Centipede, corals and mushrooms: scientists believe they have found evidence of life on Mars. Photo by
Humanity has probably already found life on Mars, but hasn't realized it yet. A group of scientists claims to have found fossilized sponges, worm eggs, crabs, scorpions and more on the surface of the red planet.
Whether it's really the life we've been looking for, or just a game of our imagination caught up in the search for life forms, it will only be possible to say definitively when people set foot on Mars or when the samples are returned to Earth, The Telegraph writes. Nevertheless, scientists believe they have strong evidence.
"We have pictures of mushrooms growing out of the ground, increasing in size, increasing in number, as seen in successive images," Dr. Rudolph Shield of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (USA) told the researchers, speaking on behalf of researchers who have published four peer-reviewed articles with their findings about life on Mars in scientific journals.
Scientists believe they were able to find fossilized sponges, corals, worm eggs, algae, fungi, lichens, shrimp, crabs, sea spiders, scorpions, a green glow of living cyanobacteria and even a translucent millipede in the photos.
"We have pictures of an unusual specimen that may have been in the pit and two days later was outside the pit. Does this constitute proof? Proof would require one of these organisms to come up and lick the camera. Proof would require seizure and direct examination," the scientist stresses.
The richest in fossils turned out to be Gale Crater, located near the planet's equator. Scientists believe that this impact crater used to be a large lake.
Intriguing to scientists is that the probable Martian fossils are very similar to Earth fossils found in the Burgess Shale Formation (Canadian Rocky Mountains) in a layer as old as 500 million years. The images from the red planet show signs of microbiolites, rock-like underwater structures that look like reefs but are composed entirely of millions of microbes.
In a study published in the journal Applied Cell Biology, scientists say they found translucent cocoon-like eggs in the Martian images. They are less than a millimeter in diameter and show a hole at one end. Scientists also stated that some of these cocoons have "unidentified exiting and entering specimens."
On the Martian Meridian Plateau, located slightly north of the equator, mushroom-shaped forms similar to Earth's porch mushrooms, which were attached to rocks with stems and had mushroom-shaped caps, were also found.
An article in the Journal of Astrophysics & Aerospace Technology argues that the deposits in Gale Crater resemble the Cambrian Explosion, a period of "biological boom" on Earth that led to the rapid development of animal diversity.
The authors of the published works are convinced that the fossils prove that life once existed on Mars. But whether it is there now - scientists are not sure.
Dr. Vincenzo Rizzo of the Geology Department of the Italian National Research Council believes that talk of mushrooms or spiders "is hardly credible.
I believe that the presence of microbiological structures and algal fossils should be considered established for the time being. But what about living organisms? I have only seen rocks. Claims about spiders, etc. are based only on morphological aspects, which contradict the biological evolution expected on Mars," asserts Rizzo.
However, he does not deny the existence of life on Mars, as Mars rovers have recently recorded whitish patches and bloats that "may be fungal forms or lichens."
Suspicions of life on Mars date back to the 1950s, when oxygen was detected in the planet's atmosphere, which could have been formed by photosynthesis.
Subsequently, NASA's Viking 1 and Viking 2 landed on Mars in 1976 and found samples that looked like algae and cyanobacteria. The probes also recorded bursts of methane, often a byproduct of organisms.
Now the discovery of "Vikings" is trying to confirm the Perseverance Rover, which is drilling an ancient Martian lake - Lake Ezero crater. The recovered samples are expected to return to Earth in 2033. Martian samples are also due back to China in the early 2030s.
But perhaps all of this will be superfluous if Elon Musk manages to send a manned mission to the red planet before the end of the decade.
Previously OBOZREVATEL told about the theory of scientists who believe that extraterrestrial life does not have to be humanoid and can really surprise humanity.
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