Microbes or Aliens – The Case for the Existence of Life on Mars

Mars RoverBuck Rogers, Staff
Waking Times

Since time immemorial human beings have pondered the existence of intelligent life in the universe, with a keen interest in our neighboring planet.

The technological achievement of landing the Mars rovers on the surface of the red planet is one of mankind’s most incredible accomplishments. From the Opportunity, Spirit and Curiosity rovers, plus numerous satellite missions, we have gathered many photographic images and other data from the surface of Mars, and we now have an exceptional view of it’s some of its geologic features and makeup.

Recent photo analysis is recognizing that some of the rock features are surprisingly similar to formations here on earth that were shaped by living micro-organisms, opening up the possibility that there is, or was, indeed life on Mars. The Mars Curiosity Rover took photos of a formation on the surface of Mars called the Gillespie Lake outcrop, showing rock structures that are very similar to microbially-induced sediment structures (MISS) found on Earth, which in some cases have been dated to be up to 3.8 billion years old; some of the oldest geologic formations found our planet.

In a recent paper published in the journal Astrobiology, geo-biologist Nora Noffke at Old Dominion University in Virginia compared these sediments on Earth to those revealed in photos from the Curiosity, noting the similarities between the formations, pointing to the conclusion that at some time in the far distant past Mars must have had colonies of microbes that went extinct at some point. Her analysis is a critical piece of the puzzle in putting together the history of Mars.

  • “I’ve seen many papers that say ‘Look, here’s a pile of dirt on Mars, and here’s a pile of dirt on Earth,'” says Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center and an associate editor of the journal Astrobiology. “And because they look the same, the same mechanism must have made each pile on the two planets.'”

    McKay adds: “That’s an easy argument to make, and it’s typically not very convincing. However, Noffke’s paper is the most carefully done analysis of the sort that I’ve seen, which is why it’s the first of its kind published in Astrobiology.” [Source]

    potentialsig

    A rock bed at the Gillespie Lake outcrop on Mars displays potential signs of ancient microbial sedimentary structures. Credit: NASA

    Other Clues

    This is only the most recent evidence that we’ve gathered which points to the conclusion that Mars is, or at least at some point was, a life-bearing planet.

    This debate has heated up in the last couple of decades as NASA has produced many provocative images of anomalous rock formations, as well as detecting methane ‘burps’ on the planet, an organic chemical that is produced by either biological or non-biological sources. These puzzling spikes in methane emissions on Mars raise the question of whether or not there are active plumes still emitting gas that could be a by-product of water and organic life.

    “NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill.”

    “This temporary increase in methane—sharply up and then back down—tells us there must be some relatively localized source,” said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Curiosity rover science team. “There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock.” [Source]

    mars-nasa-curiosit_2300845k (1)

    Previous satellite observations have detected unusual plumes of methane on the planet, but none as extraordinary as the sudden “venting” measured at Gale Crater, where evidence suggests water once flowed billions of years ago.

    There is Water on Mars

    NASA has also discovered water on Mars in the form of ice, and upon examination of geologic information, is speculating that at one point water was in free flowing abundance on the planet. In 2014 the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter produced images that revealed “recurring slope lineae,” or dark flowing lines that appear to move down the slopes of Martian mountains, indicating the former presence of an abundance of water.

    Photographic Anomalies

    Additionally, many peculiar photos have been gathered that show unusual structures including strange looking craters, geometric shapes, pyramids, and other objects that appear to be artifacts or ruins on the Martian planet, many of which look very ‘alien’ and unlike any natural formations we see on planet earth.

    Mars Craters

    Strange Craters on the Surface of Mars

    Launched in 1975, NASA’s Viking I spacecraft was the first vehicle to land on the planet, taking startling images of rock formations on the surface of Mars, the most famous of which, taken in Mars’ Cydonia region, appears to be in the likeness of the human face. Although controversial, for many this raises the question: is this ‘face’ a naturally occurring structure, or is it evidence of an ancient civilization that once colonized the planet?

    pio_med

    Viking I’s ‘Face on Mars’

    In 2014, images from the Mars Opportunity Rover captured an extraordinary anomaly when a rock, or some other object, appeared out of nowhere. Prior images of the same location just 4 days old showed no such rock, and NASA has offered the explanation that the rock was dislodged from a hilltop by the rover itself.

    Mars Donut Rock

    The so-called ‘Jelly Donut Rock’ which appeared in 2014

    Mars Formations

    ‘T-shaped’ formations on the surface of Mars

    Our Ancient Origins

    So much of the history of the human race has been lost or hidden from the masses, however, many independent thinkers and researchers have posited that there was once a vibrant alien colony on the planet, and that at some point something happened on Mars that harshly altered its environment. Physicist Dr. John Brandenburg recently made headlines with his claim that geo-chemical samples from the Martian planet reveal evidence of major nuclear fallout, a result of a massive nuclear war, which was responsible for the destruction of its biosphere and the ancient civilizations that inhabited Cydonia and Utopia.

    Puzzling Questions

    The questions about the existence of life on Mars are puzzling both scientists and journalists, yet with each new piece of data that is recovered, the debate only grows. Could it be that there once was an advanced humanoid civilization on our neighboring planet, and that Earth itself is in danger of suffering the same terrible fate which laid waste to Mars?

    About the Author

    Buck Rogers is the earth bound incarnation of that familiar part of our timeless cosmic selves, the rebel within. He is a surfer of ideals and meditates often on the promise of happiness in a world battered by the angry seas of human thoughtlessness. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com.

    Sources:

    http://phys.org/news/2015-01-potential-ancient-life-mars-rover.html
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/space/11297056/Life-on-Mars-in-pictures.html
    http://news.discovery.com/space/mystery-rock-appears-in-front-of-mars-rover-140117.htm
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/nasa-finds-evidence-of-life-on-mars-9929510.html
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2014/02/10/nasa-finds-clues-that-theres-flowing-water-on-mars/
    http://metaresearch.org/solar%20system/cydonia/asom/artifact_html/
    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/14/tech/innovation/mars-mystery-rock/
    http://www.ibtimes.com/pulse/nuclear-war-killed-all-life-mars-yup-there-were-totally-aliens-red-planet-1729883

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