Space: Viking: The First Signs of Life?

It was an electrifying announcement. At a hastily called press conference at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif, last weekend, Viking Scientist Harold Klein reported that the newly begun biology experiments aboard the Mars lander had already shown a strange process—perhaps life—going on in the Martian soil. Said Klein: "We have at least preliminary evidence of a very active surface material. It looks at first indication very much like biological activity."

The evidence that excited Viking scientists came from two of the three biological tests that had begun only three days earlier. One of the Viking experiments, designed to detect respiration,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!