Constant efforts are being made to find out whether there are signs of life on Mars, and a lot more is being uncovered about this intriguing planet. The reason astrobiologists and researchers are so interested in finding out more about whether there ever was or are life forms on Mars is due to the similarity between Mars and the Earth. Earth and Mars both have seasons, except Mars has seasons that last twice as long as seasons on Earth. Also, the conditions on Mars indicate that it is the most hospitable astronomical body after planet Earth. Thus, space missions have been and still are being sent in order to understand whether Mars may have extra-terrestrial inhabitants and whether human settlements can actually be established there.
Sign of Life on Mars
According to the most recent news, evidence has been found that shows signs of microbes and even fossils on Mars. However, only photographic evidence has been sent as yet; more cannot be found out until samples from Mars are brought back to earth for examination. However, this has made it certain that there is some presence of life, or at least the precursor of life in the form of microbes, on Mars.
Also, scientists have discovered that microbes even found a way to inhabit Atacama Desert in Chile, which is similar to Mars in terms of condition. Atacama Desert does not receive any rain or moisture, and is highly arid, which is quite similar to the Mars landscape. It is already proven that there is frozen water on Mars, and recent research also concluded that there are moisture events that take place near Mars’s surface, like nightly snowfall, which signals the potential for life.
Why There Should Be More In Depth Exploration
Before landing human missions or having samples brought to earth, scientists need to determine if there is extra-terrestrial life present on Mars or not. There is no telling what astronauts or robots may encounter there and bring back to Earth. Rather than worrying about contaminating Mars, as the strict planetary protection protocols state, it should be known whether samples could endanger our biosphere and humanity. These protocols are not considering the fact the human missions are set to go in merely a decade or two.
Why Contaminating Mars Should Not Be A Worry
Tersicoccus phoenicis is a bacteria that has only been found where space crafts are assembled and can be used as a key technique by explorers to differentiate between Mars and Earth organisms. The microbes present in the space crafts can be used in order to monitor contamination levels. If there is a sample from Mars that contains the same or similar microorganisms to the spacecraft assembly rooms, then it can indicate contamination rather than sign of life on Mars. Technology can also help distinguish between Alien matter and Earth matter, and even if both come out as similar, genomes sequencing can be done in order to confirm that it belongs to Mars.
Since it has been proven that there are microbes present on Earth, the organic microorganisms that have been found could turn into building blocks for potential Martian life in the future. The possibilities this research and future plans pose are limitless.