(ORDO NEWS) — In a new study, astrobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch of the Technical University of Berlin has refuted the long-held belief that the Viking 2 lander’s experiment to search for organic molecules on Mars gave a false result. Schulze-Makuch argues that the addition of water during the course of the experiment could have accidentally killed any potential Martian life forms, leading to misinterpretation of the results.
This discovery caused a new discussion among scientists and called into question our ideas about the Red Planet.
Landers “Viking”: Pioneers of Martian exploration
The Viking probes launched by NASA in the 1970s were the first spacecraft to successfully land on Mars. These ambitious robot probes not only landed on the Martian surface, but also set themselves the task of looking for signs of alien life. One of the experiments involved mixing water and nutrients with Martian soil samples to detect organic molecules, one of the key signatures of life.
False positive result
Initially, the Viking 2 experiment gave promising results indicating the presence of organic molecules on Mars. However, after a comprehensive analysis, the scientists concluded that these results are most likely false positives. The prevailing view was that the harsh conditions of Mars made it unlikely that any form of life could exist.
Reevaluation of the results of the experiment
Professor Schulze-Makuch disputes this conclusion, suggesting that the addition of water during the experiment could have harmed potential Martian life. He argues that if Martian cells contained hydrogen peroxide, a common compound found on Mars, then the addition of water would cause them to die. In addition, such a reaction would lead to the formation of a large amount of carbon dioxide, which was recorded by the device.
The Schulze-Makuch hypothesis has attracted the attention of other specialists in this field. Dr. Jennifer Eigenbrode, NASA astrobiologist, comments: “This study challenges our assumptions about the habitability of Mars and forces us to reconsider the experiments conducted by the Viking landers. It highlights the need for further research and a deeper understanding of the Martian environment.”
Dr. Chris McKay, planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, adds: “If the Schulze-Makuch hypothesis is correct, this will have significant implications for future missions to Mars. We need to carefully analyze the possible impact of our experiments on any potential Martian forms life.”
Implications for the exploration of Mars
If the Schulze-Makuch hypothesis turns out to be correct, it will have profound implications for our understanding of Mars and the possibility of life beyond Earth. It will also influence future missions to Mars, highlighting the need for caution when conducting experiments that could inadvertently damage existing life forms.
Moving Forward: The Search for Martian Life
The renewed debate over the Viking 2 experiment highlights the importance of further exploration of Mars. As we send more advanced rovers and spacecraft to the Red Planet, scientists will be able to conduct more precise experiments and collect new data. Only through these advances will we be able to unravel the mysteries of Mars and determine whether life exists on a nearby planet.
Contact us: [email protected]