This Week In History News, Oct. 20 – 26

Published October 25, 2019

Cold War-era floppy disks for nuclear management finally retired, 1970s NASA revelations of life on Mars revealed, possibly ancient bear skull unearthed.

After Decades, The U.S. Air Force Finally Retires Its Floppy Disk System For Managing Nuclear Weapons

Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Schlabach

Seeker/YouTubeLt. Col. Jimmy Schlabach holds up one of the eight-inch floppy disks used by the SACC system.

With the defense industry being a prominent pusher of advances in technology, one would think the U.S. Air Force ran a tight, ultra high-tech ship. According to Forbes, however, they’ve relied on obsolete eight-inch floppy disks to run internal communications for years — until now.

According to Lt. Col. Jason Rossi, the vintage framework — which includes the capability of launching nuclear missiles — has served the Air Force well. Nonetheless, the branch has left the past behind as of June and shifted to a “highly-secure solid-state digital storage solution” instead.

Read more here.

Former NASA Scientist Says We Found Life On Mars — In The 1970s

Mars Viking Lander

Wikimedia CommonsNASA’s Viking lander on Mars in 1976, the year Gilbert V. Levin says the agency discovered evidence of life on the red planet.

NASA has launched countless missions to Mars, but why haven’t they found any extraterrestrial life yet? Well, according to one former NASA scientist, they actually did.

In an op-ed published by Scientific American last week, Gilbert V. Levin, a former NASA scientist who led the Labeled Release (LR) life detection experiment on NASA’s Viking mission to Mars in the 1970s, laid bare his belief that the mission did in fact find proof of life on the red planet.

In his op-ed, Levin broke down how the LR tested Mars’ soil for organic matter.

The Viking probes inserted nutrients into Martian soil to see whether there would be any gaseous traces of CO2. If there were any, it would indicate that microorganisms had metabolized the nutrients, meaning there was a potential presence of life. Levin called the test “a very simple and fail-proof indicator of living microorganisms.”

Incredibly, the LR experiment yielded a total of four positive results. This, Levin argued, was clear evidence that life existed on Mars.

See more in this report.

‘Ancient’ Bear Skull Discovered By Kayaking Sisters In Kansas

Bear Skull With Measuring Tape

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and TourismThe bear skull measured 16 inches long and 8.5 inches wide. It’s one of only three skulls of its kind discovered in Kansas — the last of which was found in the 1950s.

Ashley and Erin Watt were kayaking the Arkansas River like any other adventurous pair of siblings would do. Unlike your typical boat ride, however, this one ended with an ancient grizzly bear skull in their possession.

According to a press release from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism (KDWPT), the mid-August discovery began when the two sisters saw a large skull sticking out of a sandbar. The skull was later measured to be 16 inches long and 8.5 inches wide.

Once they pulled the bone out, it was obvious this once belonged to a carnivorous predator — its large teeth a glaring clue.

Read on here.

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.