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Some scientists believe that NASA discovered life on Mars 36 years ago.

Scientists believe NASA data confirms life on Mars

Model of the Viking 2 Mars Lander. (Credit: NASA)

The Mars Science Laboratory, known as Curiosity, is on its way to the red planet, and is scheduled to arrive in August of this year. Curiosity is the world’s biggest extraterrestrial explorer, and it will search for signs of life when it reaches Mars. But Curiosity might be a few decades late to the game. Some scientists believe that NASA discovered life on Mars 36 years ago.

A team of scientists published a paper last week in which they revealed findings from a new study where the team concluded that NASA found life on Mars. They analyzed data collected by NASA’s Mars Viking robots in 1976, concluding that samples were originally incorrectly identified by scientists as geologic samples, rather than biologic samples.

The team used math to reach their conclusion. Discover News explains the new approach taken with the Viking data by the team of scientists and mathematicians:

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.

This new interpretation of 36-year-old data is not without its critics. Some scientists contend that the method used by this research team to differentiate between biological and non-biological samples has yet to be proven.

Regardless, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, a member of the research team, 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.”

And when Curiosity reaches the surface of Mars later this year, that percentage has a good chance of increasing to 100.

About Jason McClellan

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Jason McClellan is an editor and staff writer for Open Minds magazine. Jason is also the producer and co-host of the web series Spacing Out!, web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook at Facebook.com/jason.openminds