For decades, astronomers have sent rovers to Mars to look for signs of extraterrestrial life. It all started in 1997 with the US spacecraft Mars Pathfinder that landed a base station along with a roving probe on the Red Planet. But what if the proof of alien life forms present on our neighboring planet exists in our own backyard?
The Salda lake from southwest Turkey could provide precious clues for the existence of alien life forms on Mars. According to NDTV.com, minerals and rock deposits from the lake represent the nearest match on our planet to those located around the Jezero Crater from the Red Planet, where NASA’s Perseverance rover landed in February. The idea is supported by NASA itself, and the crater was filled with water in the distant Martian past.
Perseverance already looks for traces of microbial life on Mars
The main purpose of the Perseverance rover is to find traces of microbial life that may have existed in the distant Martian past. Scientists are now optimistic that information gathered from Salda could help them in the process. Thomas Zurbuchen’s statement, the NASA associate administrator for science, confirms it:
Salda … will serve as a powerful analogue in which we can learn and interrogate.
A scientific team of American and Turkish researchers started research in 2019 at the Salda lake. They believe that sediments surrounding the lake eroded from large mounds that form because of microbes. As microbialites will result, scientists who are in charge of the Perseverance rover are trying to discover if there are any microbialites in Mars’ Jezero Crater.
Zubuchen also declared:
When we find something at Perseverance we can go back to look at Lake Salda to really look at both processes, (looking at) similarities but equally importantly differences that are really between Perseverance and Lake Salda.
Therefore, we’ll still have plenty more to wait for a definitive answer if there really was any alien life on Mars. The good news is that scientists know new places to look for clues.