We may have already found life on Mars, Astrobiologist Says.

In all our explorations of Mars to date, no evidence has been found that meets the rigorous standards to claim that we have conclusively found life.

But, decades ago in the 1970s, when the Viking landers became the first US mission to safely land on and explore the red planet, we may have been close.

One researcher raises the possibility that life existed in a sample of Martian soil. And then, in our quest to sniff it, we snuffed it out. Just like that.

According to astrobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch of the Technical University Berlin in Germany, an experiment to detect the signs of microbial life on Mars could have been deadly. In his column posted to Big Think, he speculates that our very methods may have been destructive in and of themselves.

It behooves us, then, to consider thoroughly the ecology of Mars when designing future experiments. And, Schulze-Makuch advises, humanity ought to send another mission, dedicated primarily to the search for life, with these considerations in mind.

When they landed on Mars in 1976, the two Viking landers had a list of objectives. One of those was to perform a set of experiments designed to test the Martian dirt for biosignatures – traces of molecules that indicate the presence of life.

Source: www.sciencealert.com


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