WHAT ARE THOSE GREEN SPHERES ON MARS - CONTAMINATION?
We have solid evidence that points to life on Mars now, but NASA demands proof. The critical proof needed is a detailed chemical analysis of what looks like life growing on and near Curiosity and Opportunity. This must happen before anyone walks there. Updated on 7/12/2019 with the last section about the Journal of Astrobiology.
On February 17, 2019 I flew to California to meet with a few associates about what's happening on Mars. Although I spent a night at the NASA Lodge at Ames, it was mostly to make myself available in case someone there wanted to speak to me. I half-expected to be greeted by an Intelligence Agent from Fort Huachuca (who I'm pleased to see was the first party to read this article as it went up). However, nobody met with me then - not even Pubic Relations or April Gage at the History Office which is where my Mars research began a decade ago. I didn't exactly get the best room at the Lodge. It was cheap ($75), but you get what you pay for - in this case not enough heat plus see-through curtains. However, on the day that I arrived I did receive an e-mail from the Journal of Astrobiology (whose editors are largely at Ames) which contained new findings about life on Mars. If that wasn't shocking enough, the Journal wanted my son and research partner. Dr. David Alexander Roffman (Ph.D., physics) to (a) vote for or against publication and (b) write a 2,000 letter commentary on the article entitled Evidence of Life on Mars?. Using our joint Mars Correct Basic Report, the commentary was indeed published by the Journal under the title of Meteorological Implications: Evidence of Life on Mars? What follows below is largely what I knew before hearing from the Journal (with a few critical updates). The people who wrote the main Journal article had seen our material before they published their article. That's why the Journal contacted us.
Figure 1 above and its spreadsheet.
Figure 2 above - Greenish spheres seen by MSL Curoisity.
On Figure 1 the axis term is MARS LIFE at skip 85,256. Sharing a letter yud with it is an ELS of CONTAMINATION. In the open text is FROM EARTH. SPHERE is at the absolute skip of MARS LIFE. There is an ELS of ATOMIC plus RUSSIAN at skip -1. The e-mail I received didn't discuss anything about Russians, but it's possible that when Russia tested a 50+ megaton H bomb it blasted some spores from high in our atmosphere out (with the assist of solar wind) toward Mars. Why include the Code in this discussion? Both U.S. and Brittish Intelligence agencies study my research about Mars and about the Code. It's evident to me that there is a link. The Author of the Code apparently wants us to know not just about our own fate, but that of Mars too.
The Journal articles I linked to above were originally embargoed until May, 2019 so this article was put up to serve as a place to preserve relevant commentary while also making my thoughts known to my greatest readers at Fort Huachuca, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (UK MOD) and elsewhere in the Intelligence Community where they do take the Code seriously. If there are people reading this who are unfamiliar with the Code, please see the last section here. I noticed that the UK MOD monitored this article for 668,223 seconds (about 8.6 days) but first spent 1,854,181 seconds (about 21.46 days) at my article on the Roffman Skip Formula and Skip Tables which are required to understand the statistical significance of most matrices. I would not advise anyone to get too excited about the Code until they master the statistics behind it.
What types of primitive life have we found or will we likely find on Mars? A quick answer, if the life there is from Earth, will include lichens (likely seen by Viking 1 and possibly by Viking 2), algae, bacteria, and fungi (that may have been filmed by Viking 1, MER Opportunity and MSL Curiosity). Note that although the pictures taken have been spectacular, we still need a DNA or chemical analysis. NASA has a policy of not confirming life in space, and they are adamant that evidence (which they are slow to present) is not proof. The fungi includes puffballs. NASA argues for hematitite but we refute that with David's article.
