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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-04-02
    Description: Of all the other planets in the solar system, Mars remains the most promising for further elucidating concepts about chemical evolution and the origin of life. Exobiological objectives for Mars exploration include: determining the abundance and distribution of the biogenic elements and organic compounds, detecting evidence of an ancient biota on Mars, and determining whether indigenous organisms exist anywhere on the planet. Both approved and planned missions to Mars were evaluated for their potential to contribute to the understanding of these exobiology science objectives and an exploration strategy was developed for each objective.
    Keywords: SPACE BIOLOGY
    Type: Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere (ISSN 0169-6149); 24; 2-4; p. 342-343
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  • 2
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    Publication Date: 2019-04-02
    Description: Of all the other planets in the solar system, Mars remains the most promising for further elucidating concepts about chemical evolution and the origin of life. Strategies were developed to pursue three exobiological objectives for Mars exploration: determining the abundance and distribution of the biogenic elements and organic compounds, detecting evidence of an ancient biota on Mars, and determining whether indigenous organisms exist anywhere on the planet. The three strategies are quite similar and, in fact, share the same sequence of phases. In the first phase, each requires global reconnaissance and remote sensing by orbiters to select sites of interest for detailed in situ analyses. In the second phase, lander missions are conducted to characterize the chemical and physical properties of the selected sites. The third phase involves conducting 'critical' experiments at sites whose properties make them particularly attractive for exobiology. These critical experiments would include, for example, identification of organics, detection of fossils, and detection of extant life. The fourth phase is the detailed analysis of samples returned from these sites in Earth-based laboratories to confirm and extend previous discoveries. Finally, in the fifth phase, human exploration is needed to establish the geological settings for the earlier findings or to discover and explore sites that are not accessible to robotic spacecraft.
    Keywords: SPACE BIOLOGY
    Type: Life sciences and space research 24 (4): Planetary biology and origins of life; Topical Meeting of the COSPAR Interdisciplinary Scientific Commission F (Meeting F3) of the COSPAR Plenary Meeting, 29th (ISSN 0273-1177); 15; 3; p. 151-156
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2016-03-09
    Description: The Workshops on Exobiology in Earth Orbit were held to explore concepts for orbital experiments of exobiological interest and make recommendations on which classes of experiments should be carried out. Various observational and experimental opportunities in Earth orbit are described including those associated with the Space Shuttle laboratories, spacecraft deployed from the Space Shuttle and expendable launch vehicles, the Space Station, and lunar bases. Specific science issues and technology needs are summarized. Finally, a list of recommended experiments in the areas of observational exobiology, cosmic dust collection, and in situ experiments is presented.
    Keywords: SPACE BIOLOGY
    Type: NAS 1.21:500 , NASA-SP-500
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2016-03-09
    Description: This volume includes chapters on exobiology in space, chemical and early biochemical evolution, life without oxygen, potential for chemical evolution in the early environment of Mars, planetary protection issues and sample return missions, and the modulation of biological evolution by astrophysical phenomena. Papers are presented on the results of spaceflight missions, the action of some factors of space medium on the abiogenic synthesis of nucleotides, early peptidic enzymes, microbiology and biochemistry of the methanogenic archaeobacteria, and present-day biogeochemical activities of anaerobic bacteria and their relevance to future exobiological investigations. Consideration is also given to the development of the Alba Patera volcano on Mars, biological nitrogen fixation under primordial Martian partial pressures of dinitrogen, the planetary protection issues in advance of human exploration of Mars, and the difficulty with astronomical explanations of periodic mass extinctions.
    Keywords: SPACE BIOLOGY
    Type: (ISSN 0273-1177)
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  • 5
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    Publication Date: 2011-08-17
    Description: The paper discusses some of the constraints pertaining to the Viking mission for detection of life on Mars, within which the Viking experiments were conceived, designed, and developed. The most important limitation to the entire study is the complete information about the nature of Mars, such as the chemical composition of the surface material of Mars and the exact identification of the constituents of that planet. Ways in which celestial mechanics places severe limitations on the Viking biology investigation are discussed. Major engineering constraints are examined relative to the accomodation of biology instrument inside the Viking lander and to the design of the instrument itself. Other constraints discussed concern the operational aspects of the mission and the testing program.
