NASA revisiting life on Mars question

October 24, 2006

NASA scientists in Washington are re-thinking whether they missed life on the Mars when they conducted initial Viking experiments 30 years ago.

The experiments -- in which samples were either vaporized or examined for for radioactive carbon -- may not have detected lower levels of organic life, ABC News said Tuesday. To see if this theory is plausible, scientists are testing soil from Antarctica's Dry Valleys, and Chilean and Libyan deserts.

Despite the areas' desolate conditions -- torrid sun, frigid nights and little moisture -- researcher said these places sustain life, ABC said. But in the Viking probes tested samples, no life was found, ABC News said.

More recent probes of the Martian surface found evidence of water, but if life existed, or exists, NASA researchers said the probes could not directly test for it, ABC News said.

NASA researchers said the next two Martian probes, scheduled to land in 2008 and 2010, will include analytical methods to search for life on the planet, ABC News said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Source of US intel leak outs self despite probe threat

Related Stories

Recommended for you

How to prepare for Mars? NASA consults Navy sub force

October 5, 2015

As NASA contemplates a manned voyage to Mars and the effects missions deeper into space could have on astronauts, it's tapping research from another outfit with experience sending people to the deep: the U.S. Navy submarine ...

Researchers find a new way to weigh a star

October 5, 2015

Researchers from the University of Southampton have developed a new method for measuring the mass of pulsars – highly magnetised rotating neutron stars formed from the remains of massive stars after they explode into supernovae.

NASA selects investigations for future key planetary mission

October 1, 2015

NASA has selected five science investigations for refinement during the next year as a first step in choosing one or two missions for flight opportunities as early as 2020. Three of those chosen have ties to NASA's Jet Propulsion ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.