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
Monday 21 January 2013
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.'
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
How China's richest man Li Hejun lost $15bn in an hour - and made a fortune
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...