NASA revisiting life on Mars question

Oct 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: Asteroid named for University of Utah makes public debut

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Getting to the root of the problem in space

10 hours ago

When we go to Mars, will astronauts be able to grow enough food there to maintain a healthy diet? Will they be able to produce food in NASA's Orion spacecraft on the year-long trip to Mars? How about growing ...

The difference between CMEs and solar flares

12 hours ago

This is a question we are often asked: what is the difference between a coronal mass ejection (CME) and a solar flare? We discussed it in a recent astrophoto post, but today NASA put out a video with amazing graphics that explain ...

Scientific instruments of Rosetta's Philae lander

12 hours ago

When traveling to far off lands, one packs carefully. What you carry must be comprehensive but not so much that it is a burden. And once you arrive, you must be prepared to do something extraordinary to make ...

User comments : 0