OK so I’m obviously jumping the gun for the sake of a silly title, but the reality of it is that the soil sample analyses done by the Viking Landers were re-analyzed using a “Labeled Release” experiment. Here’s what they found:
Joseph D. Miller, associate professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School and colleagues conducted an independent analysis of the labeled release (LR) data from the Viking landers 1 and 2. The researchers applied mathematical measures of complexity to the data, which indicate a high degree of order that is more characteristic of a biological rather than a non-biological, purely physical process.
The research was published online April 9, 2012, in the International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences.
Obviously, this is not the last word on the matter, and far more tests are needed to verify these results. Thankfully the Mars Science Rover is due there in August of this year, so we should be getting additional supporting data soon. Unfortunately, as DailyKos points out, the probes have neither a return sample capability nor a microscope to give the certainty needed to help settle this matter anytime soon.