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Martian Life Could Have Easily Avoided Vikings Testing

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posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 06:15 PM
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A chemical test used by the Mars Viking landers more than 30 years
ago was not sensitive enough to detect signs of alien life even if they
existed, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed soil from several harsh, Mars-like environ-
ments on Earth using the same gas spectrometry test employed by
the Viking landers.
But even in soil taken from areas teaming with microbial life, the
tests failed to register any signs of organic material.
Thus, "the Martian surface could have several orders of magnitude
more organics than the stated Viking detection limit," the resear-
chers write.

Prompted by NASA's upcoming Phoenix and Mars Scientific Labora-
tory, future missions with goals of finding signs of past or present
Martian life—the researchers replicated the Viking landing experi-
ments on soil taken from Mars-like environments here on Earth,
including Antarctic dry valleys and arid deserts in Chile and Peru.
As a control, they also examined soil from the Rio Tinto , a river in
Spain abundant in life and known to have high levels of organic
molecules.

In all the samples, the researchers found low levels of organic com-
pounds such as graphite that were not detected by the TV-GC-MS
instrument.
One possibility for the false-negative, the researchers said, is that
iron in the soil oxidized organic molecules into carbon dioxide, redu-
cing the amount of detectable material available for detection


SOURCE:
Space.com


So, it would appear Mars may indeed be home to microbial life.

I hope it is, but only time will tell.


Comments, Opinions?




posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 06:31 PM
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I never put much faith in that Viking soil sample test anyway, didn't at first they think was a positive than changed their minds?

Anyway, hopefully the new equipment will be much better.



posted on Oct, 27 2006 @ 12:57 AM
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Compare any technology today to the stuff of 20 and 30 years ago. There's no comparison.

Also...
What kind of scientists don't take chemicals in the soil screwing with their data into consideration??



posted on Oct, 27 2006 @ 01:00 AM
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I think we can add that we don't trust NASA either... but yeah this is a good revelation to make and points yet again to the probability that life is there and proof is just around the corner.



posted on Oct, 27 2006 @ 08:46 AM
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Originally posted by Scramjet76
What kind of scientists don't take chemicals in the soil screwing with their data into consideration??


Umm... They did. That's why they released the results as inconclusive and not negative.



posted on Oct, 27 2006 @ 04:40 PM
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yeah youre right cmdrkeen.

youd think they would have tested it in soil crawling with mircobial life and soil lacking microbial life here on earth. Even back in the 60s-70s you could test for such things before sending the Viking over there. I dunno. Maybe since it was a first they had no way of knowing what kind of compounds were in the soil... so they had no way to prepare. I assumed every scientist knows iron throws off organic molecule tests!!



posted on Oct, 27 2006 @ 05:01 PM
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[offtopic]
Hmm...
On the surface maybe. But under the surface?
I recently watched a short documentary/feature on life on Mars.
The documentary suggested that there were no living bacteria found on the surface, but evidence suggests that there mey be thriving life several hundred meters below ground, such as mold.
[/offtopic]


Anyway... I suggested this a couple of years ago, but was just ridiculed and scoffed at.
Our current knowledge of life is limited by what we know on our planet.
Evolution: It is proposed that life evolves according to what environments it is subject to adapt to.
For example, many animals have evolved to have two eyes, because conditions were called for it.
Who is to say that advanced extra terrestrial life even have eyes? That would suggest that they evolved from the same line as those on Earth.

So where am I going with this? If we want to be serious about finding life, we can't be limited to what we know on Earth.
It was said that the viking didn't pick up life because it's chemical detection methods was limited.
Maybe...
But maybe It was because we are looking for the chemical compounds that make up life on Earth. Martian life may be made up of something entirely different, hence why it was not found.



posted on Oct, 28 2006 @ 12:07 AM
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But maybe It was because we are looking for the chemical compounds that make up life on Earth. Martian life may be made up of something entirely different, hence why it was not found.


yes a good point. unforunately Earth is our only example of life we have to go on.



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