Life on Mars The Atlantic Monthly

Space scientists won’t say so, but the results of three brilliantly-conceived experiments lead inevitably to one startling conclusion: Life, in some form, exists on Mars. The results of the Viking life-detection experiments have been more positive than most people expected. Dr. Robert Jastrow, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, says, “Short of seeing something wiggling on the end of a pin, the case for life on Mars is now as complete as the Viking experiments could make it.” But no one wants to make predictions about Martian life which might be proved wrong by later evidence; scientific reputations could too easily be damaged in the process. So the Viking scientists have been extremely cautious in interpreting the results of their biology experiments. And the official NASA position straddles the fence. As Viking scientist Dr. Carl Sagan of Cornell University puts it, “We have clues up to the eyebrows, but no conclusive explanations of what we’re seeing.”