The information I (accidentally?) received on February 19 2019 was probably meant for my son to review rather than for me because, as I told the sender (Diana Anderson), my son has a doctorate in physics and a BS in space physics whereas my (ancient) degree is only in psychology. At first I was told that I could still review it too, but then she changed her mind. She claimed it was because the Joseph et. al group (mostly Italian) wanted to exploit Davi'ds Ph.D. even though they had mostly heard me speak about our findings in a 3+ hour TV interview that was simultaneously translated into Italian on September 3, 2017. It was during that interview (at slide 36 about 2 hours 30 minutes into the interview) that I fiirst declared that there is evidence of life on Mars.
In scanning through it, the article by Rhawn Gabriel Joseph et al. (2019) emphasizes the idea that primitive life on Mars was most likely transmitted from Earth rather arising there via a parallel evolution up there. If so, then depending upon when the life first reached Mars, bringing it back to Earth for further study is likely less dangerous than bringing back something that evolved there, but there are no guarantees. Even the slightest mutation can change a safe virus into a monster. As you can see by looking over the photos in this article that I published before getting a hint for what might be coming, a lot of what we're finding up there looks like puffballs. These puffballs (shown as Figure 8 in the Joseph et al. (2019) article entitled Evidence of Life on Mars? exhibited both apparent growth and reproduction when studied over a three sol (day) period.
NASA attempted to suggest that what looks like growth and reproduction is really due to wind removing sand and exposing hematite. As is pointed out in David's paper and in Sections 7 to 7.2.1. of our joint report, at the low air pressures asserted by NASA (6.1 mbar at areoid) there has never been enough wind on the surface to move the sand. See Figures 1a and 1b in David's paper. During Viking 1 the maximum wind was 93.24 km/hr (see Table 1 of David's paper). For Viking 2 winds reached 83.52 km/hr, but over 8,331 Viking measurements (the only believable wind measurements we had until at least the Insight Mission in 2018) the wind never reached the 128.7 km/hr that Nathan Bridges said were required to move sand. See Bridges, N. T., F. Ayoub, J-P. Avouac, S. Leprince, A. Lucas, and S. Mattson. "Earth-like Sand Fluxes on Mars." Nature 485.7398 (2012): 339-42. Web.
STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF FIGURE 1. The most probable life forms that I show in this article or have seen elsewhere are spheres that resemble puffballs (discussed below). And, it turns out, the most significant a priori term on Figure 1 is SPHERE which was found at a special case skip (+/- 1 or the absolute skip of the axis term) against odds of about 130 to 1. Second in importance was RUSSIAN at skip -1. It was at a special case skip against odds of about 36 to 1. I am not only concerned about the possibility that the Russian Tsar Bomba nuclear test might have launched spores to Mars, but the fact that the first spacecraft reaching Mars was the Soviet Mars 3 on December 2, 1971. The lander achieved a soft landing at and began operations. However, after 20 seconds the instruments stopped working for unknown reasons, perhaps as a result of the massive surface dust storms raging at the time of landing. Those dust storms 48 years ago could have easily spread contamination around the planet. ATOMIC was found against odds of about 18 to 1, CONTAMINATION against odds of 12 to 1 and FROM EARTH is there against odds of about 5.6 to 1. The combined odds against these terms being on the matrix are about 5,941,849 to 1 but this figure is divided by 7 because the axis term is at ELS rank 7. Thus the final odds against Figure 1 are judged to be about 848,835 to 1. Now, what are the puffballs pointed to by the pictures in this article and the matrices on Figures 1 and 2?
Wikipedia indicates that puffballs are fungi, so named because clouds of brown dust-like spores are emitted when the mature fruitbody bursts or is impacted. True puffballs don't have a visible stalk or stem.
The distinguishing feature of all puffballs is that they do not have an open cap with spore-bearing gills. Instead, spores are produced internally, in a spheroidal fruitbody called a gasterothecium (gasteroid ('stomach-like') basidiocarp). As the spores mature, they form a mass called a gleba in the centre of the fruitbody that is often of a distinctive color and texture. The basidiocarp remains closed until after the spores have been released from the basidia. Eventually, it develops an aperture, or dries, becomes brittle, and splits, and the spores escape. The spores of puffballs are statismospores rather than ballistospores, meaning they are not forcibly extruded from the basidium.
