New analysis suggests microorganisms on Mars

Viking robots found life on Mars in 1976, scientists say

New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows that NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week.

Further, NASA doesn’t need a human expedition to Mars to nail down the claim, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller, with the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, told Discovery News.

“On the basis of what we’ve done so far, I’d say I’m 99 percent sure there’s life there,” he added.

Researchers distilled the Viking Labeled Release data, provided as hard copies by the original researchers, into sets of numbers and analyzed the results for complexity. Since living systems are more complicated than non-biological processes, the idea was to look at the experiment results from a purely numerical perspective.

Critics counter that the method has not yet been proven effective for differentiating between biological and non-biological processes on Earth, so it’s premature to draw any conclusions.

Tip: @unexplainedmys
Source: MSNBC

Um, maybe. That’s a nice clue but we will need more to make such certain assertions acceptable. Nonbiological processes are complex as well. There could be alternative explanations. There is also dispute about the Viking data it seems. Did they mess up on their conclusions? Only another chance at data collection may be able to give us the answer. But this is an example of how science works. Let the critiquing begin.

Here’s more from CNET
And Washington Post blog.

  3 comments for “New analysis suggests microorganisms on Mars

  1. Massachusetts
    April 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    It’s interesting and time will tell. I’m surprised they would have dropped the ball back in ’76, which wasn’t exactly the dark ages despite a dearth of hand-held electronic wonders. I’m rooting for life, but the cold hard facts must guide us in this case.

    TO THE EDITORS: By the way, I’ve tried to contact doubtful news but my e-mails keep bouncing. I’m using the address in the contact section and adding a .com. I’m not sure whether I should eliminate spaces or or replace with an underscore character. Your advice is appreciated. Every now and then I come across an article I think you’d like to consider for publication.

  2. April 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Not sure what to tell you there. It works for me: is a ‘mailto’ command. I am receiving messages fine at that address.

    Just copy and paste that in an email. We’d love your story suggestions.

  3. Massachusetts
    April 15, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Thanks! I wasn’t using that. I was using the Sharon Hill address from the contact page.

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