The intruiging MESA results

Some 3 or so weeks ago the MESA lead scientist proclaimed at a press conference that the results of the first MECA wet chemistry test had found the phoenix soil to be eminently habitable (by earthlings presumably) and had also turned up some intruiging results which they were in the process of corroborating through further tests at the phoenix sites and at home. Two days ago there was another press conference at which the MECA team was noticeably absent. There was however a cryptic question on their absence and a hint that the Phoenix MECA team had got some dramatic results which had been shared with the Presidential Science advisors before it could be passed on to the public. Since then Craig Covault, a very reputable AeroSpace Science reporter, has published an article claiming that the MECA results have indeed been passed on to the White House and that they have to do with confirmed findings of habitability from 3 further MECA tests on different soil samples at Phoenix and that the interactions between mars soil and water in the MECA wet chemistry test is key to the importance of the results. It was also suggested that it may take another month or so before a disclosure of the results is likely to be made.

While we have not been privy to the scientific data emerging from the TEGA, TECP and MECA tests, many of the members of this board have been following the daily releases from the Phoenix site and are likely to have an informed opinion on these matters.

This is an attempt to put all the thoughts and speculations on this matter in one place and see what we can come up with re. the possible importance of the Craig Covault revelations and the MECA results.

For instance, I think that a finding which suggests that the North Polar region of Mars is inherently habitable by Man without the need for extremely expensive terraforming is the most important Scientific finding of this century and perhaps of the last century also.

If MECA has found conditions there that suggests such habitability with just the need for simple pressurized habitations and no need to bring in soil and water and perhaps other nutrients, then MECA would have found one of the Holy Grails of Space exploration.

If so it is no wonder that the NASA heads would have rushed to clear any further disclosure with the White House. There are many areas to discuss related to this.

In addition, before the disclosure comes, if it ever comes, there are a lot of areas which are ripe for speculation as to what actually MECA could have found. Was it NH3 ions? Was it Nucleotides? Was it Carbonate ions? etc. etc.

Hoping that some of the people who dropped out will drop in to join this discussion and a special invitation to Stu, who, as a journalist, must recognize this as the possibility of being the Space Adventurers' Holy Grail and must be seriously constrained by the rules on the other forum.

Can anyone see moneys being provided to fast track these studies to have a man on Mars before 2012?

How do the Russians and the Chinese come into this?

Phoenix is an international Mission with the Elephant in the room being the USA and minor roles being played by Canada and Europe. Would this international composition of the team guarantee full disclosure?

There are many unexplored facets to this story that could be explored such as the increasing possibility that there is current microbial life there at the phoenix site.

Anyone care to comment?



I will call this the big tease of 08. I hope it deserves all of the fanfare.

I find it interesting that NASA would communicate with the white house and the white house would leak it. Hype, hype ,hype. This is not a nice way to treat Marsaholics.



Good thread indeed at the right time and place...will comment when the company leaves...thanks


Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit thinking.

OK, best guess...

minerals discovered on Mars that on Earth are only associated with environments created by living systems.

Hi Fred

Re. your reply #1, I have'nt seen anywhere that the White house has leaked that they have indeed been informed of the MECA results by NASA. The suggestion so far has been that Craig Covault has very significant ties with the Mars Exploration teams and has been leaked this information through those contacts.


You got to read brother. Follow link, reply 51.


asparagus anyone?

With this ice they've put themselves into the corner. Too little for 800 mil spent.
So they must disclose something, ignoring the reality again will not do :P


Hi Fred

It does'nt say that there. Covault does'nt say "sources in the white house". He just appears to be continuing his story from his Phoenix team sources. Read it again.


Sorry Winston,

It started out,

“The White House has been alerted by NASA about plans to make an announcement soon on major new Phoenix lander discoveries concerning the "potential for life" on Mars, scientists tell Aviation Week & Space Technology.”

Sorry, I just read. Is this a bad source?


The original Aviation Week article by Craig Covault does indeed mention the White House being briefed:



still the best pic ever...keep posting it good friend.


They added water to the martian soil.
Then what did they do? cook it, smell it

What would be the difference between Scooping up apile of frozen scrapings, as it already has WATER, and SOIL, then heating, as compared to adding are own EArth water to soil?

I cannot think of any


As compared to the ROVERS, this whole Pheonix thing, has been run hush hush, they knew would they would find before hand.

Fred and Paul SCott Anderson

The Original Article says "The White House has been alerted by NASA about plans to make an announcement soon on major new Phoenix lander discoveries concerning the "potential for life" on Mars, scientists tell Aviation Week & Space Technology."

Fred said "I find it interesting that NASA would communicate with the white house and the white house would leak it"

Unless my understanding has totally gone whacky, Nowhere does the article make the claim that a source at the White house has confirmed or leaked that the White House has been alerted by NASA, it is "Scientists" who are stated to have told Aviation week this. Of course One may read a leak by the White House into the article but it does'nt explicitly say so.

One knows from other facts that there is a high likelihood that Craig Covault had NASA sources that gave him the story and therefore I think it is more reasonable to assume that it is those sources that told Craig Covault about the White House briefing.

But then, Who am I to question American English and the deciphering of American articles?



I agree, I don't think the White House leaked it either, just clarifying that the briefing apparently did happen. I don't want to wait a few more weeks for more info...!


They promise to announce discoveries to the public. They promise it to White House. Obviously, the White House already knows all it wants to know.
What is being stated that there is double accounting there :blush:


Well the Phoenix twitter is pretty clear. No briefing.


Could you explain the twitter technology for us? Is it reliable? Are the people who twitter identifiable? Are they sworn to tell the truth at all times? Are they above the Financial Grants rat race?


As ever when reading all here and the great links and superb original work here is my take on the over all picture:">

Great times for the Marsaholics