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More than 30 years after NASA's Viking landers found no evidence for organic materials on Mars, scientists say a new experiment on Mars-like soil shows Viking did, in fact, hit pay dirt. The new study was prompted by the August 2008 discovery of powerful oxygen-busting compounds known as perchlorates at the landing site of another Mars probe called Phoenix.
Contrary to 30 years of perceived wisdom, Viking did detect organic materials on Mars," planetary scientist Christopher McKay, with NASA's Ames Research Center in California, told Discovery News. "It's like a 30-year-old cold suddenly solved with new facts."
Scientists repeated a key Viking experiment using perchlorate-enhanced soil from Chile's Atacama Desert, which is considered one of the driest and most Mars-like places on Earth, and found telltale fingerprints of combusted organics -- the same chemicals Viking scientists dismissed as contaminants from Earth.
New evidence for organics on Mars does not mean Viking found life, cautions McKay. "Finding organics is not evidence of life or evidence of past life. It's just evidence for organics," he said.
Originally posted by Arken
So organic materials..... LIFE on Mars!
organic - (relating or belonging to the class of chemical compounds having a carbon basis) "hydrocarbons are organic compounds"
Originally posted by SaturnFX
And I don't understand why NASA tones this down, but boasts about creating arsenic life in a lab here on earth...
They do enjoy being financed, right?
That company makes no sense to me
A re-examination of findings relayed to Earth by the probes some 25 years ago, claim the experts, show the tell-tale signs of microbes lurking within the Martian soil.
The LR experiments on both Landers coughed up puffs of radiolabeled gas - evidence for microorganisms in the soil of Mars.
"The Viking LR experiment detected living microorganisms in the soil of Mars," Levin flatly said.
Originally posted by Blarneystoner
Organics found in 1976 by the Phoenix lander...
Popsci article:edit on 4-1-2011 by Blarneystoner because: (no reason given)