Alien Life Could be Hidden on Mars Says NASA
Scientists are investigating if the most simplistic forms of alien life developed in vast oceans that once covered the Red Planet.
They believe if they did, there may still be survivors in water that has remained beneath the surface.
NASA made the announcement as it unveiled the results of studies into what exactly stripped Mars of its atmosphere which meant it could no longer hold the oceans like they are here on Earth.
The study found it had been systematically stripped of its atmosphere by solar winds in the early years of our solar system.
The research, published in journal Science today looked at data collected by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) space probe which is orbiting the planet.
A NASA spokesman said: “It’s possible microbial life could have existed at the surface early in Mars’ history.
“As the planet cooled off and dried up, any life could have been driven underground or forced into rare surface oases.”
Elsayed Talaat, MAVEN Program Scientist, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said: “This discovery is a significant step toward unraveling the mystery of Mars’ past environments.“ “In a broader context, this information teaches us about the processes that can change a planet’s habitability over time.”
The researchers found that solar winds stripped Mars of noble gas argon and carbon dioxide (CO2).
The spokesman added: “CO2 is of interest because it is the major constituent of Mars’ atmosphere and because it’s an efficient greenhouse gas that can retain heat and warm the planet.”
The team made its estimate using data from the Martian upper atmosphere, which was collected by MAVEN’s Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS).
This analysis included measurements from the Martian surface made by NASA’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Curiosity rover.