November 21, 2019

Great Discoveries are Sometimes Unacknowledged When They Happen

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes takes a moment to tell us that John Michael Godier has a 45 minute interview with  Dr. Patricia Ann Straat, who was in charge of the detect life experiment in the Viking Landers in '75/76.   She and her team thought they'd found life then but after some initial enthusiasm it was declared a false positive and then pretty much ignored after the new NASA leadership took over in '77. She and others have recently pointed out that the experiments alleged to debunk her team's claims were improperly done and she's got a very strong case that Martian life was detected in 1976. 

But wait. There's more!

"New evidence regarding organics and seasonal methane emissions seems to support her conclusions and if these pan out, it'll be important to remember that it was Dr. Straat and her team who first discovered life on Mars, probably before the first people who will first see it under a microscope were born. "

Time will tell but her argument seems compelling. Indeed, its looking more and more like she's right and that the decision to not put any life detecting experiments on the subsequent probes was ill-conceived at best. She has a book on the topic that is, for some reason, not available in the usual places but you can buy it here.

Full Disclosure: "Science Babe" is actually Makise Kurisu from Stein's Gate, but you know that, because you've seen it, unless you haven't in which case you're wrong.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 10:19 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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November 02, 2019

Follow-Up to an Earlier Post

A MUCH earlier post; see, back in November of 2007 we noted that archeologists had discovered a semi-mythical submarine that was claimed to have been all kinds of advanced but was believed to have been lost in 1869, 150 years ago this year.

The SUB MARINE EXPLORER did indeed exist and  was found 12 years ago. She was intended for underwater salvage, exploration and pearl diving and sallied forth to Panama to do the latter, where her entire crew died "of fever" after a long dive.

Examination of the wreck and what was known of the sub's design indicate that they died of the bends after staying down to long and not decompressing properly. Now, a dozen years later, the reports of the survey are available online as well as photos and schematics of the submarine itself derived from the wreck that confirm other reports about how advanced the vessel actually was. The SUB MARINE EXPLORER was remarkably advanced for its day and worked, achieving most of its design goals. It had the ability to equalize pressure like a diving bell allowing its crew to exit the vessel underwater.

From the set of plans drawn up from the wreck and historical records at the Library of Congress

Sadly, reliable dive tables were not available until the early 20th century and this condemned the crew to an early grave despite everything else being done right. Unknown unknowns are among the most dangerous of things, but are inevitable when exploring new frontiers.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 06:53 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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