Talk about a cold case!
Thirty-five years ago the two Viking probes were launched up, up and away towards Mars, and in 1976 they landed and sent us back holiday snaps of the planets red sandy beaches. But there was no water … or hot beach babes … not even green ones. However, that tiny setback didn’t stop those plucky robots from digging in the dirt to look for signs of life — stuff like car keys and dropped wedding rings. Alas, not even an earring was pulled from the Mars sand.
So without evidence of life on Mars, the planet was considered officially sterile …. until now … question mark?
Due to results from the 2008 NASA probe “Phoenix” and follow-up tests in Chile’s Atacama desert, the 1976 Viking probes’ results have been reanalyzed and it turns out that they DID in fact find organic compounds on the dead planet Mars. Not LIFE mind you, but a few of the building blocks as it were.
Of course this is totally cool … although I admit to lacking the scientific understanding to fully explain why it’s cool. Still, I really applaud the notion that old-time “disappointing” data like the Viking tests are not necessarily worthless in our modern world — just possibly unusable until a better understanding is achieved in the future. We are, after all, living in the future.
But what does it really mean in terms of the search for life? I dunno. It would take a scientist to explain — like this guy:
So is there life on Mars? Ummmmm … sure, why not? And dress that life up in snazzy turtle-neck sweaters from the 1979 JC Penney catalog!