Mars has long been touted as a past home for alien life forms, and a new study could add fuel to the fire. Researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology are convinced the conditions for life on Mars would have been similar to an early Earth, which makes it a “mystery as to why evidence of life on Mars is so hard to find”.
By analysing data from NASA’s Curiosity rover, the team from Japan have concluded saline levels and pH levels, the measure of salt and acidity respectively, were extremely similar to that of Earth’s when life began to emerge 3.5 billion years ago.
The team argue it is becoming increasingly likely some form of life once existed on the Red Planet as all evidence seems to suggest so.
A statement from the Tokyo Institute of Technology reads: “Scientists are becoming increasingly convinced that billions of years Mars was habitable.
“Whether it was in fact inhabited, or is still inhabited, remains hotly debated.
“To better constrain these questions, scientists are trying to understand the kinds of water chemistry that could have generated the minerals observed on Mars today, which were produced billions of years ago.”
“Specifically, the properties of pore water within sediments apparently deposited in lakes in Gale Crater on Mars suggest these sediments formed in the presence of liquid water which was of a pH close to that of Earth’s modern oceans.
“Earth’s oceans are of course host to myriad forms of life, thus it seems compelling that Mars’ early surface environment was a place contemporary Earth life could have lived, but it remains a mystery as to why evidence of life on Mars is so hard to find.”
NASA will launch its Mars 2020 rover this year as it ups the ante in its bid to find evidence of past life on the Red Planet.
The mission will also help with the preparation for humanity’s arrival, which could happen in the next decade.
NASA said: “NASA’s latest mission to Mars – a mission that will receive a new name before launch – will be the latest rover to head to the Red Planet, but it’s not going alone.
“To aid it in its exploration, it’s carrying the first helicopter that will fly on another planet.”
However, one scientist warned humanity might not be prepared for the “revolutionary” discovery.
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NASA chief scientist Jim Green believes humanity could struggle with the concept of life away from our world as it would completely change how we view the cosmos.
Dr Green told the Telegraph: “It will be revolutionary. I’ve been worried about that because I think we’re close to finding it and making some announcements.
“It will start a whole new line of thinking. I don’t think we’re prepared for the results. We’re not.
“What happens next is a whole new set of scientific questions. Is that life like us? How are we related?”
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