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I just read with some excitement about new evidence for possible microbial Martian life, found in a different meteorite (see link below).
And then I went back and reread stuff about the Viking missions and the experiments they had, testing for combustion, methane, oxidation, etc, complex ways to search
for something simple.
Everyone's all excited about the future landers and the labs they will have and the possibility of a sample return mission.
And then I'm realizing: why the hell can't they just cary a petrie dish that a camera can check on once in a while? The current rovers have been moving around for 2 years? If there's any kind of spore or microbe, it may have never landed there -- no big deal -- but if it did, wouldn't that be interesting.
Why wasn't such an experiment carried out?
New Martian Meteorite Potential Life Evidence
[theircompetitor, Mar 24 2006]
Wikipedia: Petri Dish
Named after Julius Richard Petri. [jutta, Mar 24 2006]
A slightly skewed view of life on Mars, as portrayed by Rob and Laura Petrie (Dick Van Dyke & Mary Tyler Moore respectively) in the 1960's. [jurist, Mar 24 2006]
I lose out on the Petri Dish again
[theircompetitor, Jul 31 2014]
||but what kind of petrie dish agar do you take? Sounds like a simple question but a brief glance at my Difco Manual tells me there are more than 1000 different growth media available for testing for the things on this planet that we know about and understand. Second almost every single Microbiological procedure relies on very specific Temperature and atmospheric requirements. Third, many procedures involve secondary or even tertiary plating procedures to determine the nature of the organism found. Lastly, though it may look like an exact science on TV Microbiology especially as it relates to unknown organisms involves a great deal of interpretation and observation(things such as color, color depth, texture, shape, Sheen, reflective properties etc.)something that is challenging enough at a well lighted lab bench with a binocular microscope and years of experience let alone on a Cold Hostile planet with atmosperic chemistry whole alien to what we know looking for a life form about which we know little or nothing. The tests performed though they dont sound simple are infact quite straight forward, are far less environmentally depedent and were carefully selected based on some of the common traights shared by all life that we know about.
||I'd start with nutrients favorable to microbes found in antarctica. Or maybe even just water ice. Or maybe a sugar cube.
||At the very least, my test wont miss a squirrel coming up and eating the sample.
||//but what kind of petrie dish agar do you take? // I can't help but picture Morey Amsterdam coming into the office, picking up a butter knife, and slathering *agar* on his bagel as he and Rob and Rose Marie plot the next Alan Brady show. [link]
||Then you must not have seen that Tim Robbins movie