FORGET to scan the skies for alien life – they’re likely lurking underground on Mars, researchers say.
The rocks beneath the windswept crust of the Red Planet have a perfect chemical balance to support life when combined with water.
Researchers believe the rocks beneath the windswept crust of the Red Planet have a perfect chemical balance to support life when combined with water.
The latest results come from the analysis of Martian meteorites which were found to be similar in composition to the rocks of Earth Earth
Researcher Jesse Tarnas, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, said, “We don’t know if life ever started beneath the surface of Mars, but, if so, we think there would be a lot of energy there to sustain it to this day.
“The big implication for underground exploration is that wherever there is groundwater on Mars, there’s a good chance you have enough chemical energy to sustain life.”
In recent decades, scientists have discovered that the depths of the Earth are home to a large population of creatures separated from the world above.
Lacking sunlight, these animals survive through a process called radiolysis, using the byproducts of chemical reactions produced when radioactive elements within rocks come into contact with water.
The latest results come from the analysis of Martian meteorites, which were found to be similar in composition to Earth’s rocks.
Martian rocks were found to have all the elements necessary for radiolysis while being porous enough to trap water.
Previous research has also found evidence of an active groundwater system on Mars.
Martian rocks have been found to have all the elements necessary for radiolysis while being porous enough to trap water.
Researcher Jack Mustard, of Brown University in the United States, said the perforation under the surface of Mars it would not require heavy equipment and could be performed by small probes.
He said: “If we are to think about the possibility of life today, the underground will absolutely be where the action is.”
Further evidence to support the theory could come from NASA’s Perseverance Rover drilling through the surface of Mars, aided by its miniature Ingenuity helicopter.