Is This Proof of Life on Mars?

View of Mars from Viking 2 lander, September 1976. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Researchers from universities in Los Angeles, California, Tempe, Arizona and Siena, Italy have published a paper in the International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences (IJASS) citing the results of their work with data obtained by NASA’s Viking mission.
The twin Viking 1 and 2 landers, which launched in August and September of 1975, successfully landed on Mars in July and September of the following year. Their principal mission was to search for life, which they did by digging into the ruddy Martian soil looking for signs of respiration — a signal of biological activity.
The results, although promising, were inconclusive.
Now, 35 years later, one team of researchers claims that the Viking landers did indeed detect life within their soil samples.
“Active soils exhibited rapid, substantial gas release,” the team’s report states. “The gas was probably CO2 and, possibly, other radiocarbon-containing gases.”
By applying mathematical complexities to the Viking data for deeper analysis, the researchers found that the Martian samples behaved differently than a non-biological control group.
“Control responses that exhibit relatively low initial order rapidly devolve into near-random noise, while the active experiments exhibit higher initial order which decays only slowly,” the paper states. “This suggests a robust biological response.”
While some critics of the findings claim that such a process of identifying life has not yet been perfected — not even here on Earth — the results are certainly intriguing… enough to bolster support for further investigation into Viking data and perhaps re-evaluate the historic mission’s “inconclusive” findings.
The team’s paper can be found here.
Read more: www.universetoday.com and ijass.org/pdf

One thought on “Is This Proof of Life on Mars?

  1. Pingback: Life on Mars found – in 1976 • The Register « Human Body Engineer

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