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Strongest evidence yet found for life on Mars


Posted on Tuesday, 10 December, 2013 | Comment icon 19 comments

Curiosity has been on Mars now for well over a year. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has provided enough evidence to suggest Mars could have supported life.
Scientists studying the data and photographs returned from Gale Crater by the rover over the last year have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that Mars would have been capable of supporting primitive organisms at some point in the distant past.

The primary candidates would have been life forms reminscent of Chemolithoautotrophs on Earth, organisms that live underground in caves and that receive their energy by breaking down rocks and minerals rather than from absorbing sunlight.

"For all of us geologists who are very familiar with what the early Earth must have been like, what we see in Gale really doesn't look much different," said Prof John Grotzinger.

Researchers believe that the conditions may have been right for these organisms to survive on Mars for several million years.

Source: BBC News | Comments (19)

Tags: Mars, Curiosity


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by seeder on 10 December, 2013, 16:37
"Mars could have supported life". Well Bigfoot, vampires and the Loch Ness monster 'could' also exist. Are they trying to justify the vast expensive of this project by dropping little hints and 'rumors' that there may have been life on Mars. So far there is ZERO evidence for life on Mars. If the final conclusion of this project is that there was no life on Mars I would rather they would just say so. Then they can go looking somewhere else. There are no 'final conclusions'...the NEXT rover is designed better to look for traces of life http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23259419 The r... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by calvinb on 10 December, 2013, 23:21
Seriously ,how many times are they going to tell us the mars rover has found evidence that Mars could support life.I think we have figured that much out over the years from the lame cover ups and disinformation. Release the billion pictures that have been kept from us over decades unphotoshopped.
Comment icon #12 Posted by seeder on 10 December, 2013, 23:41
Seriously ,how many times are they going to tell us the mars rover has found evidence that Mars could support life.I think we have figured that much out over the years from the lame cover ups and disinformation. Release the billion pictures that have been kept from us over decades unphotoshopped. They did, and they are all on-line too
Comment icon #13 Posted by Sundew on 11 December, 2013, 0:29
I don really consider microbes life.. They may not be life in the sense of warm and cuddly, i.e. a fuzzy bunny rabbit, but they are certainly life. If life exists on Mars it will almost certainly be what are called extremophiles, life that can withstand freezing, or intense radiation, or can digest rock. There is water on Mars lock up in the soil, perhaps some organism has learned to extract it chemically. We have examples of such life on Earth, algae that can live inside rocks in Antarctica, bacteria in caustic lakes and near boiling undersea vents, single celled life that can digest heavy me... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by khol on 11 December, 2013, 2:19
They may not be life in the sense of warm and cuddly, i.e. a fuzzy bunny rabbit, but they are certainly life. If life exists on Mars it will almost certainly be what are called extremophiles, life that can withstand freezing, or intense radiation, or can digest rock. There is water on Mars lock up in the soil, perhaps some organism has learned to extract it chemically. We have examples of such life on Earth, algae that can live inside rocks in Antarctica, bacteria in caustic lakes and near boiling undersea vents, single celled life that can digest heavy metals and so forth. I think if you want... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 December, 2013, 2:20
I think it is a valid question...("other than what we know") because the discoveries of stratification, water, oxygen have all been previously revealed prior to this mission. What may lay ahead is the real question. What will we learn that is outside of our knowledge? That's true only up to a point. Although it was known that liquid water had existed on the surface of Mars in the past what was not know was whether that water was pure or so laden with chemicals that life would be hard/difficult (think Dead Sea on Earth). Curiosity has shown that fresh water existed on Mars, water that would pro... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 December, 2013, 2:22
Its a strong indicator that life has existed on Mars No it isn't. It is a strong indicator that life COULD have existed on Mars. Not the same thing at all.
Comment icon #17 Posted by keithisco on 11 December, 2013, 11:54
That's true only up to a point. Although it was known that liquid water had existed on the surface of Mars in the past what was not know was whether that water was pure or so laden with chemicals that life would be hard/difficult (think Dead Sea on Earth). Curiosity has shown that fresh water existed on Mars, water that would probably have been pure enough to drink. That in itself is an important discovery made already by this mission. The Dead Sea here at home, is far from lifeless. It cannot support Macroscopic life, but bacteria and fungi do live in it. Quite honestly the discovery of ANY l... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 December, 2013, 21:53
what NASA and ESA achieve is quite extraordinary and real value for money...IMO I couldn't agree with you more.
Comment icon #19 Posted by ZaraKitty on 13 December, 2013, 14:11
Well, liquid water is said to have existed a long with an atmosphere that sustained it all (much like ours). So, why not?


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