LIFE FINDS A WAY ON MARS?

Written by Freya Keertikar

The search for extraterrestrial life may never end, and a group of researchers from the European Space Agency (ESA) may have made a crucial discovery that has indicated the likely presence of alien life on Mars.

 

Key Findings

On 28 September, the ESA published a report, using data they had obtained on a research mission in 2018, indicating that their Mars-orbiting spacecraft, Mars Express, had detected multiple sub-surface bodies of water on Mars that contained liquid water – an unusual occurrence given the planet’s sub-zero temperatures. Scientists believe that there is a very high possibility that those bodies of water hosted life forms in the planet’s early years – when its climate was more hospitable. 

 

Implications

Disappointingly, these water bodies are currently extremely high in salt concentration, which is likely why they have been able to stay liquid despite the freezing atmosphere. While this does not eliminate the chances of there being viable life, it does greatly reduce the capacity for Mars to be a habitable planet in its current state.

However, there is still a high possibility of descendants of past aquatic living beings currently existing on land. Robert Orosei, principal investigator of the experiment, stated that Mars could still “retain traces of any life forms that could have evolved when Mars had a dense atmosphere, a milder climate and the presence of liquid water on the surface, similar to the early Earth.” 

The writer, Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” While we may never know if life exists beyond our planet or if we are truly alone, we do know that scientists certainly are never going to stop looking.

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