NASA ‘discovered alien life 50 years ago but accidentally killed it off’

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    NASA may have discovered alien life on Mars 50 years ago – but accidentally killed it off.

    Dirk Schulze-Makuch, from the Technical University Berlin, said an experiment carried out in the 1970s when the US space agency first put its two Viking landers on the Red Planet could have bumped off ET.

    He said water added to Martian soil may have drowned any life lurking in the landscape.

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    The test – known as the Viking Labeled Release experiment – initially returned a positive test for metabolism.

    But a related investigation found no trace of organic material.

    Schulze-Makuch believes the water containing a nutrient solution in the soil may have been too much liquid and any life "died off after a while".

    While his theory may sound outlandish it applied to microbes living inside salt rocks in the Atacama Desert in Chile – which has a similar landscape to Mars.

    They do not need rain to survive and too much water would eradicate them.

    The two NASA landers touched down on Mars on July 20 and September 3, 1976, equipped with a slew of instruments enabling them to search for possible signs of life and study the soil and atmosphere's physical and magnetic properties.

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    Schulze-Makuch called the results "puzzling" on the website BigThink.

    He said one test came back positive and another negative.

    The boffin said the test itself could have "killed them".

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    "Life on Mars could have adapted to the arid environment by existing within salt rocks and absorbing water directly from the atmosphere,'' he said.

    "The Viking experiments, which involved adding water to soil samples, might have overwhelmed these potential microbes leading to their demise.''

    NASA had not commented.

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    • Nasa
    • alien
    • Mars
    • space

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