder of the first 100 colonists to flee underground where tensions between the reds and greens are forgotten until the next revolution.

Earth (4, Funny)

reset_button (903303) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504036)

Mostly harmless

Damned prime directive (1)

OO7david (159677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504040)

Seems that no one can follow the stupid thing.

It's a shame... (1, Funny)

cirby (2599) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504070)

...they don't have a microphone on the lander.

That way, all they have to do is run the same tests, and listen for millions of tiny little screams.

Martian South Park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504146)

How do you say "You killed Kenny! You Bastard!" in Martian?

Re:Martian South Park (1)

niteice (793961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504196)

You marklar marklar! Marklars!

Re:Martian South Park (1)

Divebus (860563) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504378)

"Ack Ack Ack! Ack Ack!"

Moo (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504194)

Killed a Martian? Do we still have the leftovers? Maybe it's her!

If she's found, rush like mad,
Put her on a launching pad,
Down at Cape Canaveral,
And shoot my cutie,
My supersonic beauty,
Send me back my Martian gal.

Re:Moo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504386)

Allan Sherman! Probably before most slashdotter's time. I wonder how many knew without googling it.

Re:Moo (1)

mh101 (620659) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504532)

Heh. Haven't heard that song in a while. My uncle has the record with this song, but it wasn't on the Allan Sherman "Best Of" CD I bought a few years back.

yeah right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504206)

If they are dead, where are the bodies?

Point is we might have missed detecting life (5, Interesting)

davros-too (987732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504220)

From TFA: "Given the cold dry conditions of Mars, life could have evolved on Mars with the key internal fluid consisting of a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide, said Schulze-Makuch."

The important point is that a new possibility for the nature of life on Mars has been suggested. If there is any life in this form it would not have been detected by previous experiements. This is interesting because it keeps open the possibility of what would be the greatest discovery ever - life on another planet. The minor point that the testing process could have killed the specific bacteria it sampled is - apart from the obligatory jokes - totally irellevant.

Real Lab (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504526)

It is very difficult to devise experiments for distant probes because they cannot adapt experiments to previous findings from themselves very well. The only real way to know if there is life is to take samples back to a well-equiped manned lab with top microscopes. The problem is the risk of contaminating the whole planet. It is small, but well worth preventing. This leaves an in-orbit or moon lab. That way if the astronaut scientists find bad stuff, they are quarenteened in space. This is the *real* use for a moonbase in my opinion.

This is basically a retread... (5, Informative)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504226)

... of old objections with a slight new twist about peroxides.

Back in the 70's the results of the "chicken soup" (gas exchange) experiment on board the Vikings were frustratingly inconclusive - the resulting single release of gas when combining martian soil with a mixture of likely nutrients could have been produced by several mechanisms: (1) a simple chemical reaction between the soil sample and the "soup", or (2) the death rattles of an organism poisoned by the "soup" or (3) the initial metabolic release of (an) organism(s) that ate itself to death like a goldfish on the nutrient "soup".

Well, that explains it (4, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504250)

"..failed to recognize it and killed it by accident"

I seem to recall Cheney using a similar excuse when he shotgunned a hunting partner in his ass...

Re:Well, that explains it (2, Funny)

haapi (16700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504448)

Unless his partner was suffering from rectal-cranial inversion, the blast was to his face.

Re:Well, that explains it (2, Funny)

thedarknite (1031380) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504476)

I could have sworn Cheney shot an 87 year old man in the face.

Dig 'em up, thaw 'em out, and dance.. (1)

cybervigilante (1048282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504266)

OF course this means that intelligent martians might have been frozen there for millions of years, yet easily revived since they don't form ice crystals in their cells. We just have to go there, dig one out of the ice and thaw him out (or her, to be non-sexist, or hir, if they have three sexes, or...)

Re:Dig 'em up, thaw 'em out, and dance.. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504374)

thaw him out (or her, to be non-sexist

I see this a lot in things written in the USA - why not just use "they" instead as is used in English when the sex is indeterminate?

OMG! (1)

Capeman (589717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504284)

Oh my God they killed the Aliens! - You NASA Bastards!

We were waaay off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504306)

...and to think... for decades people were worried about martians invading when in reality the martians should have been worried about *US* invading them!

----
Link of the day
Heroes Wiki [heroeswiki.com]

nasa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504332)

it looks like nasa beat bush to the chase, we'll we still have aliens to forward too.

That's what you get... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504336)

That's what you get for sending a robot to do a man's job. Let's quit futzing around with probes, and put a properly equipped science team on the planet.

Oblig. SouthPark (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504354)

Oh my god, they killed Kenny. You bastards!

Dead Martians (3, Funny)

the_mind_ (157933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504412)

What did they expect when they named it "Viking"?

All of them? (1)

AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504436)

That's of course to say that all possible life either evolved at this location, or spontaneously migrated to the landing and operation site of the Vikings and died? There's no other microbial life left on the planet except the chance area where humans landed? I find that hard to be even speculatively or hypothetically true...

It's a win/win situation for Schulze-Makuch (4, Insightful)

MavEtJu (241979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504438)

From the article:

Good reporting:

The Viking space probes of 1976-77 were looking for the wrong kind of life, so they didn't recognize it, a geology professor at Washington State University said.

Sensationatilism:

Two NASA space probes that visited Mars 30 years ago may have found alien microbes on the Red Planet and inadvertently killed them, a scientist is theorizing.

To show how full of crap it is:

Schulze-Makuch acknowledges he can't prove that Martian microbes exist, but given the Martian environment and how evolution works, "it makes sense."

So if there are microbes left, NASA was lucky, and if there are none, NASA has killed them all.
And if there are microbes, Schulze-Makuch is happy because NASA didn't kill them all and his name is in history again, while if there are none, it would be exactly how Schulze-Makuch had predicted it!

Re:It's a win/win situation for Schulze-Makuch (2, Insightful)

Sneakernets (1026296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504576)

Sorry.

Comedian pointed this out in the 1970's (4, Interesting)

starfire-1 (159960) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504450)

In the 1970's, comedian Don Novello (of Father Guido Sarducci fame) wrote a book called the "Lazlo Lettets" where he would write tongue in cheek letters to a wide variety of people and places like the President, Hotels, and of course NASA. His alter ego Lazlo Toth observered that if NASA were to scoop up martian soil and burn it to find life, that NASA would have more appropriately found life, but killed it so they wouldn't be able to actually prove that life still existed. I don't recall the content what NASA's response letter.

I love it when comedians get these things right ahead of time.

P.S. Another example at the Onion. http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33930 [theonion.com] saw the new Fusion with six blades coming way back in Feb 2004!

Re:Comedian pointed this out in the 1970's (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504498)


I love it when comedians get these things right ahead of time.

P.S. Another example at the Onion. http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33930 [theonion.com] saw the new Fusion with six blades coming way back in Feb 2004!

And Saturday Night Live "commercial" back in '76 or so: "The new Triple Trak: Because you'll believe anything!"

Yargs!! (1)

haapi (16700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504484)

The Viking landed, unfortunately, on top of the Yarg king! And, to no surprise, they are really P.O'd about it.
Fear not! Commander Keen has already sorted it all out.

this won't end well (1)

mccoma (64578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17504496)

a lot of sci-fi films start this way.... then bad thing happen

Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17504528)

That'll teach them for trying to kidnap Santa Claus.
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