Two Different Stories


The global properties of Mars can be found here. Things to note are the following:

Speculation about Life on Mars:

This has runned rampant for many years. A few highlights:

Spacecraft Encounters with Mars:

Surface Geological Evolution on Mars:

Searching for Life in the Martian Top Soil:

The Viking Landers primary mission was to test for microbial life in the Martian soil. They landed at latitudes of 23 and 48 degrees. There were three identical experiments on board each lander designed to see if anything in the soil did the following:

The Three Experiments and the results are the following:

An excellent summary of the Viking Lander Experiments can be found in a article in Scientific American in 1977 by Horowitz. A brief summary is given below:

The major flaw associated with the Viking Lander experiments is that they could only access the topsoil. As this is the product of wind blown dust, it is possible it has become sterile by this process. Hence, it is desireable to return to Mars and sample deep into the soil, down near the bedrock, to test for the presence of organic matter.

There is ample scientific motivation to return to Mars with a manned mission. Here's predicting it will happen before the year 2025.

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