A former NASA scientist has said alien life may have been found on Mars more than 40 years ago.
Retired scientist Gilbert V Levin wrote in Scientific American this week where he recounted the work he did with NASA's mission Viking, which launched in 1975.
The space agency sent two orbiter and lander pairs to Mars, which then sent back the first colour photos taken on the planet.
Levin says he ran a life detection experiment called Labelled Release and that they received 'positive' results in 1976.
In the catchy-titled opinion piece 'I'm Convinced We Found Evidence of Life on Mars in the 1970s' Levin wrote about the tests: "Amazingly, they were positive.
"As the experiment progressed, a total of four positive results, supported by five varied controls, streamed down from the twin Viking spacecraft landed some 4,000 miles (6,437km) apart.
"It seemed we had answered that ultimate question."
Levin explains that the tests found 'microbial respiration' - the presence of microorganism respirating inside soil samples, but that the tests didn't find any 'organic matter', which, Levin wrote, meant 'NASA concluded that the LR had found a substance mimicking life, but not life'.
Levin says in the decades that followed, NASA 'inexplicably' did not follow up on the results and probe further.
Doubling down on his claims, he adds: "What is the evidence against the possibility of life on Mars? The astonishing fact is that there is none.
"Furthermore, laboratory studies have shown that some terrestrial microorganisms could survive and grow on Mars." Exciting stuff, eh?
Levin is now hoping that future missions to Mars will carry out further tests.
He wrote: "NASA has already announced that its 2020 Mars lander will not contain a life-detection test.
"In keeping with well-established scientific protocol, I believe an effort should be made to put life detection experiments on the next Mars mission."
In a 2016 paper, titled The Case for Extant Life on Mars and Its Possible Detection by the Viking Labelled Release Experiment, Levin wrote: "Plans for any Mars sample return mission should also take into account that such a sample may contain viable, even if dormant, alien life."
I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
Featured Image Credit: NASA