Stalked puffballs do have a stalk that supports the gleba. None of the stalked puffballs are edible as they are tough and woody mushrooms. False puffballs are hard like rock or brittle. All false puffballs are inedible, as they are tough and bitter to taste. Stalked puffballs appear to have been seen on Mars by Opportunity at its Sol 37. See Figure 2 of Evidence of Life on Mars?
Early in January, 2016 I received an e-mail from David Kiepe. He's a regular reader of my MarsCorrect.com web site, and a man with considerable experience in the field of photographic analysis of images of Mars that have been sent back from our Mars landers and orbiters over the past 40 years. Without suggesting what the spherical objects seen below by Mars Science Laboratory on its Sols (Martian days) starting at 1,185 and 1,189 were, he merely asked that I look at the “anomalies” on the photos. The first thing noticed was an egg-shaped but hollow object that looked like a geode. A geode is a round rock with a hollow cavity lined with crystals. But I didn’t see any crystals. Then Kiepe directed my attention to two greenish, spherical objects on the Sol (Martian day) 1,185 photo, and another on an image (not as clear) for Sol 1,189. For Sol 1,185 the ball closest to the hollow rock looks like it is a perfect fit for its cavity. When I checked the Torah Code for the term MARS LIFE (in addition to what I found on Figure 1) I also found it on Figure 2 (at skip-72,129) encoded with SPHERE in a 108-letter box that measured 12 columns by 9 rows. If I allowed for another 3 columns then first letter ofMARS is the last letter of another word that means SPHERE, however it was the sphere that meant domain as in sphere of influence.
On November 22, 2017 Kiepe sent me photos of more spheres seen on Mars up through Sol 1,797. They are also shown on Figure 2.
WHY I SUSPECT LIFE HERE. If you look at enough photos of rocks on Mars there is always a possibility that something may look artificial. There were objects seen on the images sent by Mr. Kiepke that looked like faces, but I’ve seen similar rock objects in Arches National Park in Utah (actually, they looked like monkey faces). However, to find what looks like three perfect spheres, greenish in color suggesting photosynthesis, on two images or more, and the possible cocoon-like source of one of them is good reason to suspect that we have objects of potentially great significance. Three similar objects is suggestive of reproduction. Two so close together may suggest an approach of both for purposes of mating. But how would such life survive on Mars? For starters, it might well need a means of protection from the extreme cold at night. A rock-like cocoon might provide such protection – perhaps only while the life is growing. Maybe it breaks out of the cocoon or egg when it gets big enough, like a lot of animal life on Earth. Then, when the life is released, it uses its ball-like shape to roll around with the help of wind. Where it bumps into a natural rock (a barrier) it stops to absorb nutrients from the soil or possibly water from just below the surface. So what I think we are seeing here represents two phases of a life form – one where it grows inside a protective shell, and another where it rolls around, collects nutrients and or water from the soil while using the carbon dioxide in the Martian air (and sunshine) to produce food. There may, of course, be one or more phases, but there is no evidence for that yet.
WHAT DAVE KIEPE ORIGINALLY WROTE ABOUT ALL THE SPHERICAL OBJECTS SEEN:
I have scoured almost every Right MastCam image now from SOL 1185 thru today, and have found additional sphere objects, all of them present in similar fashion, slightly greenish Tint, and anywhere from 50% to 75% above the soil. Some are small, most appear about the same size.
Interestingly the object they decided to super-zoom in on SOL 1203 using Chem-Cam was only imaged 1 time by the Right Mast Cam (and that image also has a sphere in it), the area immediately (inches) below that area however was imaged again and again on at least 7 SOLs thru SOL 1211...so they intentionally superzoomed into an odd looking nodule extruding from the surface, and then took several more R MastCam images not of that area.
