NASA Announces Possibility of Life on Mars (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists found traces of life processes and possible microscopic fossils in a meteorite believed to have come from Mars.
Life on Other Planets
Is Earth the only planet that supports life? Scientists have pondered that question ever since they found that the other planets, like Earth, are bodies orbiting the Sun. Only in the last century, however, have scientists been able to gather the evidence needed to answer the question.
Astronomers found that of all the planets, Mars is most like Earth and therefore offers the best environment for possible extraterrestrial life. Although Mars now has no surface water, is extremely cold, and has thin air, between 4 billion and 3.5 billion years ago it had a much thicker, warmer atmosphere and large rivers. Similar conditions on Earth spawned single-cell organisms at about the same time.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists thus hoped to find signs of life when they landed two space probes, Viking 1 and Viking 2, on Mars in 1976. The landers scooped up samples of Martian soil and tested it for traces of life-related chemicals. None was found. Space probes sent to other planets—particularly the Galileo probe to Jupiter and its moons—also searched for conditions suitable for life, detecting promising locations but no definite life signs. Rocks brought back...
(The entire section is 978 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!