Life on Mars could help humans conquer the Red Planet – NASA scientist

Stephen Hawking's predictions in 2010 on colonizing Mars

Whether there is, or has been, life on Mars remains a matter of great intrigue for scientists, with steps constantly being taken to make mankind’s greatest discovery. Numerous probes have been sent to the Red Planet in the hope of finding life, but have so far yielded no results. However, if life on Mars was to be discovered, it would massively help humans in their quest to conquer the solar system.

The likes of SpaceX and NASA are determined to get humans to Mars, but the prospect could still be decades away.

But the discovery of life on Mars could speed up the process.

If life was to be discovered, it would help scientists better understand how conditions on the Red Planet might affect humans.

Mars’ gravity is 62 percent weaker than on Earth – and as humans have evolved to suit the conditions of this planet, even the slightest change to the body could be huge.

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The Red Planet also has very little atmosphere, so it is constantly being bombarded by radiation from the Sun.

By analysing any potential life on the Red Planet, scientists could learn how the increase in radiation could affect the genetic make-up of a human.

Studying life which evolved on a different celestial body will give scientists an opportunity to learn how it developed mechanisms to exist in an other worldly environment, according to NASA chief scientist Dr James Green.

Dr Green told NASA’s Gravity Assist podcast: “If we’re able to crack that, if we’re able to crack the concept of being able to live and grow using, using new changes in our DNA structure that maybe other life forms have really done, then we can go anywhere in the galaxy we want to, I mean, it just opens up everything!”

Dr Green added by discovering life, even if it is just microbial, it would change the entire worldview of humanity.

He continued: “Microbial life is the thing we’re most likely to find within our solar system, intelligent life we may find outside of our solar system, which means the ability to communicate with that intelligent life may be low.

“But you know, even seeing that it’s there, even knowing that it’s there, even sort of watching it from afar, I think can have a huge effect on, on a lot of wide-ranging things”.

However, living on Mars is only part of the battle – getting there will be a major challenge.

Even SpaceX chief Elon Musk has claimed the first people to get there may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

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Mr Musk has previously said: “Getting to Mars, I think, is not the fundamental issue.

“The fundamental issue is building a base, building a city on Mars that is self-sustaining.

“We’re going to build a propellant plant, an initial Mars base – Mars Base Alpha – and then get it to the point where it’s self-sustaining.

“I want to emphasise that this is a very hard and dangerous, difficult thing, not for the faint of heart.

“Good chance you’ll die, it’s going to be tough going, but it will be pretty glorious if it works out.”

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