I have attached a few more interesting images showing more spheres, and possible a translucent spherical object...I have not observed these types of spheres prior to this area, however it may have been because I wasn't looking. I also tend not to try and "see" things in images; faces, figurines, mice etc. to me are tricks the mind plays.
STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF FIGURE 2. As per my standard protocol, no statistical significance is assigned to the axis term, here MARS LIFE at its third lowest skip in wrapped Torah. While there are two words shown that can be translated into SPHERE, only the one at the same skip as MARS LIFE means ball. After factoring in ELS Rank 2 of the axis term, the odds against finding SPHERE at a special case skip (+/- 1 or the absolute skip of the axis term) on a 108-letter matrix are 157 to 1. The match is significant and so, I believe, are the photos. If NASA announces that this is life, remember that (with David Kiepke's help), you read about it here first. However where suspected life is seen near a lander there is always a question as to whether it evolved on Mars or is due to contamination by the spacecraft or other interactions between Earth and Mars.
I know that many of my readers will be disappointed by the list above because they want to hear about a past or present Martian civilization. Yes, there are structures on Mars that look like what people might build, but our Government controls the quality and availability of the images too much for me to be certain. When I went to see if the upper left (sol 1797) image on Figure 2 was still up at JPL, I found that even it was missing. I've used that photo many times on my web sites and in our report. Given the title of our report, MARS CORRECT - CRITIQUE OF ALL NASA MARS WEATHER DATA, it's not too surprising that NASA (and my friends at Fort Huachuca) want to play games with me. You can find the latest version of the report here. But if Uncle Sam wants to get along with me, we need to sit down together and knock out a memorandum of understanding. I'm sure they see me as somewhat of a cantankerous old guy but I'm really not too bad unless someone tries to sell me (and everyone else in the scientific community) a load of bull. When they do, they get a reaction from me like that I gave to NASA's winter weather data for MSL Sols (days) 2001 and 2002. Nobody pays me for my research, but when I often criticize Martian weather data and find that NASA changes it to fit the curve from previous data rather than comment on what they are doing and why they are doing it, I assume that there is reason to suspect a cover-up. On my sites I document such incidents with before and after printscreens of suspicious data alterations.
Figure 3 – The putative ooids found in the same area as the spheres shown on Figure 2 might be simply smaller versions of the same phenonena. The right side of Figure 3 shows more spheres found on Sol 2357.
FIGURE 3 - OOIDS NEAR THE GREEN SPHERES.
Just after the second winter solstice (Ls 90) at MSL on Mars, ground temperatures climbed to above freezing. No such temperatures were recorded anywhere near that time in MSL's Year 1. What was even weirder was that while ground temperature highs were record highs for that time of year, nighttime lows were record lows. We looked at whether the MSL was on a slope that might impact angle of incidence of solar rays and therefore temperature, much as was apparent with respect to times that Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) occurred in association with supposed running water on Mars. However, on the evening of 9 February 2016 we found an MSL position image at https://www.reddit.com/r/curiosityrover/comments/44zwr7/updated_curiosity_traverse_map_sol_1248_not_for/ which showed elevations and positions for many sols between Sol 1173 (Ls 72 which is late autumn at MSL) and Sol 1248 (Ls 106). We captured it by print screen and adapted it by addition of maximum and minimum ground temperatures. See Figure 7 below. Note that all temperatures above freezing occurred when MSL moved little for about 3 weeks in an area where there was a two meter change in elevation over a 10 meter distance. This is a 20% grade (an 11.3° slope).
As of May 14, 2016 it appeared that the high air or ground temperature was above 0° C at Gale Crater on at least 411 days of the 669 sols in a Martian year. This number is based on at least one above freezing sol in either the first or second MSL Year at the same Ls.
