The fungi-like objects spotted on the surface of Mars may provide more possibilities in finding life outside Earth.

NASA has been studying ways to identify alien life and a recent study published in the Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science may have revealed more information on that possibility. According to the study, the reviewed evidence supported the idea that prokaryotes and eukaryotes may have colonized the planet once.

The study's abstract states that despite long-term exposure to the harsh space environment and spacecraft sterilization, some species could remain viable. Moreover, simulations of Mars' environment showed that prokaryotes, fungi, and lichens could survive, supporting the theory that life could have repeatedly been transferred between Earth and Mars. NASA rovers Opportunity and Curiosity captured images of what looks like algae, lichens and "Martian mushrooms." The photos further showed around 15 mushroom-shaped specimens appearing from under Mars’ red sands.

According to Dr. Vincenzo Rizzo, a National Research Council biogeologist, seasonal fluctuations of methane on the planet may also be a sign that there is life on Mars. According to him, methane fluctuations have been "directly correlated with plant growth and death cycles." He also added that 90 percent of terrestrial methane is originally biological.

Co-author Dr. Regina Dass, of the Department of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, India, also said that the Earth does not have abiogenic or geological forces capable of producing the spore-like objects they saw on the surface. The controversial nature of the findings also prompted the Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science Reviews to subject the study to extensive peer review. Eight senior editors and six independent scientists reviewed the article, three of them rejected the evidence while others continue the approval process of its publication.

Study of Mars continues to be a hot topic as countries engage in a space race. This is more evident as recently released photos of NASA's SLS rocket revealed some blurred portions. According to NASA, blurring parts follows specific protocols and policies of the agency when it comes to protecting sensitive data. There have been speculations that NASA could be using controversial military technology that it doesn't want rival countries to know about.