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Claims of 'fungus' on Mars spark controversy

May 8, 2021 | Comment icon 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.

Source: Futurism | Comments (18)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by josellama2000 9 months ago
Yeah, right. The more "fungus", the more funds NASA gets.  
Comment icon #10 Posted by Gaden 9 months ago
It is hard for me to believe that any fungus could find enough moisture to survive on Mars. And no one has mentioned whether fungus could survive any place that has no protection from the Sun's radiation. Mars lost it's magnetosphere approximately 2 billion years ago, so, every thing on Mars is bombarded by all manner of harmful rays.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Tatetopa 9 months ago "No, NASA photos are not evidence of fungus growing on Mars, sorry Despite what you might have read, the claims about life on Mars are shoddy and unscientific."
Comment icon #12 Posted by Carnoferox 9 months ago
A couple things to note: 1. This paper has not yet been published in the journal Advances in Microbiology despite the various articles claiming that it has. So far it has only been uploaded to ResearchGate as a preprint (link) and there is no mention of it on the Advances in Microbiology website (link). 2. Advances in Microbiology is published by Herald Scholarly Open Access, which is a predatory publisher included on Beall's list (link). 3. The lead author Rhawn Gabriel Joseph is a known crank who has a long history of outlandish claims and is associated with his own fake journal (link) (link... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Cookie Monster 9 months ago
Yes it is possible, we have already identified microbe life in orbit around Earth where it is colder and has less water than on Mars
Comment icon #14 Posted by OverSword 9 months ago
From the second paragraph of the article
Comment icon #15 Posted by theotherguy 9 months ago
If someone can come up with definitive mycelia (the "roots" of the fungus), or even a couple of loose spores, I'll start considering this. But just for fun, let's say this does show some sort of fungus. Would it have originated on Earth, or on Mars? If from Earth, how did it survive at any sort of macro level? If from Mars, could it even be biologically classified as fungus?
Comment icon #16 Posted by Matt Vinyl 9 months ago
Fund us with Fungus!
Comment icon #17 Posted by Nuclear Wessel 9 months ago
Don't quote me on this, but I think it would be safe to assume that yes, it could be classified, biologically, as fungus if it meets the criteria of fungus.
Comment icon #18 Posted by theotherguy 9 months ago
So, we're assuming it has DNA, that the DNA is eukaryotic, that they have cell walls, that the cell walls are chitinous, and that's just the basics. That's a lot to ask for something whose abiogenetic origins would have literally nothing in common with anything on Earth. Even if it could fit into one eukaryotic kingdom, they could be the seed pods of plants, for all I see.

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