KEY POINTS

  • Scientists analyzed the chemical composition of samples from Mars
  • The samples were collected by NASA Curiosity rover
  • The results suggest Mars' water may have supported alien life

A new study claims that the water that once flowed on Mars may have had the right conditions to support microbial alien line. The authors of the study came up with this conclusion after analyzing the samples collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover.

In October last year, Curiosity visited Mars’ Gale Crater to collect samples. This site was chosen because it exhibited traces of liquid water.

Using the samples collected by Curiosity, a team of scientists analyzed their chemical composition to get an idea of the nature of the water that once flowed on the Red Planet. As part of their study, the scientists tested the salinity of the samples, which refers to the amount of salt present.

They also analyzed their pH level to test how acidic the samples were and measured their redox state to check the abundance of gases such as hydrogen.

“Salinity, pH, and redox states are fundamental properties that characterize natural waters,” the scientists wrote in the abstract of their study, which was published in the journal Nature. “These properties of surface waters on early Mars reflect palaeoenvironments, and thus provide clues on the palaeoclimate and habitability.

According to their findings, the pore water present in the samples was salty and had the same pH level as the water found on Earth. Since Earth’s oceans and other bodies of water are rich in various kinds of lifeforms, it is possible that the liquid water that once flowed on Mars had the necessary chemical composition for microbial life to thrive in.

Based on this notion and the results of the study conducted by the scientists, it is possible that alien life existed on the Red Planet during the time when it still had liquid water in the form of lakes and rivers.

Further tests are yet to be conducted regarding the existence of life on Mars. This is one of the goals of NASA in its upcoming mission to the Red Planet. According to reports, the agency plans to conduct a sample-return mission with the help of the European Space Agency. Through this mission, the agencies are hoping to find traces of alien life in the samples taken from Mars.

Curiosity rover NASA's Curiosity rover took this selfie on Oct. 11, 2019, the 2,553rd Martian day, or sol, of its mission. The rover drilled twice in this location, which is nicknamed "Glen Etive." Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS