Scientists claim new data is 'strongest evidence yet' that Mars may have supported life
Components required to sustain simple microorganisms could have been present on Mars for much of its history, say scientists
A huge crater on the surface of Mars may hold the strongest evidence yet that there was life on the Red Planet.
Research published in the journal 'Nature Geoscience' suggests that the components required to sustain simple microorganisms could have been present on Mars for much of its history.
Scientists studying the McLaughlin crater, which was made when a meteorite smashed into the surface of the planet, believe that the ingredients of life may have been present in the "Martian subsurface" - a zone up to three miles beneath the surface.
A number of rocks thrown up by the impact of the meteorite contain minerals and clay whose chemical structure appears to have been altered by water.
Professor John Parnell, of Aberdeen University, and Dr Joseph Michalski, lead author and planetary geologist at the Natural History Museum, now believe the findings could show life existed below the surface of Mars.
The discovery came after the scientists scrutinised data from the powerful Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA's Mars Express spacecrafts.
With over half of life on earth being made up of simple microorganisms that live in below the surface, scientists have suggested that the same may have been true for Mars.
Dr Joseph Michalski, lead author of the study said: 'All the ingredients were there for life, but only small single-cell organisms could have survived in those conditions.
'But I would now be more surprised if there was never any life on Mars, than I would be if we did one day discover that simple life lived in that environment. 'And if life existed then, there is a chance it could still exist now.'
Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
Exclusive: Suspect was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.