A former scantiest of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration believes that evidence of the existence of alien life on Mars was discovered more than 40 years ago. Retired scientist Gilbert V Levin is convinced that Martian life was discovered in 1976. This year, NASA Viking mission was launched to explore Mars. Levin, an engineer and inventor, was part of that mission and claims that he ran a life-detection experiment called Labelled Release (LR) which gave ‘positive’ results. Levin was the principal investigator of the experiment and has now penned down his opinion in Scientific American this week. ‘Amazingly, they were positive,’ said the scientists in his opinion piece titled ‘I’m Convinced We Found Evidence of Life on Mars in the 1970s’. The development holds significance as it comes close to the heel of NASA preparing to send Mars 2020 rover to the red planet.
Two orbiter and lander pairs were sent to Mars as part of the Viking mission. The first result beamed back from Mars was surprisingly positive. As the experiment progressed, more positive results were received from the twin Viking spacecraft that were situated some 6,437 km or 4,000 miles apart. A total of four positive results were received and they were supported by five different control variables. Levin and his colleagues found proof of microbial respiration. Moreover, the curves were similar to those that had resulted from Labelled Release tests on the soil of the earth. But the test didn’t detect any organic material because of which the space agency concluded that whatever they found was a ‘substance mimicking life, but not life’.
Levis said that NASA ‘inexplicably’ did not follow up on the probe and the results. Instead, NASA launched several missions to understand whether there was ever a habitat suitable for life but never carried out the life-detection test. It has already that Mars 2020 rover will not contain a life-detection test. But the former scientist hopes that the space agency will carry out further tests during future Mars missions.