New Analysis of Data From NASA's 1976 Viking Mission Suggests Life Was Found on Mars

Posted on April 14, 2012

Sunset Viking Lander 1

Researchers looking at data from NASA's Viking missions in 1976 say the data indicates the Viking LR experiment found microbial life on Mars. The researchers conducted new mathematical analysis of the data collected by the Viking Landers. The research, was published here in the International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences.

"We conclude that the complexity pattern seen in active experiments strongly suggests biology while the different pattern in the control responses is more likely to be non-biological. Control responses that exhibit relatively low initial order rapidly devolve into near-random noise, while the active experiments exhibit higher initial order which decays only slowly. This suggests a robust biological response. These analyses support the interpretation that the Viking LR experiment did detect extant microbial life on Mars."
Discovery News has a report here on the new mathematical analysis of Viking's findings. Joseph Miller, a neurobiologist at the University of Southern California and a member the research team, told Discovery News, "I'd say I'm 99 percent sure there's life there."

National Geographic reports that Miller also conducted a previous study analyzing Viking LR data that found signs of a Martian circadian rhythm. USC has a report on Miller's previous study here. Miller says his team's re-analysis of data collected by the Viking Landers "found that something in the collected soil was apparently metabolizing nutrients - and doing so with a distinct biological rhythm that, he says, can only be found in a living cell."

You can read more about NASA's Viking mission here.

Photo: Sunset at the Viking Lander 1 Site/NASA/JPL-Caltech


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