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Viking landers may have found Martian life


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Viking landers may have found Martian life after all




22:19 23 October 2006


NewScientist.com news service


Mark Buchanan and David L Chandler


A flawed test on NASA's twin Viking spacecraft may have fooled scientists into overlooking signs of life during their examination of the Martian surface 30 years ago. Researchers now say that one of the landers' experiments was not sensitive enough to find organic molecules in the soil, despite signs of life shown by another test. Other researchers say the team may also have been fooled by the strange forms that Martian life might take.


Martians exist?... Mmmm :)





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NASA may have killed Martian life




Theory: Early NASA probes may have overlooked, even killed, Martian microbes


By Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press


WASHINGTON — Two NASA space probes that visited Mars 30 years ago may have stumbled upon alien microbes on the Red Planet and inadvertently killed them, a scientist theorizes in a paper released Sunday.


The problem was the Viking space probes of 1976-77 were looking for the wrong kind of life and didn't recognize it, the researcher said in a paper presented at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.


This new report, based on a more expansive view of where life can take root, may have NASA looking for a different type of Martian life form when its next Mars spacecraft is launched later this year, one of the space agency's top scientists told The Associated Press.


Last month, scientists excitedly reported that new photographs of Mars showed geologic changes that suggest water occasionally flows there — the most tantalizing sign that Mars is hospitable to life.


The Viking experiments of the '70s wouldn't have noticed alien hydrogen peroxide-based life and, in fact, would have killed it by drowning and overheating the microbes, said Schulze-Makuch, a geology professor at Washington State University.




Hydrogen peroxide based life... Aren't they called "Dumb Blondes" :)





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