ESA Mars Express, NASA MRO Reveal a Warmer, Wetter Ancient Mars -- Alien Life on Mars Possible?
The red planet and its past still baffle scientists until today. Although it is dry and dead today, a new study suggests that there is new evidence to prove that Mars was once warmer and wetter.
There is less and less rebuttal when it comes to water that allegedly flowed on Mars. The issue now is whether or not the red planet has experienced a warmer and wetter climate.
Recently, a report surfaced saying that the canyons on Mars were formed due to greenhouse gasses and climate change on the red planet. Somehow, this new theory supports the first speculations because the warmer the planet, the bigger the chance of greenhouse gasses accumulating on it.
The new evidence proving that Mars was once warmer and wetter were based on data collected by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express in collaboration with NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The evidence suggests that the younger Mars hosted water for long periods of time and not short bursts as previously suggested.
The research focused on the Hellas Basin, whose craters could prove that water flowed there for long periods of time. The Hellas Basin was formed billions of years ago at about 2,300 kilometers in diameter and is thought to be one of the biggest impact craters in the Solar System.
Researchers from the University of Chieti-Pescara suggest that the once believed volcanic rocks in the Hellas Basin could be sedimentary rocks and were not caused by volcanic activities.
"Instead, we found thick, widespread swathes of sedimentary rock...To create the kind of sedimentary plains we found at Hellas, we believe that a generally aqueous environment was present in the region some 3.8 billion years ago," Francesco Salese, lead author of the study from the IRSPS, Università "Gabriele D'Annunzio", Italy, said in a statement.
This new study is vital in the search for alien life on Mars. Experts say that these types of clay-based rocks are also a good material to search for possible life on Mars, according to a report from the United Press International.
However, the best way to find out the truth is for scientists to get their hands on actual Martian regolith samples. And since both manned and unmanned missions to Mars are likely to happen in the next few years, the potential of finding out if alien exists on Mars might just be a few years away.