tv NASA Viking Mission to Mars CSPAN August 27, 2016 10:30pm-12:01am EDT
walt: good afternoon, and welcome. i am the director here at langley. to talk about our kickoff event of the viking 40th at mars.ry celebration i'm going to introduce them to then there will be some details on their background of what it is that got them here, but let me start by saying these are four nasa historians, three current and one with a degree that is as deep and broad that i think will make for a fascinating discussion today. me start out with bilberry, dr. bill
berry to my right. . chief historian he will be our panel moderator today. ,o his right, dr. roger currently the associate director for collections and affairs at
the smithsonian institution. to his right is dr. eric conway, historian and former langley historian. he spent some time year before jpl, and then our last, currently with aims. and let's go to bill. will moderate our panel and give us some great stories. thanks, bill. [applause] bill: thanks, everybody, and this is a great opportunity, what
hath than 40 on years ago today and tomorrow. happened 40 years ago today and tomorrow. hat happened.
reason, it is really attempting to land on mars. no one has been able to do it before. of until six attempts that point, and none of them completely successful. were about 40 seconds of data transmission. 3 not a great success. we got to the moon in the first 20 years, but getting to mars was harder. rooms many of you in the as i guess from the looks at things might have been involved in that project, or were younger and were not there, but it was an exciting time, reaching out
to try to take a big leap in terms of understanding if there was life on mars. step. a big, difficult now, tomorrow on the anniversary, there's going to be willposium all day that show how policy connects to what we did in the past. but today, our objective today dig into a historical the background of the viking program. an angle on and some of the stories that i think you will find very interesting that our three panelists, our distinguished nasa historians and other historians are going to talk about. but before we get there, for those of you who were not there, i have a video that my friends at nasa tv put together about the anniversary of viking, and i would like to show it to you. it is about 4.5 minutes long.
for those of you who know about viking will probably see some familiar faces in the video, and we are going to show that here right now. [video clip] ♪ ♪ announcer: in exploration, there are great moments of success and moments of setback. lasting memories forever in our combined experience that forges stronger resolve to reach new heights and explore the unknown. off into the solar system, something in our humanity pushes us to move forward. wanderers, and we are wanderers still. we have lingered long enough on
the shores of the cosmic ocean. we are ready at last to set sail for the stars. >> the atlas five, with curiosity. the puzzle about life on mars. men have been on the journey of exploration for more than half a century, a journey to mars. phoenix and to maven and beyond, we have ingenuity on and around the red planet. 40 years ago, nasa's viking project found its place in history. july 20, 1976. viking 1 was the first human probe to land on the surface, data, andges and conduct science experiments on
mars. viking was a bold step for its time and a huge undertaking for nasa. nasa employees, contractors, and industry across the country designed elements of this project. viking consistent of two identical spacecraft with a payload of a lander and an orbiter each. 2 were launched in august and september 1975. each flew together and entered the mars orbit, and it dissented to the planet's surface for their planned 90 day missions. targetedwas originally to land on july 4, 1976, our nation's bicentennial, the images from the orbiter showed the planned landing site to be too rocky. after considering the options, a new site was selected, and touchdown on july 20,
seven years to the day after the apollo touchdown on the moon. the lander sent photographs and collected data on the martian surface. the scientific consensus from the viking experiments was that mars was self sterilizing due to radiation,olet extreme dryness of the soil, and the oxidizing nature of the soil chemistry. this search for life on mars came up empty, but valuable data about mars, both from the surface and from the orbit, was gathered. lander outpaced their durations, two to six years. to earth transmission on november 11, 1982. and roversorbiters have changed the ways we look at mars and continue to make unprecedented discoveries, while also answering long-held answers
-- questions about our solar system and beyond. we are working hard to develop the systems and technology humankind will one day used to live and work on the red planet and safely return home. if i have seen further, it is by standing up on this shoulders of giants. the eventual first human footsteps on mars have as their steppingstones the vital robotic explorers that paved the way for our journey to mars. [end video clip] bill: so a snapshot of viking, and there is so much more to tell about viking. thatll hear about some of tomorrow and details of that, but today, our three panelists are going to talk about the
issues you will find fascinating group we will start with roger, comparative climatology, to set the stage for mars and what the objective is there. all three of these are good friends of mine. walter introduced who they are and where they are from. of course, roger was the chief historian two folks before me, so the chief historian at nasa until 2002, a nasa historian then our second speaker today will be air conway, as you know formally the historian at langley -- will be and he will be talking about that nexus actually, the connection between langley and how all of that played out and how
it went from pasadena to hampton, and then finally, we will close out the presentations today talking about the science experiments on viking. as you know, glenn is a historian out at ames. all three are friends of mine, and i know they will give you a million presentation today, and so i will turn it over to roger to get started. [applause] figuring out which one is yours. roger: here we are. i am at the national air and space museum, which i am certain
is the favorite museum of anyone in this room. am i correct? notwithstanding the aerospace center, and i do have to start with a little bit of a plug. ourave just reopened to milestones halt, the building, and it has been undergoing renovation. out, and wed in and have explained it in unique and exciting ways, and the viking lander has been conserved and an exhibition to tell the story in a wonderful way, so look.,, and it would be a pleasure to show you around. what i want to do today is talk about venus and mars, the three sisters when we talk about life in the solar system, and
notwithstanding possibilities of moves around a jupiter and saturn, but i want to take you back to the 19th century to begin with, and just to emphasize, venus and mars have both been places where we have fantasized -- that might be kilos strong a term -- at least, we have speculated that life could have existed there. venus in chanted us in all kinds of ways. it is our closest neighbor. it is the closest in size, and then that sheet of clouds around it gave it an aura of mystery that we were not able to know too much about. mars, of course, is part of this long believed that there might life there or past life, something that we are exploring today, and it was not until we were actually able to send robotic explorers there in the space age that we began to see
that these two world were slightly different than what we anticipated. i cannot want to dwell on this picture, but it is basically the goldilocks. venus is you all hot. mars is to you oh earth is just right, -- venus is too hot. but venus has always been one also in which we thought there would be the possibilities of there are fascinating theories that circulated both in the 19th century as well as into the 20th century. that hope of life has always been present there. i love this quote from an astronomer in 1911. we have reason to believe it is habitable, for the conditions we name as central to live. air, liquid, and a temperature, all undoubtedly realized. that is how wrong he was.
