Microbial life may be prevalent on Mars: study

Microbial life may be prevalent on Mars: study

Scientists have long been struggling to determine whether or not Mars ever supported any kind of life. Now, a new study has indicated that life on the Red Planet might not only be present but also be prevalent.

The new study, conducted by Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute astrobiologist Janice Bishop, suggested that alien life in the form of living organisms could very present as close to Mars probes as the nearest rock.

Bishop has suggested that iron oxides coating the surface of Martian rocks might just be a “sunscreen” for micro organisms. She reached the idea from her work in the Mojave Desert, where she found iron oxide coating on carbonate rocks. That research was an extension of a previous study in which she found that iron oxides were an “UV sunscreen” for ancient photosynthesis on our planet.

The carbonates that are believed to be strong indicators of the presence of liquid water were also discovered just below the coating.

Sharing her findings, she said, “They were all hiding under this red mineral at the top, called hematite.” It may be noted here that hematite is a common element on the Red Planet.

Separately, a team of scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has discovered that the Red Planet might have an atmospheric “escape route” that have helped its hydrogen to drift into space at much faster rates that previous thought.

The new findings were detailed in the most recent edition of the journal Seeker.


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