NASA's Perseverance Rover is now busy searching for signs of ancient alien life on Mars. The United States space agency is carrying out such a mission, after assuming that the Red Planet once had a healthy water system that includes free-flowing rivers. However, in 1976, a NASA scientist who supervised an experiment on NASA's Viking Mars probe had claimed to have found evidence of life on the barren Red Planet.
Gilbert Levin: The NASA scientist who believed alien life on Mars is real
Gilbert Levin died earlier this year at the ripe old age of 97, and until his death, he strongly believed that alien life is still thriving on the Martian surface.
In 1976, Levin was carrying out an experiment designed to detect any gases that microorganisms in the Martian soil breath out. During the study, Levin, and his team ran the experiment four times, and surprisingly, the test results were very similar to those produced by LR tests of soils on Earth.
NASA's reaction after Levin's finding
NASA was initially skeptical about Levin's finding. Another instrument on the probe, the Viking Molecular Analysis Experiment failed to detect any kind of organic matter in the barren Martian soil. NASA later concluded that there was something that mimicked life, but it was not life, and it had misled Levin.
But Levin, until his death strongly believed that his experiment in 1976 had found evidence of extraterrestrial life on the Red Planet. In 2019, he wrote, "Over the 43 years since Viking none of NASA's subsequent Mars landers has carried a life-detection instrument to follow up on these exciting results."
Levin also added that he had found worm-like alien creatures on Martian images captured by NASA's Curiosity Rover.
In 2019, a study report published in the Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science had also suggested the possibility of alien presence on Mars. In the study report, researchers claimed to have spotted algae and fungi on Martian images.
"There are no geological or other abiogenic forces on Earth which can produce sedimentary structures, by the hundreds, which have mushroom shapes, stems, stalks, and shed what looks like spores on the surrounding surface. In fact, fifteen specimens were photographed by NASA growing out of the ground in just three days," said Regina Dass, a researcher at the Molecular Fungal Genetics and Mycotoxicology Laboratory, Department of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, Pondicherry, India.