only one in that category, and he was a serious astronomer. theory thatpopular exist, and i remember reading science fiction as a kid that sort of took this further, that the sun is gradually cooling, and at least for the terrestrial type planets, as it has done so, each of the planets have been in the so-called goldilocks zone, so mars at one time or is now a dying planet. , and venusourishing a precambrian type of experience, probably with underneath that cloud cover. that was a very common theory. that theory had currency up until the early 19th excuse, and in a -- into the early 1970's, book, the first few
pages of the book talk about that particular theory, and they were going to try to either confirm or disprove it. veryurse, they disprove it graphically, but that was a serious issue. i always like to mention this guy, because he was also a believer in venus and life existing there. now, that if 1918. obviously, there is a lot learned since that time, much of it coming with the ability of nasa, and to a lesser extent the
soviet union who sent probes to mars. those are the ideas that exist. i do not need to talk about this particular slide. obviously, we know about the thatay greenhouse effect turned out to be correct. planetary reconnaissance was something that made it possible for us to come to grips with this question of life beyond earth. mostly as humans want to believe it is there. in fact, i could take a poll in this room. in fact, i will. how many of you believe that life exists somewhere outside of the planet? believe?do not nobody is willing to raise their hand. ok, there is a couple. i ask that a lot, and overwhelmingly, people say yes. i believe it is out there. by the way, and then i
ask the next question, do we have any evidence of it, and we do not. is there, believe it and we have always looked at these planets of venus and mars as sites where this might exist. well, planetary reconnaissance became possible with the birth of space science in the early 1960's. caltech convened a planetary amospheres conference, organizer with will kellogg. they looked at a number of questions they might be able to explore as they moved to be on this planet to undertake a wreck reconnoiter for them. this would follow throughout the 1980's and even beyond. there has been a variety of missions to venus. or is a long list of them here.
i do not need to read them for you, but i will simply say it has characterized that particular planet as one in which we are reasonably confident, reasonably that life does not exist, at least not life that is beyond a microorganism stage, although there has been some recent developments in the last 20 years or so that suggested there might be traces of water molecules in venus's atmosphere. what does that mean? we are not sure, but there is still that potential out there, and there are those that hold onto that hope, that maybe we will be able to determine something more authoritative and the possibility either in the past or even presently existing. it is clearly not going to be dinosaurs, which was an earlier concept, but something out there. mars has always been a place we thought it was there.
we truly did. there has been a long-standing public interest in mars. we have been observing it for centuries, and astronomers and the general public has developed abouthole iconography what mars is and what we could expect when we got there. in the latter part of the 19th chiaparelliovanni s talked about the canals on mars and postulated that this was the creation of an advanced civilization. it had to be an advanced civilization, one that was technologically as is to get it, or they would not have been able to build those 10 ounce to move water from the can of the planet. a book ino wrote which he speculated on the nature of all of the activities something he
thought was based on scientific data about what civilization on mars might be like. he did not take very long, for novice, especially hg wells, to come up with their own and turn it into stories, and "war of the worlds" was a great example, and by the way, from cosmopolitan in 1908, when it ran a of the "war of the worlds" novel by hg wells, and this is a representation of what they envisioned martian civilization to look like. since it has lower gravity, they were probably birdlike creatures with feathers. there is all kind of weird --culation, but it is fueled
the whole first half of the 20th century, enthusiasm for the potential for life on mars. and it was real. it was not just a stuff. were were scientists who engaged in this, including a gentleman scholar, not a trained academic. lowell there, you can see the map of mars he has created, and you can see these canals, long, straight lines that he believed would deliver water from places that were barren or desert like. strong,have got centralized, probably worldwide structure of organization, and that is the story that came down, so if you ever read any of the boroughs or john carter
--or sawbout barzume that horrible film called "john carter of mars," that was the kind of stuff that was being speculated about. it did not take long to send probes to learn that it was strikingly different. i love this particular picture. it's was a cartoon from "the washington post" of lyndon johnston -- lyndon johnson looking at pictures from mariner , which reached mars, and his question is, are these of mars or vietnam? those of you who are a little older may get the joke. those of you who are not, it may not. conflict ofa major the 1960's in which there was a lot of loss of life and destruction, and he is
characterizing something he did not think he would find on mars, were nothat anticipated at all, and, indeed, i can recall as a kid in grammar mid-1960's, the textbook that we used in science class talked about how they knew there was life there. there had to be life there, because earth observation had seen the pattern changes on the knowce, and like you plants dying at the end of the season or something like that, and the speculation was, well, it is probably not sophisticated something like a plant life that might be doing this, and this was the mid-1960's. nevermind the fact that i did go to public school in south carolina, so that might have made a difference, but my suspicion is that was a textbook
