2 0 0 9 P a r i s / M e u d o n

IWCMO Conference

Audouin DOLLFUS: Search for Life on Mars at Pic du Midi and Meudon Observatories

Professor Audouin DOLLFUS prepared a talk to be given at the IWCMO, but unfortunately he could not attend because he became sick on the days. Here so given are an Abstract of the talk and the prepared PPt manuscript

ABSTRACT: In 1945, a project was initiated at Meudon Observatory to try to detect life at the surface of Mars, using telescopic observations. We tried to constrain the characterization of a life by high resolution telescopic inspection with the Pic du Midi telescope, photometric and polarimetric measurements with new analyzers, reflectance spectroscopy and balloon borne spectroscopy.

On the eve of spacecraft technology exploration, around 1965, we had the proof that phanerogram type vegetation and organisms of complex texture are not compatible with the way the light is reflected and not present at the surface of Mars. If a life exists, it has to be of small or microscopic size grains or as microbes. However, the optical properties observed could also be explained as mineral dust grains displaced by seasonal wind effects.

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Audouin DOLLFUS, Meudon Observatory


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