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Did NASA find and kill him decades ago?

Did NASA find and kill him decades ago?

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NASA’s Viking spacecraft explored Mars in the 1970s. (File photo) © NASA/JPL

NASA discovered life on Mars and accidentally destroyed it in the 1970s, a researcher said. He has a suggestion.

Frankfurt – Is there life on Mars? This question has fascinated humanity for some time, and according to one scientist’s theory, NASA could have answered this question in the affirmative as early as the 1970s. However, rather than confirming their discovery of life on Mars, researcher Dirk Schulz-Makuch believes the research may have inadvertently wiped out that life.

In the 1970s, NASA sent two Viking landers to Mars. Each is equipped with four biological instruments to search for life on the Red Planet – and some tests have already shown positive results. But the results were inconclusive: in some experiments there were changes that could – but were not necessarily – due to organic life. Scientist Gilbert Levin, who participated in the experiments at the time, had repeatedly emphasized for years that it was possible that NASA had already discovered life on Mars. But the majority of the research community disagrees.

Find life on Mars? Two researchers are convinced of this

Now another scientist comes to the scene and supports Levin’s thesis. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astrobiologist at the Technical University of Berlin, writes in one such article Guest article on Big Think portal: “I’ve made a suggestion that some people might find provocative: that we found life on Mars nearly 50 years ago — but we accidentally killed it.”

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To understand the Schulze-McCuch theory, you must know the experiments conducted by Viking probes at that time and what their results looked like. Experiments targeting microbial metabolism and organic synthesis found evidence of life, while another instrument yielded no such results. An instrument designed to search for organic compounds detected traces of chlorinated organic matter – but at the time it was interpreted as pollution from the ground.

Research on orange compounds and compounds containing carbon
He sought to metabolize by adding radioactively detectable nutrients to the soil
Tested for carbon fixation by potential photosynthetic organisms
He studied how the gases associated with life (oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen) changed.

NASA’s Viking probes are said to have discovered life on Mars

“Vikings” project scientist Gerald Sauvin then uttered the phrase “no bodies, no life.” But today, things may look different, as Schulz-Makuch suspects in his article. A lot has changed in Mars research since the Viking probes. Many landers and other rovers have visited and explored Mars – many of them discovering organic compounds on the Red Planet, most recently NASA’s Perseverance rover. “Would Sovin still say categorically today that Viking’s test results were negative?” Schultz-Makuch asks himself.

In his article, Schulz-Makuch delves into this issue: Since Earth is a water planet, it was thought at the time to add water to experiments on Mars in order to “attract” life out of the extremely dry Martian environment. In retrospect, that approach may not have been optimal, he said. He and other experts have now discovered that in extremely dry environments on Earth there are microbes that live in salty rocks and don’t need rain—a certain amount of moisture in the atmosphere is enough for them.

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Experiments may have “swamped” life on Mars

If you pour water on these drought-adapted microbes, you’re essentially “drowning” them, says Schulze-Makuch, who makes an interesting comparison: “It would be like an alien spaceship finding you half-dead in the desert and deciding, ‘Humans need water, let’s take the guy.’ To the sea to save him. This won’t work either.”

World Theory: Many of the Vikings’ experiments involved water. It is possible that adding water caused the microbes to die after a while, which may explain some of the ambiguous results. According to Schulze-Makuch, the experiments conducted without adding water showed signs of life on Mars.

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The researchers’ theory could be tested by a new Mars mission

The scientist takes his theory one step further: he argues that microbial life on Mars could contain hydrogen peroxide in its cells to extract water directly from the atmosphere. “If we assume that indigenous Martian life may have adapted to its environment by incorporating hydrogen peroxide into its cells,” Schulze-Makuch wrote, “this may explain the ‘Vikings’ results.” The scientist said that if hydrogen peroxide was heated, it would kill Martian cells. In addition, it would be produced Large amounts of carbon dioxide, which is exactly what was measured by an instrument at the time, according to Schulze-Makuch.

But how do you determine whether the scientist is right? Was life really discovered on Mars in the 1970s? Just like Gilbert Levin, Schulz-Makuch is calling for a new mission to Mars. According to the scientist, this should be devoted primarily to the search for life in order to test his and other theories. “I can’t wait to get started on a mission like this,” Schulze-Makuch wrote.

NASA’s current Mars rovers, Perseverance and Curiosity, aim to find out if life was once possible on Mars, but they are not equipped with biological experiments to actually detect current life. (unpaid bill)

Automated assistance was used in writing this article by the editorial team. The article was carefully examined by editor Tanya Banner before publication.