Extremely Dubious Scientist Believes There's Mushrooms and Lichen on Mars

Extremely Dubious Scientist Believes There's Mushrooms and Lichen on Mars

Researchers have yet to find any evidence of life on any other planet, including Mars. But that hasn’t stopped some rogue scientists from making outlandish claims and self-publishing “evidence” of the existence of a microbiological presence on the Red Planet, as CNET’s Jackson Ryan reports in an outstanding feature. Self-described neurobiologist Rhawn Gabriel Joseph — a man referred to by Ryan as the “Space Tiger King,” a nod to the popular Netflix docuseries — is convinced that life already exists on Mars and Venus, and that we already have the evidence to back it up. The roots of Joseph’s school of thought first started with the “labeled release” (LR) experiments on Mars in the 1970s, when NASA’s Viking lander looked for biosignatures on the planet by carrying out a series of tests. While the lander found no significant amount of organic molecules, some scientists, most notably then-NASA researcher Gilbert Levin, believed the results did indeed confirm the existence life on Mars. NASA refuted any such claims outright, writing that the experiments “provided no clear evidence for the presence of living microorganisms in soil near the landing sites.” Joseph built on the research from this fringe group of researchers, by claiming that life was brought to the cosmos by a process called “panspermia,” a theory that suggests life in space was “seeded” with microbes carried by dust and meteors. Over the decades, Joseph has attempted to get his work peer-reviewed and published in a variety astrobiology journals. He even went as far as creating ...
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