Mathematical analysis adds to growing body of work questioning the negative results of a life-detection experiment 36 years ago.
- By Irene Klotz
Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:23 PM ET
- New results question the finding that the Mars Viking experiments did not find life.
- The analysis was based on studying the mathematically complexity of the experiment results.
- The idea is that living systems are more complicated than purely physical ones, a concept that can be represented mathematically.
Viking 2 Lander image (dated Nov. 2, 1976) showing the rocks of Utopia Planitia in the background. Click to enlarge this image.
New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week.
Further, NASA doesn’t need a human expedition to Mars to nail down the claim, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller, with the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, told Discovery News.
“The ultimate proof is to take a video of a Martian bacteria. They should send a microscope — watch the bacteria move,” Miller said.
“On the basis of what we’ve done so far, I’d say I’m 99 percent sure there’s life there,” he added.
Miller’s confidence stems in part from a new study that re-analyzed results from a life-detection experiment conducted by NASA’s Viking Mars robots in 1976.