Now leading aerospace agencies of the worldwith might and main they are preparing their Martian programs for exploring the Red Planet. The Mars 2020 mission will start very soon, the purpose of which will be to study the surface of Mars and find what scientists and science fiction writers have been talking about for many decades - life beyond our planet. However, one of NASA's former scientists on his blog, written specifically for Scientific American magazine, said that traces of life were discovered on Mars a long time ago - more than 40 years ago.
Is there life on Mars?
An unambiguous answer to this question, unfortunately,not yet. However, NASA senior scientist Gilbert Levin, along with his colleagues in the Labeled Release experiment in the second half of the 1970s, found, in his words, evidence of traces of the presence of life on Mars in samples of Martian soil. Soil was taken as part of the Viking program. In short, the Viking program included the launch of two spacecraft - Viking-1 and Viking-2, which were supposed to study both the orbit and the surface of the fourth planet from the Sun, as well as search for life in soil samples.
But how did you manage to detect the presence of life? According to Mr. Levin, the Labeled Release experiment was based on the experiment proposed in 1864 by the famous biologist Louis Pasteur. A couple of centuries ago, a European scientist noticed that if microbes were allowed to multiply in a nutrient solution, gas bubbles would appear on the surface of this solution. On Mars, this experiment lasted seven days (Louis only a few hours). That is, in fact - this is a test for the presence of bacterial metabolism, which indirectly speaks of their presence. The only thing that can give a false-positive reaction is chemical processes like boiling a nutrient solution. At least in experiments on Earth it was just that. But in order to avoid this, control of the ambient temperature and solution was added as part of the experiment to prevent overheating.
See also: Scientists told where to look for aliens on Mars
And as a result, the gas bubbles were indeedfixed. However, the subsequent molecular analysis could not detect organic matter in soil samples, and NASA experts concluded that the Labeled Release experiment allowed us to find "a substance that mimics life, but is not." What do you think it could be? Express your assumptions in our telegram chat. At the same time, not one of the following devices that landed on Mars was equipped with devices capable of detecting the presence of life, which is called "here and now." To do this, you need to take soil samples, and analyze later. Moreover, Gilbert Levin notes that the new rover, which will go to Mars in 2020, also does not have such tools. So the possibility of finding life there in standard ways remains a big question. Do you agree with the opinion of a former NASA expert?