Gilbert V. Levin claims he has found evidence of life on Mars. Despite being ridiculed by some of his colleagues, he stood by his claim until his death.When NASA scientist Gilbert V. Levin died earlier this year at the age of 97, he still believed he had found evidence of life on Mars.
45 years ago, Levin oversaw an experiment aboard NASA’s Viking Mars probe. The experiment, titled “The Labelled Release,” is designed to detect any gases that microorganisms on Mars “exhale”.
Levin wrote: “On July 30, 1976, the LR test sent back initial results from Mars. To my surprise, the results were extremely positive!” The test was run four times, at four separate locations. The results obtained are “similar to those from the LR tests on Earth,” Levin said.
NASA does not believe this result. They used another instrument on the probe, the Viking Molecular Analysis Experiment, and found no organic matter in the Martian soil. As a result, NASA concluded that whatever Levin’s instrument detected was something “imitating life, but not life.”
However, Levin is not convinced by this argument. To the end of his life, he maintained that the LR experiment had detected life on the Red Planet. Levin wrote in 2019: “Unbelievable! In 43 years, no NASA lander has continued to carry life detection equipment to dig deeper into these exciting results.”Levin’s beliefs took a toll on his reputation. “At a talk at the National Academy of Sciences, I said we had discovered life, but a lot of people disagreed,” he said. Some people even loudly insulted him.Even so, Levin gives reasons why he believes his findings are correct. First, Mars has enough water to support the microorganisms found by NASA’s Viking, Pathfinder, Phoenix and Curiosity landers, plus the rapid disappearance of methane from the atmosphere. Mars book. Last is the fact that the Martian atmosphere is in an unbalanced state, says Levin: “its CO2 is converted to CO by the sun’s UV rays.”
Most planetary scientists have rejected Levin’s conclusions, but his faith has never been shaken. In 2012, an international team of scientists – including Levin, re-examined the results of Viking LR. They concluded that the test had detected “microbial life that exists on Mars”.
Levin also suggested that living microorganisms may have flown between Earth and Mars on meteorites dozens of times over millennia. NASA scientist Chris McKay agrees, saying that Mars and Earth have almost certainly “switched places” for billions of years.