We may have found life on Mars 50 years ago, and then killed it

As the search for life on Mars continues — with the Mars Sample Return Program set to return samples from the planet in the early 2030s — one scientist has suggested we may have already found life on the Red Planet, nearly 50 years ago. And then, in what wouldn’t have been a great first impression at all, we ruined it.

Long before the Curiosity rover put robotic wheels on Mars, two landers have touched down. NASA’s Viking Project, as well as capturing a file First photos ever From the surface of Mars, the rover saw conducting biological tests on the Martian soil, specifically to look for signs of life.

The results were fair unexpectedAnd confusing for scholars. Most trials have not been promising. In one part of the experiment, traces of chlorinated organic matter were found, although it was thought at the time that they were pollutants brought in from the earth.

Part of the experiment saw water containing nutrients and radioactive carbon added to Martian soil. If life existed, the idea was that microorganisms would consume nutrients and They emit radioactive carbon as a gas. While the first experiment found this radioactive gas (the control experiment found none), subsequent results have been mixed. If microbes are present in the soil, giving them more radioactive nutrients and incubating them for longer should produce more radioactive gases. But the second and third injections of the mixture did not lead to the production of more gas. The initial positive result was put on perchlorate, A compound used in fireworks and rocket fuel, which can metabolize nutrients.

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However, there are other ideas. Dirk Scholz-Macuch is Professor of Planetary Habitability and Astrobiology at the University of Michigan Technical University of Berlinindicating that adding water to the experiment was a mistake and may have killed the microbes we were trying to find.

When you’ve just been drowned by an alien robot, you don’t tend to get very hungry.

In an article published in June for BigThink, cites examples of life on Earth found in the most extreme environments on Earth, living entirely within salt rocks and drawing moisture from the air. Pouring water on these microbes might kill them, perhaps explaining why additional injections of nutrients did not detect radioactive gases. When you’ve just been drowned by an alien robot, you don’t tend to get very hungry.

Schultz was formerly McCutch Proposal That Martian life could contain hydrogen peroxide in its cells

Schultz-McCoch and co-author Yup M. Stady.

“Assuming that indigenous Martian life may have adapted to its environment by incorporating hydrogen peroxide into its cells, this could explain the Viking results,” Dirk Schulze-Makuch wrote for BigThink, adding that the gas chromatography-mass spectrometer heated the samples before analyzing them.

“If the Martian cells contained hydrogen peroxide, that would have killed them. Furthermore, it would have caused the hydrogen peroxide to react with any organic molecules in the vicinity to form large amounts of carbon dioxide – which is exactly what the instrument detected.”

Huge though, if this is true, it would mean that we found life on Mars nearly 50 years ago, and then killed it off, like the bad aliens in the movies.

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