“The possibility of life in the interior of Mars has always been very high. There’s certainly water somewhere in the crust of Mars … It’s very likely, I think, that there is life somewhere in the crust of Mars.” – Alfred McEwen, Principal Investigator, HiRISE, University of Arizona (30:25)
Today, more than ever, people are convinced that there is a high probability that there is, at least, microbial life somewhere on Mars. Scientifically speaking, there have been numerous indications that something weird is going on at the red planet, and these indications might prove to be the ultimate evidence of alien life on the red planet.
Here we bring you FIVE scientific indications that support the theory there is LIFE on MARS:
Biologically useful nitrogen found on Mars
Using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument onboard the Curiosity rover, a team of scientists has detected, for the first time ever, nitrogen on the surface of Mars which is believed to come from release during heating of Martian sediments. Researchers detected the nitrogen in the form of nitric oxide and is believed to have been released from the breakdown of nitrates during heating on Mars. Interestingly, nitrates are a class of molecules that have nitrogen in a form that can be used by living organism. This discovery is of great significance to the team of scientists at NASA since it adds further evidence to the theories that ancient Mars was habitable for life as we know it. We know that Nitrogen is essential for all known forms of life on Earth. This is because it is used in the building blocks of lager molecules like DAN and RNA, which encode the genetic instructions for life.
Methane on Mars
A scientific instrument on board NASA’s Curiosity rover has found one of the most important indicators that Mars might have life on it. On Earth, 90% of all methane in the atmosphere is produced by living organisms. Curiosity captured traces of methane on the Red Planet and scientists believe this could point to the presence of life on the red planet. Curiosity registered surges of methane gas levels using the SAM instrument. These show that the base values are lower than thought, just 0.7 parts per billion in volume (ppmv), but data has also shown that the values increased significantly six times, on some occasions even exceeding seven ppmv, 10 times higher. This indicates that there is an additional source of methane of unknown origin.
There is liquid water flowing on Mars
Not long ago researchers believe that it was nearly impossible for liquid water to exist on Mars. Today their views and opinions changed drastically as evidence of liquid water has been found. According to scientists from NASA, there is liquid water on the surface of the red planet, and this discovery boosts, like never before the possibility to find alien life forms elsewhere in the cosmos. Last year’s discovery of liquid water on Mars is just one of a series of announcements made by NASA in the last couple of years, drastically altering everything we thought we knew about Mars.
NASA calls it ‘spectral evidence,’ lines in four different places on the surface of Mars, which confirm researcher’s hypothesis of the existence of water in a liquid state on the red planet.
Mars had HUGE Oceans covering one-fifth of the ‘red planets’ surface
In addition to the fact that researchers have now found liquid water flowing on the surface of the red planet, not long ago, experts discovered that in the distant past, the red planet wasn’t as Red as it is today. According to scholars, a huge primitive ocean covered one-fifth of the red planet’s surface. Mars was warm, wet and ideal for Alien life to develop. This ancient ocean on Mars was a mile deep I certain points of the planet holding over 2p million kilometers of water, more than is found the Arctic Ocean. “Ultimately we can conclude this idea of an ocean covering 20% of the planet which opens the idea of habitability and the evolution of life on the planet,” said Geronimo Villanueva, the first author of the study.
Mars had an atmosphere eerily similar to that of Earth
In addition to finding liquid water on the surface of Mars, biologically useful nitrogen, methane spikes and a vast ocean that once, covered one-fifth of Mars’ surface, scientists have learned that in the distant past, the red planet had an atmosphere eerily similar to that of Earth.
According to calculations from MAVEN mission scientists, a quarter pound of the remaining Martian Atmosphere (which is made up of oxygen and carbon dioxide) escapes per second. The red planet’s once hospitable atmosphere was blown away in the distant past. But how did this happen? Well, the atmosphere was blown away because Mars’ magnetic field shut down. NASA scientists say that even though the red planet had a magnetic field, around 4.2 billion years ago it shut down. The process of Mars losing its precious atmosphere most likely occurred over a period of several hundred million years. Scientists speculate that during this time, the red planet was hit by “extreme ultra violet photons” from the sun. Before this happened, water was most likely abundant on the red planet and it is very likely that life as we know it could have developed on Mars.