We can’t be alone in the Universe, and it’s not even mandatory to be a scientist to figure that out. Common sense tells us that the observable portion of spacetime is way too huge to harbour a single planet with life. Due to its environment and position in the Solar System, Mars is easily one of the best known candidate planets that could be hosting any life forms. But new research suggests that it would be a little too late for us to search for any little green friends with pointy ears on our neighbouring planet.
Scientists are pretty sure that in the present, there’s no trace of life on the Red Planet. But things may have unfolded a lot different in the distant Martian past.
Martian life existing below the planet’s surface
Underground life should be at least theoretically possible if we look at how organisms exist on Earth. The new study says that life could have existed long ago on Mars beneath its surface, and they have several strong arguments for their wild claim.
Mars has water, which is a key component of life. All organisms on Earth need water to function. NASA sent plenty of robots to Mars to study the planet’s water, and they also analyzed the possibility if there could ever be any life dwelling there.
Billion of years ago, our Sun was about 30% fainter than it is now. That means that ancient Mars would have been too cold and dry for life to exist on its surface, which means that some organisms could have been dwelling underground.
The geological features of Mars reveal the presence of hydrated minerals and ancient riverbeds and lakes. This means that Mars had an abundance of liquid water between 3.7 and 4.1 billion years ago.
Lujendra Ojha, the lead author of the research and an assistant professor from the department of Earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, declared:
Even if greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and water vapor are pumped into the early Martian atmosphere in computer simulations, climate models still struggle to support a long-term warm and wet Mars,
I and my co-authors propose that the faint young sun paradox may be reconciled, at least partly, if Mars had high geothermal heat in its past.
The new study was published in the journal of Science Advances.