that was used a lot at the time in a lot of different places in that same period. began was not until nasa to explore mars in a serious way that we began to learn differently. a great dealed about it. by the way, here is one of the to give youriner 4 an idea of what i'm talking about. tohave had many missions mars, and we have characterized it in ways that probably are not a surprise to those who began the exploration in the 1960's. a series of flybys and some rovers ann landers, as well, and they all have been remarkably set of developments that change the nature of what we think about mars, but our hope, our desire to believe that there is life there has not abated. or at the very least past life there has not abated, in spite
of the fact that we have failed ,he bar to confirm any evidence to uncover any evidence to support that contention. may be there.ably we have not found any ironclad to believe it yet. no formal, confirming evidence. biking, of course, is one of the greatest missions nasa has undertaken. there is no question about that. that soft landing on mars in 1976 with those two landers and w orbiters that continue to do very important work -- and two orbiters that continue to do important work was an important mission. technology aboard to try to determine if there might be support for this contention of life.
we did not find anything that was a consensus count on this. weber, we did find a picture of a face on mars. which has been used by the ufo community for years as a reason to believe it is out there. a survey or took a picture of the same location a number of years later and found that that picture that you see at the right, it is just the and the way in which the picture was taken and the time of day that led to that so-called face. nonetheless, we still see this pop up over and over and over and over. again, most recently in a really fundamental way and in a feature film that nasa helped with. inled "mission to mars," 2000, i believe, and that become sort of the centerpiece of the end of the story.
oh, my goodness gracious. a bit of a problem. but we have yet to determine whether or not there is life or was life on mars in a definitive way. we have taken lots of pictures. have not really been successful. there have been a lot of failures, the u.s. has had the most successes, and by all means, we should celebrate that, but we also need to recognize that it is hard to go to mars and do anything useful there. five to 10 went emissions since 1990 have failed. one only partially successful. -- five to 10 missions since 1990 have failed. i hope we will continue to search for that possibility that life may have existed.
speculated, and i love the wit behind this. when the mars observer disappeared in 1993, en route to those that are suggested that in the aftermath of the viking landings, the martians created a global defense system, and anything that came nearby, they just nailed and took out. and then this google cartoon suggests that particular story. obviously, it did not happen because we have had a lot of landings and that time, but we continue to be energized by the possibility that life is out there, and nothing says more about that than they mars meteorite, and we all know the story. there was the potential that this meteorite might have had some evidence of ancient martian life a part of it. it was vetted properly,
published, and created the greatest furor i think i saw when i was that nasa, and this went down to a presidential press conference with bill clinton, talking about this potential, and while it proved out that there were other explanations that were more consistent with what we ended and about media rights and the elements that they found there, it nonetheless incited a lot of attention and has continued to do so. mostly, i would contend that that is due to the contention for life, because that is really what we want to know as humans. ag eliot -- geologist may not be focused on that, but a lot of the rest of us are, and 2000, and it is time for me to quit. my director is giving me the high sign here. these follow the water scenario has yielded all kinds of life on evidence about
mars, but we have yet to confirm that, so my poor question i guess i would ask about all of this is so what? findthink we will still some evidence of life on mars and maybe even on venus, but there has been a whole succession of inconclusive evidence. incrementally, i think we want to believe, and every disconfirming piece of evidence does not force us to say no there was never any life there. we typically say we have not looked in the right place or in the right way, we have not asked the white -- right questions, and we carry on. tagline from the x-files, i want to believe, and so do i. i would like to believe that there is life out there, and i hope we find it. but the clock is ticking. thank you very much. [applause]
walt: and now, it chief historian conway. eric: ok, for those of :ou who have not been -- erik for those of you who have not been, this is jpl. we are heading into another one. the story i want to tell you is about a mission originally called voyager. that youot the voyager are probably used to, the two spacecraft that went to jupiter and saturn, and then one continued on to uranus. this is a later project that you
on the same name. this one is a project that i will talk to about today, started in 19 to two, and it began as a means of developing a means of technology to land on mars. washe early 1960's, jpl having a lot of torrent -- having a hard time. bill mentioned the leader lunar impac- the tors. mission, 1965, and these lander studies are going on this whole time, and there was the little film clip we made that tells a little bit more about voyager here. [video clip] ♪ announcer:: at the beginning of
the space race, jpl talk to nasa. knew how hard it really was to reach another planet. roles, a reversal of nasa was now pushing the bold missions. the agency wondered, the massive rockets needed to launch moon, theyto the used for robotic missions to the planets. >> the ideas gained favor at national -- nasa headquarters. to mars. that the 575t pounds we were able to send byiner 4 would be succeeded 50,000 pounds. this is insane. >> two large spacecraft with entry cap sills, two of them, all sat on top of a big saturn 5.
