Scientists from NASA have found possible signs of life on Mars: Study

  • NASA has finally found out the reason behind the season shift of methane levels in the Martian atmosphere.
  • Organic matter has also been found in sedimentary rocks from Mars.
  • Scientists believe that these studies could be a sign of ancient life on the red planet.

On Friday, NASA released two studies that further elaborate on the inner-workings of the red planet, Mars. The studies, which were published in the journal Science, may be the evidence scientists need to back up their predictions of ancient life on Mars.

Both studies are based on data and samples collected by the Curiosity rover, which moves inside the Gale Crater on Mars, at a speed of about 0.08699 m/hr.

First Study

In the first study, the scientists discovered the reason behind seasonal shifts of methane in the atmosphere of Mars. The gas, which was first detected by researchers back in 2003, and was confirmed by NASA’s Curiosity rover in 2015, could point scientists towards biological life on Mars, as all biological organisms produce methane.

In 2017, scientists from NASA announced that the levels of methane on the red planet appeared to rise and fall throughout the year. Though methane was detected, no one knew from where it was sourced.

“We saw methane spikes that we couldn’t understand. We had some ideas about them, but we couldn’t stifle them because these spikes were occasional,” says the lead researcher Chris Webster.

After the analysis of data for more than four years, scientists have concluded that it was likely that methane in the Martian atmosphere was coming from iced methane pockets, which also exist on Earth.

Though there are many ways in which the gas could have been produced, there’s a chance that this methane, which has been frozen for many millennium, was first made by lifeforms.

Second Study

The Curiosity rover also collected soil samples from two spots in the Gale crater, which were then analysed by scientists. When the samples, which are about three billion years old, were heated, researchers were able to recognise several organic molecules commonly found on Earth.

For someone who is searching for signs of alien life for decades, this is a pretty promising finding.

NASA will also be hosting a live discussion on these studies on June 8, at 0815 hrs.
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