Life on Mars?


 

Since our early explorations of space, humans have been fascinated by the idea of other planets capable of sustaining life as we know it here on Earth. So far, Mars has been the best candidate. It is known that at one point, Mars had water, one of the key components for a life-supporting planet. What we hadn't yet discovered, though, was the specific conditions, such as temperature, of that water, which is key to solving the mystery of Mars' hospitality. 

Now, scientists have been able to discover this key information, and they have good news for those of us who are itching to know whether it has ever been possible for life to thrive on the red planet: water temperatures on Mars once ranged from 122° F to 302° F. Living things like warmth, and some living organisms thrive in just this sort of extreme warmth, such as microbes found in the thermal springs at Yellowstone, which have conditions similar to the water on Mars. 

This information about water temperature was deduced by John Bridges from the University of Leicester Space Research Center, who studied a special class of meteorites, nakhlites, which are only found in impact craters on Mars. From this study, scientists were able to form conclusions about the temperature of the water. This brings us one step closer to learning more about the possibility of life on Mars. 

 

Image by chrismeller, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.