NASA Statement on False Claim of Evidence of Life on Mars

February 18, 2005

A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here Sunday that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water. The scientists, Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, told the group that they have submitted their findings to the journal Nature for publication in May, and their paper currently is being peer reviewed. However, according to the NASA's statement, news reports on February 16, 2005, that NASA scientists from Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., have found evidence that life may exist on Mars are incorrect.

NASA does not have any observational data from any current Mars missions that supports this claim. The work by the scientists mentioned in the reports cannot be used to directly infer anything about life on Mars, but may help formulate the strategy for how to search for martian life. Their research concerns extreme environments on Earth as analogs of possible environments on Mars.

No research paper has been submitted by them to any scientific journal asserting martian life.

Explore further: Drilling for data: Simulating the search for life on mars

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