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We may have already found life on Mars 50 years ago, but accidentally extinguished it

We may have already found life on Mars 50 years ago, but accidentally extinguished it

The primary goal of Mars missions is to find life on Mars, and although that hasn’t happened yet, according to one of the researchers, it’s not out of the question.

The Mars samples collected by the Perseverance rover will be flown back to Earth jointly by NASA and the European Space Agency as part of a coordinated program, scheduled for the first half of the 2030s. Although the possibility of anything on Mars is very small, according to scientists, it cannot be completely ruled out, which is why they will also treat foreign samples with care, keeping in mind the possible pathogens present in them.

Long before the Perseverance rover, or Curiosity, arrived on Mars, in the mid-1970s, the space agency sent two landers to the surface of the Red Planet. Experiments conducted by Viking 1 and Viking 2 eventually led to contradictory results: while some experiments ended with a positive result, that is, that there is life on Mars, other studies came to the exact opposite.

German astrophysicist Dirk Schulze-Makuch a Big thought on the side Back In his June article, he wrote that it cannot be ruled out that there was actual life in these soil samples, but we annihilated it by pouring water on it – He writes the IFL Science. In many cases of the Viking experiments, radiocarbon-containing water was added to the soil samples, as the idea was that any microorganisms in the soil would consume this water and emit it as a gas, which could serve as a feedback for the researchers. However, according to Schulze-Makuch, it is possible that we have essentially suffocated these organisms that are used to severe dehydration with water.

(Photo: Getty Images)

The scientist pointed to the driest region on Earth, the Atacama Desert, as an example, where decades pass without rain, yet microorganisms live on its surface, which extract moisture from the air. According to Schulz-McCoch, if we poured water on these terrestrial microbes, we would also kill them with such momentum, because these life forms have gradually adapted to their environment and are not used to rain at all, so they would essentially die if they were exposed to more liquid. According to speculation, Martian microbes – if they really existed – are similarly adapted to the dry environment, which also means that researchers on the Viking missions practically killed organisms living in soil samples with water.

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