Oyama, Vance I. (1922–1998)
American biochemist who served as the chief of NASA's Exobiology
Branch at the Ames Research Center. Oyama was
a veteran of life detection experiments on Apollo lunar samples and father
of the Viking gas exchange experiment
(GEX). Along with Wolf Vishniac and Harold
Klein, Oyama was among the most optimistic
of the scientists working on the Viking biology experiments about the prospects
of detecting Martian life. Ironically, his experiment gave the least biologically
favorable result of the three onboard the spacecraft and Oyama subsequently
became convinced that the activity registered in the soil samples could
best be explained chemically (see Oyama's hypothesis,
about the active nature of the Martian soil).
|Vance Oyama (left) and Leonard P.