West News Wire: According to a professor of astrobiology, life on Mars was first found 50 years ago but was immediately wiped out. A faculty member at the Technical University of Berlin named Dirk Schulze-Makuch has made the astounding allegation that humanity may have accidentally destroyed extraterrestrial life after being lucky enough to find it.
NASA had started the Viking programme in the middle of the 1970s, sending two landers to the Martian surface before the Curiosity rover. The mission, which was ahead of its time, succeeded in giving humanity the first glimpses of the Martian surface. Additionally, the mission conducted biological investigation on the soil with the main objective of discovering signs of life.
Numerous geological formations in the mission’s findings were compatible with the results of significant water flows. The Martian volcanoes and the slopes on them were very similar to those in Hawaii, suggesting that they had formerly been wet.
Small amounts of chlorinated organics were also found by the landers, which were initially thought to represent contamination from Earth. The presence of native organic molecules on Mars has been confirmed by later Mars missions, however they are present in chlorinated form.
A Viking experiment entailed soaking soil samples in water. The radioactive carbon (carbon-14) and nutrients from the water were added to the red Martian soil. According to the theory, any possible bacteria on Mars would eat the nutrients and produce radioactive carbon as a byproduct. Initial results indicated this radioactive gas’ emission but the remaining results remained inconclusive.
Schulze-Makuch posits that we might have overwhelmed these potential microbes, leading to their demise.
“Many of the Viking experiments involved applying water to the soil samples, which may explain the puzzling results. Perhaps the putative Martian microbes collected for the labelled release experiments couldn’t deal with that amount of water and died off after a while,” he wrote in a column in Big Think.
“It would be as if an alien spaceship were to find you wandering half-dead in the desert, and your would-be saviours decide, ‘Humans need water. Let’s put the human in the middle of the ocean to save it!’ That wouldn’t work either,” he explained.
In order to determine whether we are capable of colonising other planets, humanity has been looking for life there. Mars has long been suggested as a location where this would be feasible.
The Perseverance rover is currently navigating Mars’ challenging terrain. It is a member of a global, interplanetary relay team established to discover the mysteries of our neighbouring planet.
A Sample Retrieval Lander is anticipated to be launched from Earth in the year 2028 with a NASA-led Mars rocket and two tiny Mars helicopters on board. The rocks that Perseverance collected will be put onto the rocket once the lander lands close to a crater near the rover.
Notably, the lander needs to be close to the Perseverance rover to facilitate the transfer of Mars samples. It must land within 66 yards (60 metres) of its target site.