Jump to content
PDS Geosciences Node Community

anomalies in the 1976 Viking labeled release data


Recommended Posts

Hello there,

I have recently looked into Gilbert Levin's claim that there is evidence of martian life in the LR data from the 1976 Viking mission. But, after doing some analysis of the data 
I noticed a problem beyond in the data setshttp://pds-geosciences.wustl.edu/viking/vl1_vl2-m-lr-2-edr-v1/vl_9010/data/vl1c1ht.tab:

In each of the experimental HT data frames I notice that there are unexplained peaks in temperature exceeding 50 degrees celsius. This is really strange!!

I would like to know the following so that I may be able to replicate the experiment with terrestrial soil:
i) What kind of nutrient solution was used?
ii) What device was used to measure the temperature?(I suspect that this device is the origin of these large values for the temperature)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Aidan,

To answer your questions:


a) What kind of nutrient solution was used?


Please see the document Carbon 14 Labeled Organic Substrates, online at



B) What device was used to measure the temperature?


An overview and schematic drawing is in the Labeled Release Instrument description here:


This document includes references to publications that explain the experiment in greater detail.


Additional information is available on the Viking Lander Labeled Release Experimenter's Notebook page:




Susie Slavney


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a little more information for you about the handful of high temperature values in the file


This is from the scientist who prepared this data set for PDS from the paper archive.


"The values were correctly transcribed from the paper copy of the data. The first high value is an unexplained anomalous measurement and is tagged as such in the data file (see the last column). There is also a note in the ERRATA.TXT file about these types of anomalous values.

The high temperatures at the end of the file are from heating the chamber to close out the measurement cycle, according to the hand-written notes on the paper copies of the data. The heating was done to dry the sample before purging gases from the chamber and is briefly mentioned in the VOLINFO.TXT file."


The files mentioned, ERRATA.TXT and VOLINFO.TXT, may be found here:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...