The quest for life on Mars continues with NASA’s latest rover Endurance using its scientific instruments to scan the Jezero crater, an area believed to be a parched ancient lake, for signs of ancient microbial life.
But according to an international research team, other space organizations may have already found evidence of relatively advanced life – in the form of “mushroom-like martian samples” according to a new paper published in the journal. Advances in microbiology.
The team, which includes researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and George Mason University, believes they have found photographic evidence for a number of fungus-like organisms, some resembling puffballs, a round cloud-like fungus found in abundance here on Earth. , on the red planet.
Their evidence: images taken by NASA̵
“Fungi thrive in radiation-intensive environments,” the team writes in its paper. “Sequential photos document that mushroom-like marsh specimens emerge from the ground and increase in size, including those resembling puffballs.”
“After the destruction of spherical samples by the rover wheels, new spherical ones appeared – some with stems – on top of old tracks,” the researchers write.
The team went so far as to say that “black fungus-bacterial-like specimens also appeared on the rovers.”
They did not stop there: The team also examined photos taken by NASA’s HiRISE and found evidence of “amorphous specimens in a crevice” that “changed shape and location then disappeared.”
“It is well established that a number of terrestrial organisms survive Mars-like conditions,” the team concludes. “Given the probability that Earth has sown Mars with life, and life has been repeatedly transferred between worlds, it would be surprising if there was no life on Mars.”
The team claims that these life forms from Mars “would have evolved and already been adapted to the low temperatures, intermittent availability of water, low amounts of free oxygen and high levels of radiation.”
The scientists warned of their findings, pointing out that “similarities in morphology are not evidence of life” and that “we can not completely rule out minerals, weathering and unknown geological forces unique to Mars and unknown and alien to Earth.”
But it is nonetheless a wild conclusion. Scientists’ peers are likely to go over the paper with a fine-toothed comb and likely shred the results – it’s not every day that scientists are willing to stick their necks out and claim to have found evidence of life on Mars.
More about life on Mars: Evidence of life on Mars found by NASA Rover
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