Surprisingly the number of sols with an above freezing temperature increased in early winter of the second MSL Year 2 on 16 sols between Ls 95 and 104 with above freezing ground temperatures of +1, +1, +2, +1, +1, +1, +1, +1, +1, +2, +2, +2, +3, +1, +2 and +1 °C found, where in the first MSL Year the ground temperatures on those days were -7, -6, -3, -6, -5, -9, -11, -8, -8, -13, -7, -7, -8, -8, -10 and -9° C. There were also five sols (1222, 1223, 1230, 1237 and 1244) at Ls 94, 98, 101 and 104 where the ground temperature in the second MSL Year was 0° C while in the first MSL Year 1 it was only -10, -7 -5, -9 and -10° C. A quick summary for this 24-sol period each year is given on Table 1. In the third MSL Year there were also no occurrences during these solar longitudes that were above freezing (but there were two sols at 0° C - see Column I).
WHY THE EARLY WINTER GROUND TEMPERATURES ARE SO IMPORTANT AND POSSIBLE LIFE SEEN ON SOL 1185.
On Sol 1185, and to a lesser degree on Sol 1189 and later there were items seen on Mars that look like life. See Figures 2, 3 and 6. On Sol 1185 they were near what looked like either a geode split open, or possibly a cocoon of some sort. The green color was suggestive of something that might be photosynthetic. The shape would allow Martian winds to move these objects so they could reach nutrients. Moreover, while some cells (if they are there) would benefit from sunlight while facing the sun, those on the bottom would not - unless the sphere shape evolved to allow the bottom cells to reach the top. Is there something analogous in Earth-based botany? Yes. When the cross section of a leaf is examined under a microscope, chloroplasts in the Palisade layer move from top to bottom and back to the top again as the cytoplasm in the cells circulates. This ensures that all chloroplasts get a chance to move up to just under the epidermis so they can absorb more ultraviolet light from the sun and increase the rate at which photosynthesis occurs. Of course, in photosynthesis carbon dioxide and water combine to form sugar (glucose) and oxygen. The Martian atmosphere is supposed to be 95% carbon dioxide, running water is believed to be found in association with RSL in Gale crater, and JPL has announced evidence for brine found by MSL.
TABLE 1 - USUALLY WARM GROUND TEMPERATURES EARLY IN THE WINTER OF MSL YEAR 2
SOL RANGE (24 sols)
AVERAGE DAY AIR TEMP HI ° C
AVERAGE NIGHT AIR TEMP LO ° C
AVERAGE DROP IN AIR TEMP DAY TO NIGHT
AVERAGE DAY GROUND TEMP HI ° C
AVERAGE NIGHT GROUND TEMP LO ° C
AVERAGE DROP IN GROUND TEMP DAY TO NIGHT
93 TO 104
552 TO 575
93 TO 104
1,221 TO 1,244
David Kiepke was apparently not the only one who thought he was looking at life on Mars around Sol 1185. A research paper by Laingtai Lin119 entitled Putative Martian Microbes Formed Plentiful Ooids on Mars (2016) states in its abstract that:
NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity discovered plentiful indigenous spherical ooids at High Dune and Namib Dune in Bagnold dune field, Gale Crater, Mars. The Martian ooids measure about 0.2 mm to 0.5 mm in diameter. Colors of the Martian ooids are various, including white, yellow translucent, green, grey, and yellow. The Martian ooids should have been formed by microbes, because ooids of Earth have recently been found to be formed by microbes and microbial borings are found in ooids of Earth and of Mars. The Martian ooids are unlikely to have been formed by non-biological mechanisms, because there was no highly agitated water at the discovery sites.
Namib Dune, mentioned in Lin’s paper, was shown above on Figure 2. Some of the ooids described by Lin are shown on Figure 3.
Figure 4 - A rock that apparently moved seen by MER Opportunity.
