Scientists Say They’ve Discovered Martian Life in Form of Fungi
The days of scientists dismissing all signs of life on the Martian surface as pareidolia or just a trick of shadows may be over, as a statistically significant majority of 70 scientists agree they’ve identified evidence of life on the red planet.
According to a paper published in the Journal of Astrobiology, as well as the consortium of believing scientists, the Mars Curiosity Rover seems to have photographed evidence of life on Mars in the form of algae, lichens, and fungi.
In addition to a number of pictures showing these prokaryotes and eukaryotes seeming to thrive on the surface of Martian rocks, other photos depict what appear to be fungi growing on the rover itself.
The evidence supports a number of hypotheses that these types of “puff-balls,” or fungal organisms would be able to survive the Martian atmosphere, despite exposure to intense space radiation and harsh atmospheric conditions.
Though this information is just now being released to the public, other scientists are claiming they identified equaling compelling evidence decades ago detected by the 1976 Viking mission, yet for some reason NASA still didn’t equip subsequent missions with the proper tools to test for life. And despite the substantial photographic evidence of this life, the only way to truly prove whether it’s living is to sample it and send it back to Earth for testing.
“There are no geological or other abiogenic forces on Earth which can produce sedimentary structures, by the hundreds, which have mushroom shapes, stems, stalks, and shed what looks like spores on the surrounding surface,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Regina Dass of the Department of Microbiology at India’s School of Life Sciences. “In fact, fifteen specimens were photographed by NASA growing out of the ground in just three days!”
Dass and team also argued that there are fluctuations in methane levels on the ground as well as in the Martian atmosphere that vary between seasons, much like methane fluctuations seen on Earth. 90 percent of that methane is the direct result of living organisms.
NASA denies the assertion that these photos are proof of living organisms, calling into question the validity of the journal making the claims. Instead the administration says the photos simply depict minerals like hematite.
But if this scientific consortium is correct and there are basic life forms able to survive Mars’ hostile atmosphere, how they ended up on the red planet is a bit of a mystery.
Considering that certain cyanobacteria and fungi have been observed to survive the vacuum of space and cosmic radiation, some believe these microorganisms on Mars may have come from Earth, either blasted from meteorite impacts or having caught a ride with one of the rovers.
And then there’s also the other hypothesis that says they could be remnants of an ancient civilization that once resided on Mars, before some cataclysmic event turned the planet into the inhospitable rock it is today. At least that’s what remote viewers working for the CIA claim they saw.
For more on the potential habitability of Mars watch Dr. Robert Zubrin on this episode of Beyond Belief:
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NASA's Curiosity Rover Found A Strange Metallic Object on Mars
NASA’s Curiosity rover recently stumbled upon an unusually shiny object in Mars’ Gale Crater. While the discovery received some coverage, it came at a time when most attention was focused on the space agency’s successful touchdown of the InSight Lander. NASA says it believes the object may be a meteorite and that it plans to study it more closely, though Curiosity was unable to pick it up on its first attempt.
The object, which NASA named Little Colonsay after an island in Scotland, has a distinct sheen to it, even noticeable through a black and white image the agency posted on its website.
“The planning team thinks it might be a meteorite because it is so shiny,” Susanne Schwenzer, a member of the Curiosity team, wrote. “But looks can deceive, and proof will only come from the chemistry.”
Curiosity has discovered meteorites in the past, though every irregular or eye-catching find sparks excitement, especially considering the recent discovery of a 12-mile wide body of water beneath the planet’s surface — a breakthrough confirming that Mars, at some point in its past, contained vast oceans and potentially harbored life. This possibility excites those who believe we may find evidence of a lost civilization or even fossils beneath the planet’s dusty surface.
The latest discovery apparently occurred the same day the InSight Lander touched down, as NASA’s JPL website said Curiosity was greeted by the Mr. Rogers’ jingle “Please would you be my neighbor,” before it got to work studying Little Colonsay.
This is not the first time Curiosity has come across anomalous looking objects, as it once found a piece of plastic, which was later alleged to have originated as debris from its landing.
Other strange looking objects the rover uncovered have convinced people that NASA found animals or artificial remnants it then covered up or ignored. However, the space agency insists these to be the product of pareidolia – a trick our minds play on us to make objects appear recognizable – though still, some remain skeptical.
Back in August, a very distinctly shaped object was discovered by Curiosity igniting speculation of an alien artifact or that it was a piece of the rover which was starting to fall apart. NASA tried to quell the excitement saying it tested the object and found it was a rock.
In other instances, online sleuths have claimed that the rover imaged animals including a squirrel and a duck on the Martian surface. These claims however, should probably be taken with a grain of salt, but if you’re interested you can find them here and here.
Even if most of Curiosity’s discoveries are just rocks, there are in fact, some truly unexplained anomalies discovered while observing the red planet – check them out in this episode of Deep Space :