Glossray Timeline Contact FAQ
Home Demos
Home Demo 02
Home Demo 03
Home Demo 04
Home Demo 05
Home Demo 06
Home Demo 07
Home Demo 08
Cool Scientists
Sites to Surf
Fun Facts
Kids FAQ
Kids Educators Mars Facts The Mission Gallery News Home

Home Demo 08

Many people thought the first probes to land on the surface of Mars-Viking I and Viking II-would discover little green Martian men or some other form of extraterrestrial, so there was much disappointment when no signs of life were spotted. Below is an experiment similar to the tests the Viking probes performed on the Martian soil in search of life on the Red Planet.

What You Do

  1. Fill each glass one-third full of sand.
  2. Number each jar.
  3. Measure two spoonfuls of salt into #1, two spoonfuls of baking powder into #2, and two spoonfuls of yeast into #3.
  4. Refrigerate the jars overnight, so that they are cold like Mars.
  5. The next day, mix a half cup of sugar into a pitcher of warm tap water. Pour equal amounts of sugar water into each of the jars.
  6. Look for signs of life! What happens in each of the jars?

What Did You Find?

The Viking experiments added nutrients to Martian soil samples and monitored the reactions-a brief, quick reaction indicated the presence of non-living chemicals, while a slow and continuous reaction would suggest that a life-form was multiplying. In your experiment, which jar contained something living? The question of life on Mars is still being pursued. Instead of looking for huge plants or animals, scientists have now turned their search toward the possibility that microscopic bacteria may live-or may have once lived-on the Red Planet.

corner corner
  What You Need

  • 3 canning jars
  • Clean sand (boiled)
  • Salt
  • Yeast
  • Baking powder
  • Sugar

corner corner

Figure 1