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Ever since the Viking Mission landed on Mars, a hypothetical film of highly oxidizing material has been applied to the Red Planet by a host of articles in the scientific literature. This putative chemical is credited with destroying all organic matter and preventing extant life. The only 'evidence' cited for the oxidant is a re-interpretation of the Viking biology experiments. On the other hand, direct experimental evidence from Mariner 9, Viking, Pathfinder, and Kitts Peak clearly demonstrate that Mars does not have a highly oxidative surface. This should remove the primary reason commonly cited against the Viking LR experiment having detected microorganisms in the Martian soil. For those requiring further evidence, an unambiguous test is proposed for the next Mars lander.
© (2002) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Gilbert V. Levin "Oxides of Mars", Proc. SPIE 4495, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology IV, (5 February 2002);


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