Astrobiology: July 2014 Archives

NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload

"The Mars 2020 mission will be based on the design of the highly successful Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, which landed almost two years ago, and currently is operating on Mars. The new rover will carry more sophisticated, upgraded hardware and new instruments to conduct geological assessments of the rover's landing site, determine the potential habitability of the environment, and directly search for signs of ancient Martian life."

NASA Hosts 3 p.m. EDT Teleconference with Mars 2020 Principal Investigators

Keith's note: (sigh) NASA still does not have the imagination or inclination to search for signs of extant life on Mars. All they seem to be willing to do is see if it used to be there. At the rate that they are going it will be 20 years before they get up the nerve to try and answer the question.

Keith's update: I asked the following question at the Mars 2020 Rover press event today. "Your press release says "determine the potential habitability of the environment, and directly search for signs of ancient Martian life." Why isn't NASA directly searching for signs of EXISTING LIFE on Mars? And I will ask my follow-up since the answer to this question is always "we don't know how to look for life on Mars - yet". - How are you going about the task of learing how to look for existing life on Mars, when will you have this capability and why is it that NASA was eager to search for existing life on Mars 40 years ago but is unwilling or unable to do so now?"

I obviously expected Jim Green to answer in the same cautious way that NASA has always answered this question - one I have asked again and again for the nearly 20 years. Instead, Green launched into a detailed description of all the things that the Mars 2020 rover could detect that have a connection with life. Much of what he said clearly referred to extant / existing life. Now THAT is cool. To clarify things I sent the following request to NASA PAO "Can the Mars 2020 rover detect extant/existing life on Mars?  Will NASA be looking for extant/existing life on Mars?" Let's see how they respond.

Leading Space Experts to Discuss the Search for Life Beyond Earth

"NASA Television will air a panel discussion of leading science and engineering experts on Monday, July 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. EDT, who will describe the scientific and technological roadmap that will lead to the discovery of potentially habitable worlds among the stars. The public is invited to attend or view the event, which will take place in the Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW in Washington."

Keith's note: No mention is made of this highly visible agency-wide astrobiology event at NASA's Astrobiology Institute website nor on its Twitter account. Once again the crack social media staff at NAI are sound asleep.

- Ignoring "Cosmos": Incompetence at NASA's Astrobiology Institute, earlier post
- Why Is NASA's Astrobiology Program STILL Ignoring "Cosmos"?, earlier post

Keith's update: NAI added an article after the fact but it still does not show up on their main page. It is also missing from their "spotlight" on events. So how does one find it? They also tweeted something - but only "10 minutes" before the event. What enthusiasm.

Meanwhile there is very little "astrobiology" being mentioned in this event titled titled "The Search for Life in the Universe". Its all about Webb Space Telescope. And Webb was not designed to "search for life".


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This page is an archive of entries in the Astrobiology category from July 2014.

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