Claims of 'fungus' on Mars spark controversy
May 8, 2021 | 18 comments
This image, the scientists argue, shows evidence of Martian fungus. Image Credit: NASA
An international team of researchers has published a paper claiming that there is evidence of fungus on Mars.
Over the years we've seen hundreds of examples of strange things being photographed by NASA's Mars rovers, however these always turn out to be examples of pareidolia - the human brain's natural tendency to make out familiar shapes - such as faces and figures - in otherwise abstract patterns.
This latest claim however is a little bit more interesting, not least because it comes from a group of scientists who have even published a paper on the subject.
The paper, which was published in Advances in Microbiology
, describes "fungus-like Martian specimens" spotted in photographs captured by NASA's rovers.
"Fungi thrive in radiation intense environments," the researchers wrote.
"Sequential photos document that fungus-like Martian specimens emerge from the soil and increase in size, including those resembling puffballs."
"After obliteration of spherical specimens by the rover wheels, new sphericals - some with stalks - appeared atop the crests of old tracks."
The paper's authors also claimed to have seen "black fungi-bacteria-like specimens" on top of the rovers themselves, as well as evidence of "amorphous specimens" that "changed shape and location then disappeared."
"It is well established that a variety of terrestrial organisms survive Mars-like conditions," they wrote.
So far, however, neither NASA nor the scientific community at large have come forward to give the team's findings any credence.
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