Finding evidence that life once subsisted on Mars would be among the prime scientific inventions in the mankind’s history, which is why decades are spent by NASA attempting to make it happen. Among the initial endeavors to discover the residues of life on Mars occurred in the 1970s; however, a new study paper proposes that the tool NASA utilized to examine Mars soil’s samples might have actually ruined the very proof that it was expecting to determine.
The study, which was released in the Journal of Geophysical Research, concentrates on the Viking Program that fruitfully docked a pair of spacecraft on the Red Planet. Once there, the rovers were developed to examine the soil of the planet and, preferably, find out organic leftovers that pinpointed to the existence of life long before. Things might have gone very off beam from there.
The lead author of the paper suggests that when the soil samples were heated by the Viking landers to assess the vapors they generated, they actually brought about an explosion. A kind of combustible salt known as perchlorate was discovered back in 2008 in the Martian soil, but that was decades following the Viking landers had carried out their sample readings. The study proposes that it is likely the Viking landers inadvertently incinerated the samples they were attempting to analyze. Whoops!
Researchers still cannot state with utter confidence whether life ever subsisted on the Red Planet. The organic molecules’ existence is a huge clue, but also there are other natural processes that can create them without essentially resulting in life, and that is thwarting anyone from announcing that life has been confirmed.
On the other end, the global dust storm at present rampant on Mars should not interrupt the landing of the InSight lander of NASA this fall. The planet-surrounding tempest is anticipated to settle by the time InSight gets there in November. However, it won’t be a debacle for the new lander if the tempest still whirls or if another one gets on its place, as said by the officials.
Henry Toffoli was born and raised in Mobile. Henry has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Tuscaloosa News in the Times-Journal. As a journalist for Alabama Post Gazette, Henry covers national and international developments.