Before and after photos of NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover reveal that the red planet has taken its price
The search for life on other planets has captivated humanity for decades.
But the reality could be a little less like Hollywood blockbusters, scientists have revealed.
They say that if there was life on the red planet, it would probably be presented as a fossilized bacterium, and they have proposed a new way of looking for it.
Here are the most promising signs of life so far:
When looking for life on Mars, experts agree that water is key.
Although the planet is now rocky and arid with water enclosed in polar caps, there could have been water in the past.
In 2000, scientists first detected evidence of the existence of water on Mars.
The NASA Mars Global Surveyor found ravines that could have been created by the flow of water.
The debate is ongoing on whether these recurring slope lines (RSL) could have been formed from the water flow.
Earth has been hit by 34 meteorites from Mars, three of which are believed to have the potential to carry evidence of past lives on the planet, he writes Space.com.
In 1996, experts found a meteorite in Antarctica known as ALH 84001 that contained formations similar to fossilized bacteria.
However, in 2012, experts concluded that this organic material had been formed by volcanic activity without the participation of life.
Signs of life
The first planes of the planet were taken by the Mariner 4 mission of 1964.
These initial images showed that Mars has landforms that could have formed when the weather was much wetter and, therefore, the home of life.
In 1975, the first Viking orbiter was launched and, although it was inconclusive, paved the way for other landers.
Many rovers, orbiters and landers have now revealed evidence of water beneath the crust and even occasional rainfall.
Earlier this year, NASA’s Curiosity rover found possible basic components of life in an ancient bed of a Martian lake.
The organic molecules preserved in the 3,500 million-year-old rock bed in the Gale Crater, which is believed to have once contained a shallow lake the size of Florida’s Okeechobee Lake, suggest that the conditions at that time could have been conducive to lifetime.
Future missions to Mars plan to bring samples to Earth for further testing.
In 2018, Curiosity also confirmed strong seasonal increases in methane in the Martian atmosphere.
Experts said methane observations provide “one of the most compelling cases” for today’s life.
Curiosity methane measurements occurred over four and a half Earth years, covering parts of three Martian years.
Seasonal peaks were detected in late summer in the northern hemisphere and late winter in the southern hemisphere.
The magnitude of these seasonal peaks, by a factor of three, was much more than scientists expected.