by Graham Pierrepoint
Perhaps David Bowie wasn’t barking up the wrong tree after all these years – as continued study into the red planet, our closest celestial neighbor, suggests that there could have been – or may still be – life on Mars. While the planet has sat for what we assume to have been an eternity without a shred of life on its surface, NASA’s latest findings appear to suggest that the hunt for extra-terrestrial life forms is very much back on – and in a big way – as even the slightest suggestion of life beyond our Earthly realm is colossal news indeed.
In reports published this week, it seems that Curiosity – NASA’s famous Mars rover, working autonomously up in the heavens – has been able to source organic matter – molecules – residing on the red planet, effectively meaning that life once existed here, or, perhaps, that it still may be at large. Could the findings suggest that ancient life existed here before we even started building space crafts? It’s hard to say at this point in time – but what it does mean is that there is renewed energy and passion in finding alien life – intelligent or otherwise.
▶ Building Blocks For Life Found On Mars
Curiosity’s team are particularly excited about the findings – as are NASA in general, as you may expect. “With these new findings, Mars is telling us to stay the course and keep searching for evidence of life (…) I’m confident that our ongoing and planned missions will unlock even more breath-taking discoveries on the Red Planet,” advised Science Mission Directorate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen. Curiosity has been able to make these findings as a result of sourcing out an ancient, dried-up lake – or what is presumed to be so – and as a result of finding certain molecules buried deep within its famous red soil.
“The big takeaway is that we can find evidence,” advised geologist Kirsten Siebach – who, while not on mission with NASA nor involved directly with Discovery, is excited that this new data could prove naysayers wrong. “We can find organic matter preserved in mudstones that are more than three billion years old – and we see releases of gas today that could be related to life in the subsurface, or at the very least are probably related to warm water or environments where Earth life would be happy living.”
▶ NASA Finds Concentrated Batch Of Organic Molecules On Mars
It’s all very exciting – don’t hold your breath for little green men just yet, but the way things are moving, NASA could be heading towards some truly unbelievable discoveries.