Viking robots found life on Mars in 1976, scientists say

Viking Lander 2 image of Utopia Planitia. image by Wikimedia


New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows that NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week.

Further, NASA doesn’t need a human expedition to Mars to nail down the claim, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller, with the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, told Discovery News.

“The ultimate proof is to take a video of a Martian bacteria. They should send a microscope — watch the bacteria move,” Miller said.

“On the basis of what we’ve done so far, I’d say I’m 99 percent sure there’s life there,” he added.

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Miller’s confidence stems in part from a new study that reanalyzed results from a life-detection experiment conducted by NASA’s Viking Mars robots in 1976.

Researchers crunched raw data collected during runs of the Labeled Release experiment, which looked for signs of microbial metabolism in soil samples scooped up and processed by the two Viking landers. General consensus of scientists has been that the experiment found geological, not biological, activity.

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