Former NASA Scientist Says Life on Mars May Have Been Discovered in the 1970s

NASA hasn't looked for more examples, in over four decades of research.
Fabienne Lang
The view from VikingNASA

Information regarding astronauts and spacecraft being sent to Mars has been bubbling up in recent months. NASA maintains its project on the search for life out there in our universe, and so updates, as well as new inventions and spacecraft, have been some of the agency's primary goals. 

However, a recent article by former NASA scientist, Gilbert Levin, states that life on Mars was already discovered back in 1976. 

According to Levin, NASA's Viking mission in the 1970s already discovered traces of life on the red planet. He is curious as to why NASA has not pushed the research further.


The Viking mission

Levin was a part of the research team that was searching for life on Mars. On July 30, 1976, the Labeled Release (LR) returned the initial mission's test results back to Earth. 

In an amazing turn of events, the results were positive. In the end, the team discovered that four positive results returned from the two Viking spacecraft. These results had gone through five different controls to ensure they were correct. 

What did the team discover? Microbial respiration on Mars

However, when NASA ran the Viking Molecular Analysis Experiment, it failed to ascertain organic matter — the essence of life. NASA then stated that the LR had found a substance that mimics life, but not life itself. 

Surprisingly, for the following 43 years of NASA's Mars exploration programs, the agency has not included life detection instruments on its landers. 

This is surprising, especially to Levin, as NASA pushes forward with its search for alien life.

Life on Mars

In his article, Levin is not saying that life on Mars, as we know it on Earth, is unquestionable. What Levin is saying is that it would be incredibly surprising for there is no life, whatsoever, on the red planet. 

There have been some monumental discoveries on Mars and in our universe, since the Viking's 1976 mission. However, none have yet been centered on directly gauging if there is life on Mars.

Former NASA Scientist Says Life on Mars May Have Been Discovered in the 1970s
Danielson Crater on Mars. Source: European Space Agency/Flickr

Given the positive results of a well-known and accepted microbiological test, diverse controls of these tests, duplication of information — as the Viking's mission included two spacecraft landing at different locations on Mars — it is strange that NASA has sat on this information for 43 years and not moved forward with this particular research. 

Levin's article is a fascinating and informative read, which you can read more about here.

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