Friday, 16 January 2009

NASA Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars

[The picture shows surface frost- revealed by the Viking missions]

A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here Sunday that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water.

The scientists, Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, told the group that they have submitted their findings to the journal Nature for publication in May, and their paper currently is being peer reviewed.

What Stoker and Lemke have found, according to several attendees of the private meeting, is not direct proof of life on Mars, but methane signatures and other signs of possible biological activity remarkably similar to those recently discovered in caves here on Earth.

If there is life on Mars, and if this life evolved independently from the Earth, then life should exist all over the universe on similar rocky planets. The implication is that it's not too hard for living organisms to arise given the right conditions.

There is a chance that the life suspected to exist on Mars is due to contamination from the Earth. In the past huge asteroid collisions could have launched microbe laced rocks from Earth and these found a cosy environment on a wet Mars. Conversely the Earth may have been contaminated my Martian microbes in the ancient past by the same process. In this case life could be regarded as a one off event.

More investigation is required here to determine what's going on. If we find out that life is common we can look forward to finding out about our fellow lifeforms sometime in the future.

Despite this good news there remains a question mark over NASA's conduct in its Mars Explorations: for some reason they have been misrepresenting their data. A google search will reveal further issues dealing with the Mars photography.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, January 16th, 2009.]

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