-- entry capsules. announcer: lander's would search for life on the surface. it was very fortunate for all of us and everybody that that thing got canceled. erik: we make these little films about ourselves, in about the dozen years i have been at jpl in part because they give us the opportunity to digitize old film, to collect and digitize old images and to capture on modern, high definition video tape, remember some of the key actors before they pass along. since we did this, both of those gentlemen have passed away. what we thought he was jpl's perspective on this program, the classscale saturn 5
mission. they did not think it was reasonable in the 1960's with the facilities, knowledge, wentwer, and yet, this ahead because this is what nasa headquarters wanted, and the mars, youtory in should see it in the library. it is red, as the planet is. dragging feet. disinterest, wanting to do more modest missions. so a super specter of i want you to keep in mind. out -- this plays voyager, the saturn 5 class, jpl, as he saw, was not enthusiastic.
you are approaching something of apollo itself, and what brings about its demise in the packaging is actually an error , and now the johnson space center part, but what had , ipened was the congressman of the he is the chair committee, was barry supportive of voyager. idea, but from his perspective, the space center rfp, for proposals for a mars sample return, and this was far, far out of what they wanted to do. to mars orssion venus by 1975 or 19 87 is now and has always been out of the
question. anyone who persists in this the seleka should resources at this time is going to be stopped, and in the process of stopping it, voyager went away, too. historian of technology by training, and i mostly like to tell stories about engineering relative to other people. it a sense of project management, an abject failure. it does not go anywhere, but it certainly has an offspring, he gets it served as the umbrella under which a number of technology development are undertaken by the research center that then makes them the place to go when nasa headquarters once to reformulate a more modest mars mission, so i want to talk about one specific area of that. led.e voyager program, jpl , industry,contracts
and design study, and in the and langley and industry developed some models. in this case, i chose this. you cannot really read it back there, but it shows three possible entry densities for the mars atmosphere that the lander might have to be designed to. these are necessary for systems. you're probably all more familiar with the general landing on mars, which came from gain, and with a high unknown density variation, so you could not do what is frequently done here in this atmosphere. the variation at sea level is 4%. so things do not work as well, and worse, you cannot check your performance as well.
so a series of programs to look at, in this case, parachutes is what i'm going to talk about here. parachute performance in such deployed atospheres supersonic speed. planetary parachute program. and i am showing you from one of their tests. we have really changed in the way we think and process imagery, i think, and we began using windtunnel simulations to test potential shoots. chutes. 1968.s for mars is 2.7 in 1967. you see it did not go perfectly. but the parachute generally held together.
and i think these activities, these engineering activities gave langley the technological edge. it had another advantage in its performance on its first with lunaron orbiter. a little bit more about lunar orbiter and surveyor, which was done by jpl. jpl wasarly 1960's, working on both of those, in order to her and a lander. orbiter and a lander. discovered it would not really worked out. the lander would have to be too different. they were more interested in doing the lunar lander job, and so they kind of dragging their and on the orbiter parts, they were not point to do something, and they went looking
for someone else. about the same time, and the timeframe is a little hard to parse out, rca has developed a spy satellite for the cia. this is all very classified and sometime in the 1990's, it became the leader orbiter. -- the lunar orbiter. they approached langley about managing it. and that, in essence, is what happened. langley hired a man by the name of jim martin to manage that program away from the aviation. it went on to great success. i have this poster hanging back in my office when i was asked at jpl. [laughter] whatk: was in my
office, because the lunar explorer was very successful. hand, goton the other a lesser public reputation, shall i say. it was quite successful, about seven landings, and a enormous crossover. when started, nasa headquarters to handle it with a contractor in carver city. the contractor had a lot of trouble, and that management style was eventually reverse. jpl people,with bringing a lot of it back in-house. there was a robotic program lefte viking, and then it a bad taste in her mouth about contract management, and they wanted to go back to doing in-house, so i think the stories also give langley a leg up when it comes to figure out how to
repackage voyager. at anyway, some were more successful missions. as i mentioned, this was managed by jim martin. hired in 1964, he was given the voyager task about two months before, so therefore it became his job to figure out how to fix it. was aartin had to do little bit different than what langley had traditionally done. as a research center, it had done research. it had not done large-scale project management. it had not done a lot of there were, and extensive ties to industry because of his work in aviation, jp so, he went to work with to reformulate what becomesl known there he briefly as titan/mars. titan mars.
