A recently published study suggests that spongy life-forms may live below the surface of Mars, arguing that the salty lakes could provide enough oxygen in order to sustain primitive forms of life.
For a long time researchers believed that Mars is sterile but a new computer model created by American researchers hints that the underground lakes are rich in salt and water, while also being capable to generate large amounts of oxygen which should allow the existence of life.
The study notes that the best areas are situated around the poles of the planet, while also suggesting that life may be present in select zones which are rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium which play a fundamental role when it comes to metabolic functions.
In addition, on select surface zones on the Red Planet aerobic microbes can survive if the oxygen concentration is high enough. It is estimated that up to six percent of the surface could allow the existence of multicellular organisms.
Some researchers believe that the possible life-forms on Mars could be similar to the ones encountered on Earth. The possibility wasn’t explored until now as many scientists believed that Mars was unable to sustain life due to the lack of an Earth-like atmosphere, which allows weather cycles while keeping our planet warm and habitable, as the oxygen levels found in the samples can be compared to those present on Earth in our times.
Analysis of Martian meteorites hints that the Red Planet used to have large oceans and a functional atmosphere. It is now believed that water deposits can be found around the planet, below the icy surface that exists today.
Theoretically, Mars could offer a large variety of near-surface biomes, where enough oxygen could allow the existence of various microorganisms.
While NASA hasn’t focused on researching alien life since the early 1990’s the SETI initiative could be rebooted and the National Academy of Sciences beliefs that the search of aliens should become a major part of future NASA missions.