Science Did We Just Wipe Out Alien Life on Mars?

Did We Just Wipe Out Alien Life on Mars?

Did We Just Wipe Out Alien Life on Mars?

The Viking landers carried out experiments in 1976 to look for organic compounds on Mars. In one of the experiments, radioactive hydrogen isotope exposure to Martian soil was achieved via the Labeled Release (LR) technique. If there were organic molecules in the soil, they would have interacted with the hydrogen to create a gas that the lander could have detected.

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Did We Just Wipe Out Alien Life on Mars?: There were no organic compounds found in the Martian soil according to the LR experiment. But a group of experts from NASA’s Johnson Space Center, led by David McKay, contended that the experiment might have been faulty. They made the observation that there might have been a material in the Martian soil that reacted with the hydrogen to create the same gas that organic molecules would have produced.

Did We Just Wipe Out Alien Life on Mars? Moreover, McKay and his associates contended that it’s possible that the Viking settlers unintentionally exterminated any extraterrestrial life that may have existed on Mars. They emphasized that several substances, like as chlorine and bromine, were discharged into the Martian atmosphere by the landers. It is well recognized that these substances are harmful to living things.

It is hard to know for sure if NASA exterminated extraterrestrial life on Mars fifty years ago. But the possibility exists, no doubt about it. We will have to exercise greater caution the next time we send a spacecraft to Mars so as to avoid contaminating the planet with our own compounds.

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Here are a few more options:

Did We Just Wipe Out Alien Life on Mars?

  • The LR experiment was unable to detect the organic compounds due to their small size.
  • The harsh Martian atmosphere destroyed the organic molecules that were present in the soil.
  • Organic life has never existed on Mars.
  • Only more investigation will be able to definitively explain what took place on Mars half a century ago.