A little over a month after NASA scientists announced that they were finding more familiar elements than alien ones in the soil on Mars from test results sent back by the Lander, researchers now have discovered evidence that that might not be the case after all. They’re also double-checking to make sure that the Earth-like elements found by Phoenix on the northern pole of Mars weren’t actually brought from Earth and deposited there when the Lander touched down.
“We are committed to following a rigorous scientific process. While we have not completed our process on these soil samples, we have very interesting intermediate results,” Peter Smith, Phoenix’s principal investigator, said in a written statement released today. Smith, who is a senior research scientist at the University of Arizona, added that while the initial analyses from the wet chemistry laboratory onboard Phoenix suggested that Martian soil was like that of Earth, “further analysis has revealed un-Earthlike aspects of the soil chemistry.”