FIGURE 4. I first saw the JPL photo of a rock that suddenly appeared in front of Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on FoxNews.Com on January 17, 2014. While Occam's razor would probably go along with the idea that the rock was kicked up by a wheel of Opportunity, or perhaps that it was part of the ejecta that resulted from a nearby meteorite strike, there are other possibilities. One fits right in my our evidence that the Martian atmosphere is considerably denser than NASA admits. The possibility is hinted at by Bill Nye the Science Guy on this FoxNews.Com link. At 1 minute 22 seconds into the video link Nye says, "Now there's a lot of wind on Mars, but the Martian atmosphere is very thin. Was the wind strong enough to blow this cookie pebble down into the view, or call it a rock down into the view? Or did the wheel break it off or did it break it off from some breaking, protruding rock, what rock was that and why does it have all these elements that you wouldn't expect?" The rock has far more magnesium (1.738 grams per cubic centimeter), sulfur (1.84 g/cc) and than any Martian rock seen so far, with a manganese (5.03 g.cc) content that is twice as high as other Martian rocks suggesting that it came from off planet via meteorite strike.
Actually, this is not the first time that rocks have apparently moved on Mars. However we have seen sand dunes moved and rover tracks filled in with sand when the winds at accepted pressures were not enough to do so. This section of this article was written to enhance an article on my son's website by adding a Torah Code experiment to see what moved the rock: an Opportunity wheel, the wind, or a meteorite impact. The initial matrix and chemical composition suggest the new comer is a meteorite, however we will also explore the possibility that we are not seeing a rock at all. Maybe it's a fungus that grew in place there from a contaminating spore carried by Opportunity.
WHERE WAS OPPORTUNITY WHEN THE ROCK APPEARED?
The photos shown are labelled as having been taken on on Sol 3528 and Sol 3540. There are only 669 sols in a Martian year. In doing the math from the time Opportunity landed on January 25, 2004 at 1.95 South 354.47 East, the two pictures represent about Mars Sol 145 at Ls 67.9 on December 27, 2013 and Mars Sol 156 at Ls 73.2 on January 8, 2014. In the southern hemisphere of Mars this corresponds to the fall season although the site is not far south of the equator. In looking over the topographic travel record for Opportunity it seems like most of the time since landing the rover's MOLA altitude has been around 1,370 to 1,470 meters below Mars Areoid. The lander has no weather instrumentation on board. Note: The rock was not yet visible on Sol 3536 - four days before it showed up on Sol 3540. It also shows the rock on Sol 3541 - one day after it appeared.
Figure 5 - Rock or Fungus?
Figure 6 - The largest nuclear test ever was at Nova Zembla. This 50 megaton nuke was set off on October 30, 1961. The height of the cloud was 40 miles.
The large sphere shown at Franz Joseland at about 80 degrees North latitude, 424 nautical miles north of Nova Zembla in Figure 6 is supposedly a rock, but spherical puffball (fungi) fossiles do exist. The image was found at https://www.belugareizen.nl/bestemmingen/algemene-informatie-arctisch-rusland/franz-josefland-arctisch-rusland-algemene-reisinformatie/. Spheres at Cape Fiume in Franz Joseland vary from a few centimeters to about two meters in diameter. An abundance of plants and mosses can be found in the watery area.
The smaller spheres on the right on Figure 6 were seen by the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover. An issue here is whether a 50-megaton explosion on the surface has a great enough shock wave to drive spores from puffballs, other fungi, or bacteria high in our atmosphere up further to the point where the solar wind could guide them to Mars. If so, decades of nuclear testing on Earth might have greatly contaminated Mars.
The massive Russian Tsar Bomba nuke was detonated north of Asia at 73°48′26″North, 54°58′54″East. The area is so cold in the winter (down to -40° C) that whatever spores are produced there, if blasted into space, are likely ideally suited to survive in the cold Martian climate.
Figure 7 - Elevations and ground temperatures encountered while MSL was at positions noted by JPL. Possible life was seen on Sol 1185, along with a warmer than expected high ground temperature. The position noted for MSL for Sol 1248 is a return to within 20 meters of where the potential life was seen before. Then it moved within about 10 meters of the site. See Figure 2 to view the suspected life.