withy of 1968, his work had managed to resolve the issue of who would manage this. initially, jpl was looking at what would be a more reasonable mission but could not check up the boxes of understanding all of the things that had to be done for landing, as i understand the story, so it became that jpl built the orbiter's in-house. possibility was what was known as a flyby, what is similar as what was done by another later. it dropped and continued on. and langley research center would manage it, which would be contracted to industry. no facilities for
building that kind of thing, and finally, there is a third factor in that the headquarters wanted langley to continue to be a larger player in the space part of the nass enterprise. that was one of the reasons it manage the lunar orbiter. headquarters wanted someone to do the job, and not jpl. film, you already saw it before, i clicked it from the same video. it just shows you what they meant by out of orbit, because we had not done it, at least not for mars. 1968 is when this out of orbit mission is chosen, and the name of viking is assigned. this had not actually been langley's recommendation. they had advocated for the flyby because it was simpler, more
attractive, and maybe lower cost, but it was not deemed it by the nasa leadership at the time. not sufficient enough to beat the russians. and i am always exactly on time, because i wanted to leave you at the end of this talk with the vehicles under construction, but as i went around, and understood its jpl never digitized images, so what i am leaving you when they built and assembled the dynamic test model of the vehicles, proving the assembly could actually be done. this image is from november 1973. [applause] walt: if you are filled with
burning questions in your mind, we will have a question and answer session, it will be after glenn. glenn: thank you. design a needed to logo to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing, would you pick a blue sky or a red sky? they developed a number of logos that could be used in conjunction with this, and they chose both. as we introduce our talk, so the events surrounding the week of july 20, 1976, were incredibly exciting. when the lander landed, it was and they hadd up,
programmed in two photographs to be taken so that they could be andvered fairly quickly, for nasa to be able to confirm that the lunar had landed on mars. the image you see was the first image to come through. directly making sure that the pad, had, in fact, touched the ground, that the ground was solid, that it looks like the lander was bright. was up bright. the camera was a facsimile. or those of you do not know scannedx machines, it scanned -- it scanned from left to right. this is as it came through, about 5:00 in the morning, half an hour after it had landed.
it was a stunning experience, i am sure, for everyone in the room. a couple of hours later, the second image appeared, higher resolution, showing a panorama of the landscape. again, very exciting for those on the team, able to describe what mars might actually be like and that they would find biological life. now, a day after that, munication was improved with the lander, and they decided to use the landers to take a color picture. they had that capability, putting the image through a three color lens. was thee that came back one that the nasa imaging team released to the public, and in doing the imaging, the team lead said this is a wonderful depiction.
is notnow know that mars just a red dot in the sky. we can actually see it as a planet. it all must looks like it could be a western desert with the red rocks and the blue sky, and jim team,k, on the imaging -- he said, wait a second. the sky really should be read, and everybody thought about that and they went back to their computers, recalibrated the image and realized that all that time they had spent interpreting the image that had appeared so quickly that they made a mistake in calibrating wanting to be careful, a few days later, july 26, they released a corrected color image of mars, which shows the sky to be read, and now we know that mars can be either color, depending on the
atmosphere conditions, depending on when in the day you take the picture. and then they took a picture of mars at sunset, which saw that -- that bluet tint. the experiment. describing the second biological experiment, reflecting back on the blue sky, it is a good way to start. the first lesson to be learned is that everybody in this room needs to get a good night sleep. the first thing that everybody on the project learned. is that working inside a fishbowl is very different, and the viking really -- unlike what the apollo was. back quickly.me
the results took some time to interpret. be the case that the scientists expect it would take some time to figure out what was going on. it took a lot of time to explain some of the misconceptions that had been out there about what the situation on mars was. turns our attention to earth, a term that are all fake and used at the time, saying it will pay for us to look at mars in terms of what we know about the earth, but we also need to be open to the possibility that things could be very different, simply because you expect the sky to be blue, it does not mean that you should not question that, and check your data. so in terms of putting the biological experiments into historical context, something you're going to hear a lot about
from people you are hearing from tomorrow. everybody that i have spoken reflects tremendous excitement about everything they are learning about mars, very quickly, and trying to make sense of it. the history of viking is usually told, academic history, in context of exobiology, the search for life. if you want to read a book about it, another former nasa historian has written about it from that perspective, and to his mind, it focuses to understand the connection between life and atmospheres, and to some degree, that is how a lot of people understand the viking experience. it to some degree brought an end to our search for life on mars. two different topics.
intelligence, looking for at astro looking ,hemistry and carbon molecules planetary space, looking at exit planets, the type of organisms we find here on earth, but what i would like to do in the short time i have is to look at this, and here the history is not as well developed. there is a history done by the nasa history program soon after the nasa dust viking program ended, and it is a tremendous peopleof work that the put into making it a success, and then if you want to look at history, it picks up later. a book trying to understand the engineering required to get to mars and to understand it. what i would like to do, to a itree, the viking program --
did not happen for 17 years, but a lot of what was learned in andng made that possible, expansion of the engineering model, which is basically how scientists understand the planet to be so they can develop technology to land there. another reason for a precursor, if you look at this, you have got the orbiters that talked -- it combined the two and gave us a more complete, combined picture of what mars , the data we headed over to make sense of what mars was like, so here is a very quick rundown of the signs returned from viking. there is a lot more going on with viking than just the biological experiments. the orbiter, of course, was primarily for imaging. it creates the resolution of the photographs we have, and 10%
showed to the degree we had that realize the effects of water on the surface. spectrometer that showed the water in the atmosphere, and when the lander separated from the orbiter and went through the atmosphere, there were instruments on that, and that was probably the biggest contribution that it may to the model. we are all very well aware of the challenges of coming through the atmosphere. this was the first time it had been done and the first of we got good, solid data. and what is going on in the upper atmosphere, the ionosphere , then, the atmosphere structure , once it separated, we were able to see slowly moving to the atmosphere the density, the temperature, so that we could understand it better.
