Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 10, 1975 · Page 14
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August 10, 1975

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 14

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, August 10, 1975
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Page 14
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14A -August 10,1975 Sunday Cuvette-Mail _ : Oarfen A*st YT« : ~ : Viking Vehicles Are Ready to Leave Earth to Seek Life on Other Planets By Victor K. McElheay (C) A«e York Time* Service CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.-Scientific vehicles are about to leave earth for Mars, to perform the first search for life on the surface of another planet. Preparations for the departure of the first of two American craft called Viking continue to go smoothly. Weather predictions for the scheduled launch time of 4:59 p.m. Monday, continue favorable. The second launching in the $1 billion Viking program, the most costly in the history of unmanned planetary exploration, is scheduled for Aug. 21. The two four-ton Vikings are scheduled to go into orbit around Mars in June and August of next year, and detach three- legged craft in July and September to land at sites at 21 and 44 degrees north lattitude respectively. Once the landing craft have conducted several samplings of Martian soil, seeking evidence of present or past living organisms, it is possible that both the landing craft and the orbiters will operate for years as scientific observatories, delivering weather reports and seismic readings from the surface, and photographing the -narch of the seasons from orbit. Dr. Joshua Lederberg of Stanford University, one of the many scientists gathered icre to witness the launching of the Vik- ng, emphasized that the long-planned ·robe for Martian life is only "a first try." Lederberg is one of the scientists who in study in 1964 for the National Academy f Sciences, said, "the biological explora- ion of Mars is a scientific undertaking of le highest validity and significance. Its salization will be a milestone in the histo- y of scientific achievement." * * * SPECULATIONS ABOUT whether con- itions on Mars have favored or presently avor life go either way, Leaderberg and nany of his colleagues attending a special 'iking symposium noted. The Viking instruments could have been esigned too narrowly to detect peculiar ving forms that might have evolved on a lanet that is only half as big across as the arth, not quite as dense, has a thinner atmosphere of different composition, appar- ntly lacks the protection of an earth-like lagnetic field with belts of trapped parti- les, and is half again as far from the sun. Lederberg warned against regarding the icperiments as "definitive, the last word i the subject." In the view of such scientists as Dr. Carl agan of Cornell University, definite Dnclusions about the planet earth could ardly be drawn by setting instruments own, say, at the north rim of Grand Can- DH and a stretch of arctic tundra. The scientists noted that the landers ere not designed to send back any rocket -ecimens of Mars for the detailed analys- of their history that was possible with imples returned by six teams of Apollo stronauts and two automated Luna craft ·om the Soviet Union in 1969 through 1972. The scheduled Viking launchings are the jlmination of 15 years of planning, preli- linary Martian explorations by space- raft, speculation and often-intense dis- ute by hundreds or scientists and igineers. In the 15 years since the Soviet Union rst dispatched an unsuccessful probe wards Mars, the small planet has been ·ansformed from a blotchy, red object at could be seen flickeringly in a tele- cope into a thoroughly mapped world, atted with several huge volcanos, riven y a 2,500-mile-long canyon next to a conti- ant-sized upland, and laced with sinuous lannels that apparently could have been arved only by running water. At the conference, Sagan said that the nly evidence of the channels' ages, prov- led by counting the meteorite-impact raters visible along the largest of them, idicated that they were carved several undred million years ago, at about the ame time as the huge volcanos arose. , Some earlier speculations had pointed to possibility that conditions favored water ow every 25,000 years or so. But Sagan ow focused on the possibility of a volcan: surge melting large amounts of subter- anean water trapped as permafrost. The channels, equipped with tributaries ike rivers on earth, were discovered long with the volcanoes and the canyon 11972 by Mariner 9, the latest in a series f American exploratory craft. Mariner 9 went into orbit around Mars n November 1971. and. after a planetwide, aonth-long dust storm subsided, took nore than 7,000 photographs in 10 months iefore the craft ran out of steering rocket uel. Up to then, the only closeup observa- ions of the planet had occurred in 1965 and 969, during the brief "fly-bys" of Mari- icrs 4. 6 and 7. The exploratory Mariner missions and a argely unsuccessful series of Soviet fly- )ys, orbiters and landers have revealed a )lanet that appears alternately lunar and arth-like. dead and alive. VAST REGIONS appear to be deserts, iwept by storm winds of more than 200 niles an hour. Others are pock-marked by ;till-vivid craters that may have been :ouged out billions of years ago. Spacecraft readings have found a Mar- ;ian atmosphere about 200 times thinner :han earth's, and consisting largely of car- son dioxide instead of nitrogen as on earth. According to readings from a Soviet craft descending to the surface, the atmosphere could contain up to 30 per cent of a rare, insert gas called argon. At a pressure of 5 millibars, compared to more than 1.000 at sea level on earth, water cannot exist as a fluid at the Martian surface. As Mars turns on its axis every 24 hours and 37 minutes, temperatures drop precipitously from day to night. The temperature drops off sharply even at distances of a foot or two above the surface at summer noontime. Intense showers of ultraviolet rays from the sun, capable of breaking up the simplest of molecules, can reach the almost unshielded Martian surface. Considerable portions of the atmospheric gases, inc* ing wa6r, can freeze out of the a*- phere into the polar caps during winter. Many scientists at the symposium, including Dr. H.D. Holland and Dr. Michael B. McElroy of Harvard University, emphasize that it is difficult to put together a favorable set of conditions for life even on earth. With little dispute from their colleagues, they painted a picture of the origin of life being favored near the start of the earth's 5-billion-year history. The Truth Cost This Man a Job HOUSTON, Tex. (AP)-Charies Etzie Washington filled out an application to become a Houston police officer so truthfully, he ended up in jail charged with robbery. Asked if he had ever been in trouble with the police before, Washington replied there was that liquor store he once robbed, but he didn't get caught. A detective quickly checked Washington's fingerprints and arrested him in the police gym. The detective also found a loaded .32aliber pistol inabag Washington was carrying. ACUPUNCTURE INFORMATIVE BOOKLET Send Stomped self-addressed 9" envelope to: Acupuncture Inf ornition Services P.O. 10x1713 days and fridoys 10 to 9 I other weekdays 10 to 5 ITS OUR BIG SEMI-ANNUAL FURNITURE SALE CUSTOM DESIGN YOUR OWN SOFA AND CHAIR FROM OUR GUILD GALLERIES COLLECTION 97" Band Arm Sofa ... Compare at 540.00 NOW AS LOW AS S 432.00 82" Cap Arm Sofa 55" Attached Pillow Back Love Seat .Compare at 490.00 AS LOW AS S 392.00 Compare at 390.00 ... 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HOUSEWARES--Third Floor 1 5.99 1 3.99 9.99 Reg. 1 .90 Skein SALE 1.50 Reg. 1 .19 Skein. SALE . REG. 7? Skein SALE 63- 3 Great yarns in a host of pretty shades that let you mix and match and stock up for the coming fall and winter months. Beautiful bold colors like Reds, Greens, Golds, Browns, Blues, White, Natural and soft baby pastels. All especially priced to save you by the box. Come in and stock up now. ART NEEDlEWORK-Third Floor

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