Life on Mars: Scientists find ‘mushrooms’ in Mars photos
New Delhi : In a major breakthrough, scientists claim to have seen 'proof' of life on the surface of Mars. They say that they have seen 'growing algae, lichens and ‘Martian mushrooms’ in images taken by NASA rovers Opportunity and Curiosity. Meanwhile, the US space agency is yet to respond to the conclusion drawn by the Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science.
While some scientists consider Mars as barren planet, many believe that it is the only planet in the Solar System which has a strong possibility of hosting life. But, it there is chance of life on Mars, then it's probably below the surface.
The new controversial study claims that 15 fungi specimens were photographed by NASA growing out of the ground on the red planet in just three days.
Dr Regina Dass, of the Department of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, India, claims that the photos do not show any fungi species that grow on Earth.
“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,” Dr Dass said.
“In fact, fifteen specimens were photographed by NASA growing out of the ground in just three days.”
The report mentioned previous studies that suggest a variety of species, including bacteria, algae, fungi and lichens, can survive a simulated Mars-like environment.
Dr Vincenzo Rizzo, a National Research Council biogeologist, also pointed to the seasonal fluctuations in Martian methane as additional evidence of life.
He said: “As we detail in our article, 90 per cent of terrestrial methane is biological in origin and seasonal fluctuations in atmospheric methane are directly correlated with plant growth and death cycles.
“The cyclic fluctuations in Martian methane is reflective of active biology which is also depicted in before and after pictures of specimens photographed by NASA."
Going further, life on mars seems to be a never-ending debate as an ancient underground system of lakes on Mars could also suggest there was once life on the red planet.
Scientists used information from the European Space Agency (ESA) to locate the lost waterways, giving them new hope in the search for alien life.
Scientists have been predicting that Mars used to contain water for almost a decade but, until now, they have never been sure where it was located.
Utrecht University geologist Francesco Salese used satellite images from the ESA Mars Mission orbiter to study 24 low-lying areas located on the northern hemisphere of Mars.
He also found evidence of ancient dried up rivers and coastlines.
He said, "These are strong indications that water was once present in these dried-up basins. There is no evidence that they had been filled from the surface, so up-welling ground water is the only remaining explanation. The deltas are all located at approximately the same elevation, so we are probably dealing with a ground water reservoir that spans the entire planet.”