on mars,lander was there is what i would call some incidental data discovery. it returned some data about what the soil looked like. particles, to see whether they stuck together, to give us some sense of what we needed to do to do the landing better. it returned some very interesting information about the content of the soil. of course, there were imagers, two cameras, what the service of mars looks like, but also a reference for the experiments that they were preceding. and then there was a lot to be gained from the radio signs, looking at the shift in the radio, to understand how quickly it was moving, computationally.
were the more active instruments, the more complicated instruments. there was a seismology instrument that said something about the structure of the core. that was something that did not work properly. it failed to deploy. there was a meteorology station, basically a weather station that recorded temperatures, wind direction, wind speed. than five years, two different places on the planet. tremendous data that we got about whether patterns on mars. the weather was very different from earth, but being able to talk about martian weather was something to do on a regular basis. spectrometerence
was a fairly standard instrument at the time. it was basically to describe the composition of major mineral elements and organic elements in the martian soil. spectrometer. it basically allowed nasa scientists to explore the molecular organic material on mars. that showedantly, .here were no carbon molecules we sort of set the tone for to happen in a biology experiment package. now, the biology experiment package was a big deal. it had been in development for almost a decade. they were not extensive and to the became part of viking, and then they became very extensive, in the fact there is a sealed container about the size of a gallon milk jug.
very light, many hundreds of thousands of parts, hundreds of things that needed to operate, many different types of sensors, so it was a very complex piece of machinery. that said, it worked perfectly from it during perspective. there is one issue with a soil sample, but other than that, everything on the machine work as it should have, and this is something i might nasa has ever done before in the sense of an experiment. -- and this is something that nasa had never done before in the sense of an experiment. the pressure within the vessel, time for the samples to be incubated, such that we learned an enormous amount about the chemistry of mars, and my time is running up, but this is a picture of how complicated the biological was. shows an image of all of
the different parts of the machine that had to be put in there. below that is a picture of the valid experiment package, of how small it was to do, how much it did, and they got an exchange experiment, a laboratory, very heavily tested, very heavily calibrated. these machines were taken to all sorts of potential sites around the earth to see if they could detect life there in those extreme environments, and then in the bottom, we see two people , two degree v polar opposites of the biological experiment. , athe bag is richard young the biology program office. them toy encouraged
come up with machines that could automatically, remotely, without human intervention, identify the possibility of microbial life. ofrepresented in the telling the story the sort of enthusiasm of the possibility of finding life on mars and developing robotics, with a robotics laboratory that could, in fact, do that. now, i do not have time to go , but theof the nuances basic outline of the story is , they loaded soil into the apartment, and a few days after that, all three of the biological experiment packages returned something that looked like signs of life, but not exactly, and in trying to find out how it did not fit the model, the scientists involved in the program, and at that point scientists around the world, were exploring whether or not these could be biological effects or whether or not they were chemical effects from the
surface. unfortunately, we did not know at that time a lot about oxidizing minerals on the surface. since then, we know a tremendous amount. and one of the heroes of history, he pieced together very complicated life sciences that served as the fundamental research organization, not just exobiology,ogy -- but it was to come up with a consensus of opinion of what the results showed, and this was within a fishbowl in the viking program, to explain to the press that there are these results, and what take a long time to figure out exactly what is going on. we think a lot of it has to do
with the surface chemistry of mars, and we just going to have to go back, and even if nasa does not have the ambition, wherewithal, funding for another theriment that would allow detection of life, we can at least go back, look at the that allowedsion us to understand a look at more about mars, and that is why i think viking is so historically significant, not simply sending the life science package up there and making some ambiguous statement about life, but rather starting a final process. [applause] glenn: thank you. have someright, we time for some questions and answers, and our moderators, please make your way if you have , and we will endeavor
to answer your questions from a historical perspective. and while people are making their way to the microphone, let me take the moderator a positive privilege and throw the first question out. mars, and then there is a long gap in exploration. what is the story behind that? do you want to take a shot at it, erik? you need a microphone, as well. erik: ok. i think it is not. ok. thisg no planetary -- , 1978,y goes into change
1979. never getting rid of the planetary findings. that went on for a couple of and then mars observer. and it turned out that mars observer worked, but there are political reasons why there is scienceng for planetary in that time other than galileo. >> probably the biggest question that nasa could have answered,
l, bute results were nul it did not return the absolutely yes answer that would have driven funding for the mars mission. a time oft became people were trying to make sense of the data that was returned, and it was not as interesting or compelling as the story had been up to then. walt: thanks. i think we have a question now. >> i have a question about the d cart right. i understand he may have been working on voyager, the program described, and then he came down here or something like that? and you can elaborate more . ed told metory that
when i interviewed him probably about 1999 or 2000 was that he was sent down here to make sure that viking was completed successfully, but also, as i mentioned in my talk, to help further push likely being more into this space and nasa business, because it was a great deal of resistance to that within the population, a research center. aerodynamicists. and it is very hard to switch tracks entirely and to go into this kind of substantial project management. that edis a quick story told me. he did not tell me any stories about being fired at headquarters or anything like that but that he had been shipped down here specifically.
