FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, January 08, 2007

Did Viking Probes Find Life on Mars?

A geology professor argues that the Viking landers dispatched to Mars 30 years ago might have found life on that planet, contrary to reports at the time... but that we didn't recognize it for what it was.

Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University has presented a theory that when the Viking landers tested for signs of life on Mars in the 1970s, they were searching for salt-water-based life, when in fact life on Mars was more likely to be based on hydrogen peroxide. Moreover, the experiments Viking performed would have likely killed any life forms that they encountered.

The theory is currently unprovable, but it points to a persistent problem we face as we search for life on other worlds -- that is, using our Earth-bound assumptions to identify alien life forms.

Source: CNN.com