We've Found Life on Mars

By Sam Gibbs on at

Well here’s a turn up for the books. We apparently found life on Mars back in 1976 with NASA’s Viking mission, but it was rejected because three experiments didn’t match up. Now new data analysis has concluded that, actually, we did in fact find life on Mars, and there’s a scientific paper to prove it.

Don’t get your hopes up for any little green men though, we’re talking about Martian microbes here, but then would you really want ET to come take over our nice little blue planet?

The two Viking probes NASA sent to the Red Planet landed in 1976 and began testing the soil for signs of life. They heated soil samples, released chemicals into them and watched for a reaction indicative of chemicals needed for life. They conducted three separate experiments, with one called the Labelled Release experiment producing data that hinted at life on Mars.

The scientists put this data through a series of complex modern analysis, and the end result was that they could conclude that, yes, we had found life on Mars. Or at least the data “provide considerable support for the conclusion that the Viking LR experiments did, indeed, detect extant microbial life on Mars.”

I’m still a tad sceptical, but there’ll always be further missions to corroborate this data. And hell, it’d be nice to think we weren’t totally alone in our solar system, even if it is just a bunch of Martian bugs. What’s the betting they’ll end up causing a plague or something equally horrific if we bring them back to Earth? [IJASS via The Register]

Image credit: Wikipedia