walt: other questions? >> these days at langley and other places, we have so many competing priorities that we are always trying to succeed in multiple arenas and multiple large projects. during thee case viking days, or was truly the entire center and large chunks of the agency pushing towards the success of this one mission? erik: i will let you answer a question, and then maybe i will. bill: all right, there are always been these can eating priorities, and that has always been the case. apollo era, reaching the moon was an overarching objective of nasa. there were other activities that were under way, and they had their priorities, as well. there is a research program that is underway. there is lifting body research. there is all kinds of things taking place, all of them --
there is a good thing and a bad thing about them. if you have a laser focus on one good,ive, in sum, it is because everyone is try to accomplish the same goal, that the downside of that is if you are successful, then what, and i think nasa felt a little bit of that at the end of the apollo era, but the priorities of other missions are also very real, and we cannot minimize those, even though he went through a 30-your period of the space shuttle, and -- even thoughy we went through a 30-your period 830- space shuttle -- period of the space shuttle. erik: there is one thing during the viking program, engine
research, very important to making jet aircraft, commercial jet aircraft more acceptable. there has been a lot of resistance outside of the original handful of cities because they were so much louder , apparently louder than propeller driven aircraft, and that was a relatively deal that was completely parallel with biking. walt: i would take that as an opportunity for a plug. you can find it in the langley library or on the and this is by, ad. me around to the nasa website, as well, so feel free to download and read.
about the things, mentioned, as erik there was a lot about the langley element of this. and then the centaur. again, taking privilege of being , a question that addresses all three of you, and that is from a historian's perspective, what you have told is unique, what lessons might for ongoingm that policy on mars explosion or any other nasa program, for example? we will start with roger here, sort of the larger planetary question. roger: i believe that a lot of the public, anyway, is driven by they want to know
whether or not there is life beyond this planet, and that may be one of the greatest questions of humankind throughout the ages. are we alone in the universe? time, we hadirst the potential of coming close to , andring the question viking, of course, had a very public role in trying to thereine whether or not was some biological material that they might encounter on the red planet, and that was a major the mission. not the only part, by any means, in i am sure there were people associated who would say, wow, we were doing all of this other stuff. i ensure that is true. the public perspective, i think the life story is important, and it was played up by celebrity scientists, like carl sagan, who thought they
were going to find civic, and ity ballyhooed about regulate, like on "johnny carson" at night, and the evidence of that, or the lack of any evidence to support that issibility of life on mars think did tend to dampen people's spirits on some of these things, and there was debate within the science community beforehand. there is famous exchanges murray sagan and bruce at jbl. he is accused of overselling this as the impetus for the mars, and if we do not return results that are what the public wants to hear, they will not be interested in continuing, and at some level, you might be correct, not entirely, but at some level. anybody else want to add?
glenn: i think i will approach this as government function. people started thinking about what a mission to mars might look like, that it should contain a detection experiment to see if there was life there. that was a colossal experiment, a colossal question, something that everybody at the time needed to be addressed. if you are going to mars, surely there is a way to add that experiment to it. and then as the decade went on, and the spacecraft was being pieced together, and costs were an issue as it was ramped up, and they questioned whether or not that was the most important question. putting a lander on mars to accomplish it, and it turned out ,n the long history of things and unexpected answer, that was
-- they could be going to planets and collecting data, which is what the lander dead, and the orbiter was on the mission. that is improving the engineering model, collecting what sort of minerals were available there, expecting something in the future, some buddy who is an intern, or somebody who is working for private industry, or somebody working with a space agency that is not a pioneer like the united states has been, is going to use colonize mars or grow plants on mars or do something really unique. you know, the 1960's was a period of optimism in terms of what nasa was doing in being able to pose big questions. people were expected to ask these sorts of things. it was the right thing to do. it has sort of shifted since then. kepler is the spacecraft up there identifying all of these potential exit planet candidates
and has essentially picked up the mantle of the experiment of viking. it is a small program, but it is asking these fun at questions, and a lot of the data it is getting back is asking. it is not directly about finding an analog to earth. it is about answering and taking an ambitious step and taking those questions. so, you know, i think that is a lesson. a different time period in terms of optimism, and nasa across this world in terms of space exploration, and i wish we could get back to that time period. roger: it is interesting you brought up kepler, because it is routinely brought up at those visitors at the air and space museum, and i totally agree with
about how we should characterize what we are learning about exit planet -- planets, but what they asked over and over again, have they found earthlike planets? have we found planets we could colonize? have we found planets that have creatures that we can communicate with, and that is sort of the beginning and the end of what most people think of when they think of these ranks, and i do not know if we need to manage expectations more effectively or if we need to have a better education system, may be both, but it is an interesting challenge that i see as we are trying to deal with the general public to try to talk to them about these kinds of questions. walt: sir?
