A great find from the NASA archives! This composite of three artists’ renderings from 1975 may have only been wish fulfillment for an unnamed JPL artist; however, the landscape and the rendered shapes took into account what was known about Mars at that time, a year before the first Viking landing.
“Life on Mars” was envisioned as low to the ground, symmetrical and simple. The artist drew silicon-based life forms, probably coached by others, perhaps scientists, who had thought about such possibilities. Peculiar saucer-like shapes stood only slightly above ground level, root-like structures reached outward for growth resources; a bundle of cones faced many directions for heat, light or food. Instead of reality, the images embodied the artist’s hope and anticipation of what future Martian exploration would find.
Hey, at least it’s not this.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL
NASA’s twin Viking 1 and 2 landers launched in August and September of 1975 and successfully landed on Mars in July and September of 1976. Their principal mission was to search for life, which they did by digging into the ruddy Martian soil looking for signs of respiration — a signal of biological activity. The results, although promising, were inconclusive.
Now, 35 years later, one team of researchers claims that the Viking landers did indeed detect life on the Red Planet… and the proof has been there all along.