    Keywords: SPACE BIOLOGY
    Type: Origins of Life; 7; Aug. 197
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  • 6
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    Publication Date: 2011-08-17
    Description: The three experimental approaches incorporated into the Viking biology instrument have yielded results that are most readily explained as nonbiological phenomena. The predominant view among investigators trying to simulate the Mars results is that the surface material of Mars contains strongly oxidizing compounds which would account for many of the more intense reactions seen on Mars. Other mechanisms are also currently being proposed and studied.
    Keywords: SPACE BIOLOGY
    Type: Origins of Life; 9; Dec. 197
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  • 7
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    Publication Date: 2011-08-17
    Description: The three biological experiments on board the Viking Mars Landers are discussed. The gas exchange experiment provided periodic measurements of the composition and quantity of gases from Martian surface material, either in a humid or a wet nutrient sampling mode. The labeled release experiment demonstrated that adding an aqueous solution of dilute radioactive compounds to Martian material caused a rapid release of labeled gas. The results of the pyrolytic release experiment remain difficult to interpret. Data from the first two experiments suggest that oxidants (including H2O2 and iron oxide) rather than biota may account for all the observed reactions.
    Keywords: SPACE BIOLOGY
    Type: Icarus; 34; June 197
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  • 8
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    Publication Date: 2011-08-17
    Description: The Viking biological investigation has tested four different hypotheses regarding the possible nature of Martian organisms. While significant results were obtained for each of these, tests of three of the hypotheses appear to indicate the absence of biology in the samples used, while the fourth is consistent with a biological interpretation. The original assumptions for each experiment and the experimental procedures that were utilized to test these assumptions are reviewed.
    Keywords: SPACE BIOLOGY
    Type: Journal of Geophysical Research; 82; Sept. 30
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2011-08-16
    Description: A preliminary progress report is presented for the Viking biological investigation through its first month. The carbon assimilation, gas exchange, and labeled release experiments are described in detail, and the chronology of the experiments is outlined. For the first experiment, it is found that a small amount of gas was converted into organic material in one sample and that heat treatment of a duplicate sample prevented such conversion. In the second experiment, a substantial amount of O2 was detected along with significant increases in CO2 and small changes in N2. In the third experiment, a significant amount of radioactive gas was evolved from one sample, but not from a duplicate heat-treated sample. Possible biological and nonbiological interpretations are considered for these results. It is concluded that while the experiments provide clear evidence for the occurrence of chemical reactions and while the results do not violate any prima facie criteria for biological processes, a definitive answer cannot yet be given to the question of whether life exists on Mars.
    Keywords: SPACE BIOLOGY
    Type: Science; 194; Oct. 1
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2011-08-16
    Description: The scientific payload on the Viking Mars landers is described. Shortly after landing, two facsimile cameras capable of stereoscopic imaging will scan the landing site area in black and white, color, and infrared to reveal gross evidence of past or present living systems. A wide range mass spectrometer will record a complete mass spectrum for soil samples from mass 12 to mass 200 every 10.3 sec. Three experiments based on different assumptions on the nature of life on Mars, if it exists, will be carried out by the bio-lab. A pyrolytic release experiment is designed to measure photosynthetic or dark fixation of carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide into organic compounds. A labelled release experiment will test for metabolic activity during incubation of a surface sample moistened with a solution of radioactively labelled simple organic compounds. A gas exchange experiment will detect changes in the gaseous medium surrounding a soil sample as the result of metabolic activity. The hardware, function, and terrestrial test results of the bio-lab experiments are discussed.
    Keywords: SPACE BIOLOGY
    Type: Nature; 262; July 1
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