>> in less than 24 hours at the podium, we will hear the latest chapter of that story, so we can come back tomorrow. walt: absolutely. an advertisement. more at the end, so listen to what he says. sir? late 2030. i wonder what will be the biggest challenges to overcome? walt: so from the historian perspective, humans to mars? : i have already said this in print, so i am already in trouble. is it feasible? yes. are we going to have the political will to spend that much money? i do not think. so that is my answer.
it could be done, but i do not think it will be done. roger: i can speak, and i have done this a number of times. it tar -- terms of humans to mars, believe me, i would love to see that happen. it is a large program, and it would be a very large and expensive and time-consuming program. to beld only be able accomplished with a major commitment, probably a multinational commitment, but at the very least a major, probably $1 trillion commitment, to do it. if we want to use history as a model, you know, we decided to send humans to the moon in the 1960's for a very specific political -- to respond to a very specific political crisis, and that was the threat of the soviet union, and to demonstrate , this largeries
socioeconomic, political, in some cases political confrontation, and so the question i always have to ask is if it was that kind of confrontation that triggered the decision-making process to go to the moon, what would be that trigger mechanism in which the public, the congress, the president, and probably the leadership of other nations, as well all come together and say the answer to that crisis is sending human expedition to mars. i cannot think of one. if you can, i am all years -- ears. but i think it is a real challenge in terms of a mission. now, if we can fight a way to do it within the funding profile of nasa, everyone will cheer, but i have not seen that anywhere.
walt: even in the 1960's, and those of us who went through the 1960's working as this as a fat, -- the opposition emerged soon afterwards. it was already on the fast track. it was moving ahead. it had a certain galvanizing effect. wassoviet union doing it having a galvanizing effect. mid-sixties. but there was widespread opposition -- so much support for the apollo program was not that strong, about 50%. even in those circumstances.
erik: there is a legend that the apollo program was flush with money, but their budget was actually cut every year from fiscal 1965 on. roger: and there was an attack every year in congress, and it was about reducing money spent on apollo. more questions? sir? >> how langley got the viking , onlym as opposed to jpl focused on aeronautics. about it being successful. planetary wise. and jpl. i am wondering what the path was.
erik, that is a question for you. erik: i thought i was going to get that question. is yes, biking was successful, and in the longer term, no, and what i cannot tell comes about.e no my guess is that it happens every few years, and they decided they do not have the funds to continue with the missions at langley, so i think the next fully orbital mission langley has is calypso in the late 1990's, i think. and other than that, it provides instruments. it does research. it is a research center, after to, but, yes, that effort show langley into the space business did not last very long.
walt: this hints back to the issue i was talking about. you have got multiple centers working on programs, a very complex situation. ,ou have got martin marietta and then you have got headquarters and their perspective. would like to ask each of you, if you have an opinion on what did we learn abouthe viking experience what the proper orientation is of nasa in terms of managing complex programs across multiple centers? about how to do that right? are the things he learned we should not do? -- areheadquarters have there things we learned we should not do?
roger: i don't know. i am taking notes. getting in more appropriate as a historian, i am forgetting his said this. somebody commented to me, one of the engineers here, that nasa works best when headquarters pretends to manage the centers, and the centers pretends to be managed, with the emphasis on the pretend. [laughter] erik: so i am nothing only one who thinks that the headquarters should stay out of engineering. a general lesson though it's hard to draw from viking, orbiterspl built the in-house, like they did for its previous spacecraft, and the contract with martin marietta in without, to my knowledge, sending the hundreds had to sendat jpl
to hughes, but that leaves is doing, because jpl it in house, which we still do today, and there is a contract management model which is quite not the type of deal that beginning,s at its but also, it is kind of the all falling down the contractors' un surveyor became. so i think they achieved some sort of a balance with a good the three,m between which has happened in other times. it seems to be very effective. it also seems very hard to do. not everyone succeeds at it. walt: glenn? glenn: working on viking, they are very proud of the contributions they have made. lockheed martin, previously martin marietta, is celebrating
this week, very similar to what is happening at langley with the role they played in getting the equipment to work. mental as what nasa had done in terms of developing specifications -- it nasa hadmental as what done. in terms of your questions, i do not know what we could say about this contractor networks. to some degree, viking is a very underexplored historical topic. there are a few wonderful books out there. you know, langley has not stood up the history program that would allow them to have a person sitting up here, answering those questions about the role of the center. one man is doing a wonderful job as a history point of contact, but there is no time to explore a very complementing -- complex question, how things developed from the apollo air a time to
the viking era time. tofrom the apollo era time e.e viking era tim that, and applies. we thank you all very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: c-span3 at american history tv with historic locations. american history tv is in prime time to introduce you to programs you could see every weekend on c-span3. it includes lectures, visits to college classrooms to hear lectures by top professors. american artifacts takes a look at treasures at museums and archives. ica, with archival footage, and the civil war, when you hear but the people who shaped the civil war, and the presidency focuses on u.s.
presidents and first ladies. learn about their politics and legacies, all this month in prime time and every weekend on american history tv on c-span3. announcer: coming up next on lectures in history, professor robert watson discusses the 1824 and 1828 elections, which resulted in the sixth and seventh presence of the united states. according to professor watson, these are among the most important and scandalous of american history. about 50 minute. prof. watson: today's topic, to look at the early elections in the 1800s, the elections of 1824 and 1828. before you roll your eyes and nod off to sleep, these elections in particular were among the most important in america's history, and two of the most intriguing as we will