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Possibility of life on Mars

  1. May 31, 2003 #1
    In 1976, a Viking probe landed on Mars. Strange activity in Martian soil that was similar to microbes giving off gas was detected. A subsequent test for organic matter turned out negative and it was concluded that Mars was dead. However, former mission scientist for NASA Dr. Gil Levin says that experiments that were touted as disproof of life were using imprecise tools--much less precise than those used to detect the strange soil activity. It seems that he believes that the first test did detect life.

    All information from:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 1, 2003 #2


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    The data from those past tests could not confirm the existence of life on Mars. But they don't shut the door on the possibility either.
  4. Jun 1, 2003 #3
    Yes. You are correct. The strange activity does give does provide some small evidence towards the hypothethis, though.
  5. Jun 1, 2003 #4


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    I thought what they 'discovered' with the first Viking was the cleaning solvent used on the detector before it was launched?
  6. Jun 1, 2003 #5
    Or maybe it was swamp gas... :wink:
  7. Jun 1, 2003 #6
    I don't know. I haven't heard anything like that, but I wasn't around back then. Apparently, the did find some kind of activity (According to the article).
  8. Jun 3, 2003 #7


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    Interesting, I had not heard that (and I'd be surprised if it was true giving the volatility of solvents and the low pressure environments of Mars and interplanetary space). I only heard that the detected "activity" was believed to be due to the chemical nature of the soil which, for some reason, oxidized organic compounds. But that was a while ago. Hey, maybe the new Euro-rovers being launched this week will find something new.
  9. Jun 3, 2003 #8
    god... if it turns out that there is life there it'll pretty much change how we thought about extra terrestrial life forever. what are the chances of life forming on two planets in the same solar sytem!!!!! it will seem almost impossible to rule out intelligent life elsewhere.
  10. Jun 4, 2003 #9


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    maximus: You missed the word "independently". If any life is found, there is a good chance to be linked to life on earth. Perhaps asteroids carrying microbes from earth "seeded" mars. Maybe even vice versa.
  11. Jun 5, 2003 #10

    Also, massive evidence of water erosion and oceanic collections of water are observed on Mars everyday. There's no way to cover that up. and, like where there's smoke there's fire.... where there's water there is usually life... in some format or other.

    FZ+ has a major point about interexchanges between Mars and EArth. What could also be tested is which planet got life first, at some point in time.

    Its a 6 year ride to and from Mars... so far... for humans. But I think the tests would better be done by humans... since robots have the intelligence of a half cerebral gangliaed, demented, partially blind cockroach, even with mission control backing them up.
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