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 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
- 2 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 How the NHS is being dismantled in 10 easy steps
Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
Irish tourist filmed fighting with shopkeepers in Turkey says they 'messed with the wrong man'
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal get peerages
Moody neurotics are more likely to be creative geniuses, study says
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...