Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

4/15/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Reevaluation of Viking 2 data reveals evidence of microbial life.

An international team of scientists says they have found evidence for life on Mars by re-reviewing results from the 1976 Viking 2 experiments. According to the scientists, a mathematical second look at the data reveals the presence of microbial life on the red planet. 

A an image of Mars taken from the Viking 2 Lander in 1976.

A an image of Mars taken from the Viking 2 Lander in 1976.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/15/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Viking 2, Mars, life, red planet, evidence, research, study, data, NASA, Ames Research Center, USC


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A primary mission for the 1976 Viking 2 Lander was to search for evidence of life on Mars. Viking 2 used a scoop to obtain soil samples that were subjected to various radiological and chemical tests to find evidence for microbial activity in the soil. According to NASA scientists, the tests all showed negative results.

However, armed with new understandings, scientists have been challenging these results as they reexamine the original data. Now, according to a paper published by an international team of scientists and mathematicians, they believe the evidence in favor of life is substantial. 

How substantial? About 99 percent. 

Joseph Miller, biologist from the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine said, "On the basis of what we've done so far, I'd say I'm 99 percent sure there's life there."

This a bold statement for any scientist, and a bolder conclusion still for a team of them. 

The new study evaluated the original data, but with a different mathematical perspective. Researchers say the original results were declared negative because scientists did not yet understand some of the complex chemical processes that were occurring. However, with new understandings available, they believe the original results match similar experiments done on Earth that show positive. 

Planetary scientist Christopher McKay from NASA's Ames Research Center said, "Contrary to 30 years of perceived wisdom, Viking did detect organic materials on Mars. It's like a 30-year-old cold case suddenly solved with new facts."

Critics of course, warn the results are preliminary and that it is premature to make any formal announcement. However, the team's findings have been published in the International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences. 

They also caution that evidence of organics is not evidence for life, but the results of the new study suggest there was more activity in the soil than the mere presence of organics. Organics in this case are carbon-based molecules that form the basis of all life as we know it.

With the new research published, other scientists will have an opportunity to pick it apart and validate the integrity of the research. If they find the research methods to be sound, it will probably provoke another follow-up mission to Mars that will be designed to specifically answer the question once and for all. 

However, even in the best case, that mission will be several years in the planning and likely take a year of travel to reach Mars. In that case, final word on the question may still be a decade away.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Americas

Teenage girl brutally gang-raped and blinded during terrifying pastor-led exorcism in Argentina Watch

Image of A teenager was gang-raped and had her eyed gouged in a horrific exorcism ritual.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A 16-year-old girl, who began seeing visions of a goat and thought that her family was demonic, suffered from a horrific exorcism ritual led by a Pastor in Argentina. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The teenager was brutally raped and had her eyes ... continue reading


'SLIME OF THE DEVIL:' Argentinean villages engulfed with spider webs Watch

Image of Local residents say that the phenomenon has never really been this bad. The last time there had been something similar had been in the 1980s, when there was an invasion of other insects, but at a different time of year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Argentinean town has been inundated by spiders, which have spun prestigious webs. The webs have covered many areas, including bodies of water. The locals here call the webs "baba del diablo," or the "slime of the devil." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Gay 'rights' are 'false rights,' Mexican cardinal asserts to transsexual advocate Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Diana Sanchez, a well-known transsexual and political figure in Mexico City's leftist party PRD, wrote a letter to Mexico's Primate, Cardinal Norberto Rivera insisting he and other cardinals "obey" the Pope in "abstaining from discriminating and judging homosexuals." ... continue reading


Here's your chance to join Pope Francis on a pilgrimage to Philadelphia

Image of Join the World Meeting of Families Virtual Pilgrimage. Grow with us in faith and receive prayers as we approach this historic event together.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Do you wish you could join Pope Francis in Philadelphia? Every available berth may be taken, but there is good news, you can still join him on a pilgrimage of your own! Pope Francis will be in Philadelphia on September 26-27 for the World Meeting of Families. An ... continue reading


Chilean women reject abortion as solution to sexual violence Watch

Image of Chilean women decry violations from sexual violence to workplace discrimination in a new video. However, they also reject abortion as a solution to these problems.

By CNA/EWTN News

Women in a new video released in Chile said that mothers facing difficult pregnancies need compassion and care from society, not abortion. Santiago, Chile (CNA) - "I became pregnant after I was sexually assaulted by a stranger, and it was a traumatic experience," ... continue reading


Women, children freed from slavery in Peruvian coca operation Watch

Image of Peruvian Special Forces rescued 26 children and 13 women, some of whom had been raped and held captive for three decades, when they raided a southeastern jungle camp of the left-wing Shining Path rebel group.

By Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Peruvian Special Forces rescued 26 children and 13 women, some of whom had been raped and held captive for three decades, when they raided a southeastern jungle camp of the left-wing Shining Path rebel group. BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - "Many of these ... continue reading


U.S. and Cuba reopen embassies in groundbreaking move to normalize relations Watch

Image of Official relations between the two countries were severed back in 1961, a diplomatic gulf widened by an embargo on travel and trade.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

The U.S. and Cuba formally re-established diplomatic ties for the first time since 1961 on Monday; a groundbreaking development advocated by Catholic bishops from both countries and set in motion by Pope Francis. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's an ... continue reading


CORRUPTION RAMPANT: Few surprised with prison escape of Mexico's 'El Chapo' Watch

Image of Most were dismayed - but many were not surprised with the escape of Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquin

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Most were dismayed - but many were not surprised with the escape of Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman from maximum-security prison last week. Mexico is notorious for having one of the most corrupt governments in the world.  LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


How did he do it? Surveillance video released with inside look at El Chapo's elaborate escape plan Watch

Image of Joaquin

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the second time in 14 years, the most powerful drug trafficker in Mexico and FBI's Public Enemy No. 1 has escaped prison using a tunnel. After Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was confirmed to have escaped from the country's most secured prison, the largest manhunt in ... continue reading


Did Pope Francis chew coca leaves during his visit in Bolivia? Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During Pope Francis' recent visit in South America, there were claims he requested to chew some coca leaves to help him cope with the high altitude. Bolivian authorities stated earlier that the Pope made the request during his stay in La Paz, but the Pontiff clarified ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Thessalonians 4:1-8
1 Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 97:1, 2, 5-6, 10, 11-12
1 Yahweh is king! Let earth rejoice, the many isles ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:1-13
1 'Then the kingdom of Heaven will be like this: Ten ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 28th, 2015 Image

St. Augustine of Hippo
August 28: St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter