Science News

Is NASA’s Latest Discovery a Sign of Extinct or Current Life on Mars?

Is NASA’s Latest Discovery a Sign of Extinct or Current Life on Mars?

According to NASA, their research has revealed that there is strong evidence of liquid water being present on Mars, which flows occasionally. Planetary scientists hang on to the saying that following the water should be employed when searching for life in outer space. Now researchers believe that the discovery of water flowing on the red planet is a possible indication that there used to be life there. But the big question is if this discovery means that scientists might soon find life in Mars, either extinct or current.

Is the Martian water a sign of life, or not?

At this point everything is still uncertain. NASA did not find a large body of water such as a brook, river or lake. What was found were hydrated minerals on various slopes, which suggested that those areas probably experience seasonal changes. The fluctuations in temperature on Mars then caused the water to trickle down the slopes during the warmer months. They appear as dark streaks when the temperature is warm and fade completely when the temperature goes down.

The streaks are called recurring slope lineae (RSL), which could be described as thin layers of soil that became wet, according to Alfred McEwen, one of the new NASA study’s authors. He added that when scientists follow the water on earth, they are likely to find some form of microbes in the earth’s dry parts, but the practice is not applicable to Mars. Moreover, water on Mars would be far more salty than the oceans on earth, which, although salty, are teeming with life.

What the discovery of water on Mars means is that had there been life on the planet when it was still a wet and warm world, it vanished millions, rather than billions of years ago. Gauging from experiences in the driest places here on earth, some form of life could creatively take advantage of the smallest amount of water to thrive and survive. The new findings bring additional evidence that the disappearance of lakes and the habitability window on Mars closed more recently than previously assumed.

NASA said that their new finding gives their scientists a better idea of how life, if ever something is found in the current environment on Mars, could survive.

Must tread carefully

The discovery also presents another challenge to NASA. Since there is now evidence that water is present on Mars, the recurring slope lineae will have to be considered special regions and should not be contaminated by microbes from earth. Thus, they need to do some special sterilization process for the rover or lander that they will send to those regions in the future.

Image Copyright: designpics / 123RF Stock Photo

Comment Below
Science News

More in Science News

stone structures

Google Earth Helps Archaeologists Discover Hundreds of Ancient Stone Structures

Brian OasterOctober 24, 2017

The Total Solar Eclipse and Its Aftermath

Brian OasterAugust 22, 2017
Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera Mechanism: Astro-Time Computer Remembered

Denise RecaldeMay 17, 2017

A Solar Purification System for Contaminated Water

Brian OasterMay 4, 2017

Hawking Says Only 100 Years to Leave Earth for Another Planet

Denise RecaldeMay 3, 2017

No Bones? Ancient Human DNA Collected From Dirt

Denise RecaldeApril 27, 2017

Mice Have Been Living Off Humans for Some 15,000 Years

Denise RecaldeMarch 28, 2017

Scientists Experiment With Storing Computer Data In DNA

Denise RecaldeMarch 2, 2017

Scientists Pinpoint Galaxy That Emitted Mysterious Fast Radio Bursts

Denise RecaldeJanuary 4, 2017