The Red Planet could once have conditions appropriate for the existence of microbes and hence for life. A study published by researchers at Brown’s University in the United States suggests. According to them, micro-organisms could live on Mars for several hundred million years. So this is a significant finding, writes The Independent.
“By means of common chemical calculations, we have shown that the ancient Martian surface probably had enough dissolved hydrogen to provide the function of a global subsurface biosphere,” said Jesse Tarnas, head of Brown University. “The conditions in the habitable zone would be similar to those on Earth in places where there is underground life,” he added.
Organisms known as underground litotrophic microbial ecosystems or SLiME live on Earth in a very similar environment. In fact they do not have enough energy from the sun’s glow. So instead they absorb the electrons from the molecules that make up their surroundings.
Traces of life will be looking for a probe
On Mars, this environment could have existed more than four billion years ago. It does not mean that the red planet was automatically the home of a large colony of microbes. Knowledge just suggests it could have been, because it had conditions. Potentially habitable was the entire planet up to four kilometers in depth.
Scientists now hope that new findings will motivate future trips to Mars to find evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial life. One such is in plan within two years.
“The challenge of the 2020 probe is to look for stories from past lives. Places that can be left behind these habitable zones seem like a good place to start, ” thinks Jack Mustard, Professor of Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown University.