A NASA scientist said the space agency found signs of life on the planet Mars during the 1970s, however, the discovery was ruled out since the evidence was inconclusive.
Gilbert V. Levin, who was the principal investigator of an experiment carried out in 1976 by NASA's unmanned Viking missions to the planet Mars, published an opinion last week in the journal Scientific American arguing that the experiment in which he participated He found positive results that proved traces of life on the 'red planet'.
The probes sent by NASA provided new knowledge about the planet and its results were surprising at the time.RELATED
The experiment called Labeled Release (LR) took a sample of Martian soil that received a drop of nutrients that were diluted with a radioactive carbon isotope. If some form of life emitted carbon dioxide on the surface of Mars, the reactive label would be released and the experiment would detect it.
The two Viking probes performed the experiment. One collected a sample of the soil that was exposed to sunlight and the other collected a sample that it found under a rock. In both samples a life signal was detected, however the experiment was repeated a week later with the same sample, but the probes could not detect organic matter.
Levin and Dr. Patricia Ann Straat, together with NASA, concluded that what caused the detection of LR was a chemical reaction that mimicked life.
Four decades after the experiment, both Levin and Straat think otherwise and have reconsidered the findings by arguing that the results they obtained were a first sign of an unequivocal proof of extraterrestrial life.
The publication mentions that laboratory studies have shown that some terrestrial microorganisms could survive and grow on the red planet.
The scientist suggests that NASA should repeat the experiment during the new mission that the space agency will perform in 2020 when the launch of the 2020 Rover Mars is scheduled to land on the planet Mars in February 2021.
The new vehicle will carry an instrument known as SHERLOC that will help you look for ancient signs of life in the formation of rocks and samples of the soil of Mars.
The Rover Mars 2020 will also conduct a test on oxygen production and observe the Martian climate to evaluate a possibility of establishing a human colony on the red planet in the future.
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