A WORD ABOUT MIXING THE CODE WITH MARS INVESTIGATIONS.
If you read our report entitled MARS CORRECT - CRITIQUE OF ALL NASA MARS WEATHER DATA, you'll see that without considering the legitimacy of the Torah Code, there are tremendous reasons to doubt the accuracy of conclusions about Mars. The Torah Code is a controversial matter on its own. It is for this reason that (when appropriate) I split any write up that deals with Mars and Torah Codes into two versions. The version with the Code goes onto this web site. The version without it that is based only on pure science with accepted scientific technique, goes on my son's site at DavidARoffman.Com.
Even if the Code is real, there is no agreement among its chief researchers as to what constitutes the correct way to understand it. My belief is that there must generally be an axis term (first term sought) that is around 8 letters long, is assigned no statistical value at all; and that major a priori key terms sought are more likely to be put there deliberately if they are at special case skips of +/- 1 or the absolute skip of the axis term. Key words that only appear diagonally are of much lower interest unless they are very long. I almost never find an a priori key word that is 7 or more letters long. This is reflected in my probability calculation technique. But this technique, even if best, has limitations. In this part of my article I used two axis terms. One was ROCK MOVING and the other was MARS ROCK. I would have come up with different results if I had sought Moving Rock or Rock on Mars or Rock from Meteorite, or Fungus on Mars, or any other axis terms. Each matrix takes a long time to develop, and so the hunch that I have as to what to search for first is important. Generally I won't even search for an axis term that is more than 11 letters in length because 22 years of Codes experience has taught me that I'm wasting time. Nor do I generally look for an axis term that is less than 6 letters. When I do come up with a matrix that is of interest, then I try to present scientific evidence about the topic that shows why the matrix is plausible. That, at best, is what you see in this article.
NASA/JPL eventually announced that the new rock was probably kicked up by the rover as it moved. The NASA says the source rocks are shown on the bottom left photos seen on Figure 4, however while the rover tracks clearly pass over their claimed source rock, the tracks do not appear to be over the new rock so there is an issue as to whether the new rock could have been pinched off and launched airborne. The Opportunity had a top speed of 50 millimeters (about 2 inches) per second (0.111846814603 miles per hour) and an average speed of about 10 mm/sec. It stopped once every 10 seconds for 20 seconds to observe and understand terrain that it has been over.
A FEW FINAL WORDS ABOUT OUR PUBLICATION IN THE JOURNAL OF ASTROBIOLOGY.
Some of the terms for publication (and issues in italics) were as follows:
"Evidence of Life on Mars?"
-Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science Reviews, 2019, 40-81
--Call for Critical Commentary--
The attached article, "Evidence of Life on Mars?" has been peer reviewed on behalf of the Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science Reviews, by fourteen scientists and Senior Editors, three of whom rejected and eleven of whom recommended publication.
Note: My son cast one of the 11 votes in favor of publication.
Recognizing the controversial implications, the editors are inviting the scientific community to publish Critical Commentary pro or con (2000 word limit), and to discuss and debate the evidence and observations presented.
Note: The final article came in at 2,965 words. Some facts were added by the editors. In most cases this was not a problem. We were unhappy about too many references to the policy stated next about "Evidence is not proof and there is no proof of life on Mars." This position was forced on David and on the authors of the article that he was reviewing. We concede that something like testing for DNA is required for positive proof but we wanted a statement in the conclusion about the fact that the evidence for life is very strong. The editors partially satisfied David by placing a statement at the front of the abstract stating, "In a detailed review of over 130 research reports by over 500 scientists, Joseph et al. (2019) provides strong evidence for multiple forms of prokaryotic and eukaryotic life on Mars which may be contaminates from Earth due to solar winds and meteor strikes." But in the conclusion they state, "Evidence provided by five Mars landers favor the probability of life. Unfortunately, as stressed by Joseph et al. (2019) the evidence is circumstantial, and similarities in morphology are not proof." The article thus ended with a sentence containing a double negative. We did not like ending the article on a negative note. The ending was even more negative before David (and I) on March 14, 2019 objected strongly (threatening to not go through with the project unless he got more wiggle room).
