NASA unveils compelling evidence of life on Mars

April 29th, 2010 - 1:47 pm ICT by ANI  

London, April 29 (ANI): NASA has revealed compelling evidence of life on Mars.

NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity missions have disclosed signs of sulphates on Mars, which evidently means there could be water on the Red Plant and consequently life.

While previous missions have also suggested the presence of water on Mars, NASA says the recent evidence is more concrete.

Boffins are especially excited over the discovery of gypsum - a sulphate found in fossils in the Mediterranean.

Jack Farmer, researcher at the Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona, was “optimistic” there was - or had been - life on Mars.

“One, thanks to Opportunity and the rovers and orbital imaging it is clear that there are literally vast areas of Mars that are carpeted with various sorts of sulphates, including gypsum,” the Sun quoted Bill Schopf, researcher at the University of California in Los Angeles, as saying.

Schopf went on: “Two, it turns out on earth there just hasn’t been hardly any work done at all to show whether gypsum ever includes within it preserved evidence of former life.

“The age doesn’t matter. We just didn’t know that fossils and organic matter and things like that were well preserved within gypsum.

“So, three, it turns out that now we have made that first step we are going to find out how widespread it is in other sulphate deposits on earth.

“And those lines of evidence will then give us a way to justify going to Mars and looking at gypsum because it looks as though based on these findings that is going to turn out to be a really excellent place to find evidence of ancient life, regardless of age, if in fact it is there.”

According to Dr Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, a sample of Mars rock would help establish the presence of life on the planet.

He believes the presence of Methane in the Martian atmosphere hinted at the possibility of life.

Squyres said: “Methane is a molecule that should go away very quickly. We need to send a mission to find out if the source is biological.

“We also need to send a mission to return samples from Mars. That would enable scientists to find out whether Mars might ever have harboured life.

He added: “If we are ever going to show if there was ever life on Mars, I think we’re going to have to study samples back on Earth.” (ANI)

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