Space Exploration: The Life Detector


Some time in 1966, if U.S. space exploration sticks to schedule, a strange device the size of a milk bottle will plop onto the dry crust of Mars, set itself up on three self-adjusting legs, and begin a search for life. The detector will not be looking for bug-eyed monsters or giant, exotic plants. It will be satisfied with nothing more than a faint, fluorescent glow in its own compartmented innards.

Known as a "multivator" (for multiple evaluator), the life detector was developed by Dr. Joshua Lederberg, Stanford University's Nobel-winning geneticist,...

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