How did the Journal want the article to finish before David (under pressure from me) rejected it? They originally added a paragraph to David's conclusion to state, "Evidence provided by five Mars landers favor the probability of life. Unfortunately, the evidence is circumstantial, and similarities in morphology are not proof. Searching for life should be a NASA priority. Unfortunately it is not." So that's how the Journal saw the issue.
David wrote that, "The double use of “Unfortunately” is a horrendously negative way to finish the article. I am also afraid that I will be asked to defend "Searching for life should be a NASA priority. Unfortunately it is not." At a minimum we need a reference for it. Moreover, NASA Chief Jim Bridenstine) said, "NASA has made the search for alien life a high priority."
Please remove the remarks that contradict Bridenstine."
The Journal then altered its conclusion to something much closer to what we envisioned. What they have posted is as follows:
Evidence provided by five Mars landers favor the probability of life. Unfortunately, as stressed by Joseph et al. (2019) the evidence is circumstantial, and similarities in morphology are not proof.
Future robotic missions should take equipment like the Miniature Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscope for in-situ imaging & chemical analysis (Gaskin 2012) to the most promising sites. Only then can we begin to make a determination as to if the specimens photographed on the Martian ground are oddly shaped sedimentary structures or evidence of life. Likewise we must determine the exact nature of what appears to be growth on Opportunity and Curiosity.
The official position of the Journal is: "Evidence is not proof and there is no proof of life on Mars."
We cannot control the Journal, but we believe that their position is far too negative and even intimidating for scholars who want to challenge their position. This was plainly true for David. He was taught in grad school that he should not challenge academic authority. I had no such loyalty. I taught science for 30 years and I always taught my students to fight for truth, so in the end David took up my fight. During our discussions with the Journal we were told that NASA wants to proceed with "Baby steps." Where it comes to recognizing probable life found on Mars we think this approach could be catastrophic. It could lead to a crew becoming infected or to the transfer back to Earth of a pathogenic life form. Frankly, we believe that if the Journal wants to be academically credible they shouldn't give a damn about backing what NASA's position is, especially when, as here, they appear to be plainly wrong. We watched carefully as the Journal's May, 2019 embargo (see below) came and passed. We expected to see worldwide attention to the "new" evidence of life on Mars which included photographic evidence for possible growth of fungi, algae and bacteria on two rovers. But, in large part I'm sure because of the Journal's highly negative policy and unwanted insertions into our article and that by Joseph et al. the story was covered by no major news media. In effect, the Journal silenced the story out of stated fear of NASA.
Commentators may also discuss their own or related work and may speculate about the implications for science, philosophy, medicine, theology, and government policy.
EMBARGO: In fairness to those who intend to publish Critical Commentary, the attached article is embargoed until May of 2019. Please do not provide it to or discuss it with reporters, bloggers, or social media.
Commentary will be peer reviewed. All commentary will be published simultaneously with the official publication of "Evidence of Life on Mars?" in the online, open access Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science Reviews.
DEADLINE: March 20, 2019.
David and I thank Ms. Anderson and the Journal. They made almost all of our suggested or requested changes over two months of editing. We must however ask the Journal to reevaluate how politics affects their final product. The discovery of life on Mars is not a baby step in science. Not one dollar should be spent on any new Mars project until or unless it answers the issue of what seems to be growing on and near the Curiosity and Opportunity. It appears that we have found the treasure we sought. We need to pin it down before looking for more treasure (life) elsewhere. We must also ensure that this discovery is not used as an (invalid) excuse to prevent further exploration of the Red Planet.