In all of space exploration history, humans have been fascinated by the possibility of encountering extraterrestrial life forms. When NASA’s Viking landers were sent out to the Red Planet in the 1970s, everyone expected them to discover life on Mars. However, the first-ever captured images of Mars only showed a desolate landscape.
Twenty years later, scientists started to create theories according to which Mars must have been warmer, wetter, and more habitable billions of years ago. Nowadays, most experts believe that if an alien civilization ever inhabited Mars, its microbial descendants could have migrated under the surface of the Red Planet.
Recently, NASA announced the discovery of increased methane gas levels on Mars, calling it an “early science result.” The detection of methane in the Martian atmosphere is hugely significant. NASA’s Curiosity rover made the detection.
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Spotted Possible Proof Of Life On Mars
Generally, microbes called methanogens live in places with low oxygen, either in the underground or in the digestive tracts of animals, releasing methane as a waste product. The gas molecules must have been released recently since sunlight, and chemical reactions would have broken them down within a few centuries. Still, there is the possibility that the methane is ancient, having been trapped under the surface of Mars for a long time and escaping through cracks.
NASA also said: “To maintain scientific integrity, the project science team will continue to analyze the data before confirming results.” Scientists first detected methane on Mars fifteen years ago, with the aid of data collected by ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft. However, many scientists at the time thought that the detection must have been an error.
Since scientists say the recent discovery made by NASA’s Curiosity is preliminary, they announced that they still have a lot of data to process and more results are going to be released next week. But, that might be the most reliable proof that life on Mars exists, at least in the form methanogen microbes.