London: A researcher has said that a positive sign of organics by the Mars rover Curiosity would confirm his claim that NASA has already seen evidence for life on the Red Planet.
Gilbert Levin refers to an experiment called Labeled Release that went to the Red Planet aboard the Viking mission.
According to Levin, if Curiosity has found evidence for organics “that removes the last barrier to my interpretation of the Labeled Release results, and leaves us free and clear.”
Though the prospect of new Curiosity findings have set the internet abuzz, nobody from NASA has yet said publicly what they are.
“This data is going to be one for the history books. It’s looking really good,” the New Scientist quoted mission’s chief scientist John Grotzinger as telling the US National Public Radio.
Ordinarily, finding organics on the surface would not count as evidence for life because such molecules are constantly raining down throughout the solar system in meteorites.
However, Levin says that in the case of Mars, it’s more complicated because the failure to detect any organics at all by an instrument aboard the Viking lander was the counter-evidence that cancelled out an apparent detection of active biology by Levin’s Labeled Release experiment.
The Labeled Release experiment showed that radioactively labelled carbon from a nutrient solution added to the soil was released into the air in the test chamber – an apparent sign of metabolism.
Though Levin has long argued otherwise, the consensus has been that Viking did not find evidence of life on Mars.