A team of scientists have uncovered evidence which could prove that life once existed on the Red Planet.
Researchers from Hungary have analysed a a Martian meteorite found on Earth in the late 1970s and found traces of ‘organic matter’ including ‘different forms of bacteria’.
This discovery could show life once thrived on Mars, but could have even bigger implications because it ‘suggests that there may have been life on other planets’.
The space rock is called ALH-77005 and was found in the Allan Hills, Antarctica, by a team from the Japanese National Institute of Polar Research.
Which might sound like good news, because the presence of water makes it more likely that life could survive on the Red Planet.
But the discovery could show Mars resembled Earth in the past – meaning our own world could be destined to become just as grim and desiccated.
‘Groundwater is strong evidence for the past similarity between Mars and Earth – it suggests they have a similar evolution, to some extent,’ said research scientist Dr Heggy from the University of South California.
‘It helps us to understand the similarities to our own planet and if we are going through the same climate evolution and the same path that Mars is going,’ he added.
‘Understanding Mars’ evolution is crucial for understanding our own Earth’s long-term evolution and groundwater is a key element in this process.’
Last year, Nasa found a lake lurking deep under the polar ice cap at the Red Planet’s South Pole.
The latest research builds on Nasa’s findings by showing that water systems are active across Mars.
During the study, scientists analysed Martian features called ‘Mars Recurrent Slope Linea’ which are ‘dried, short streams of water that appears on some crater walls’.
It was previously believed these were caused by water flow on the surface or just beneath the ground.
‘We suggest that this may not be true. We propose an alternative hypothesis that they originate from a deep pressurized groundwater source which comes to the surface moving upward along ground cracks,’ Heggy added.
Scientists used data from radar probes on a Nasa satellite orbiting Mars to study the craters, drawing on their own knowledge of similar water systems in deserts here on Earth.
‘The experience we gained from our research in desert hydrology was the cornerstone in reaching this conclusion,’ said Abotalib Z. Abotalib, co-author of a paper on the research.
‘We have seen the same mechanisms in the North African Sahara and in the Arabian Peninsula, and it helped us explore the same mechanism on Mars.’
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