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Curiosity rover discovered that evidence of alien life on Mars might have been erased

Curiosity rover discovered that evidence of alien life on Mars might have been erased

One particular process may have erased the evidence from the Red Planet

The Curiosity Rover has discovered that evidence of past life on Mars may have been erased.

It's a question that has long compelled human beings...if we are indeed alone in the universe. Mars has often been at the centre of speculation about life on other planets. Whether it's in science fiction, portrayed in films like War of the Worlds, or even popular music, the Red Planet has captured our imagination for decades.

The Mars Rover has been exploring the surface of the Red Planet.
Instagram / NASA

Now, fresh studies from the Curiosity Rover could suggest that at some point in its history, Mars may have hosted life, but the evidence of life may have been wiped out.

It's based on the discovery of 'brine patches' on the planet, essentially super-salty water. These would have been strong enough to effectively 'reset' the mineral record on the Red Planet.

The process of chemicals transforming in sediments is called diagenesis.

John Grotzinger, geology professor at the California Institute of Technology, said: "Even though diagenesis may erase the signs of life in the original lake, it creates the chemical gradients necessary to support subsurface life, so we are really excited to have discovered this."

So while any potential ancient life may have been erased from the surface, it could still have existed beneath the surface. But with the record erased by the diagenesis, evidence of ancient martians could have been erased.

The Rover has sent back pictures from Mars.
Instagram / NASA

Studies around alien life, particularly ancient alien life, are often a little bit tricky to navigate. It's very easy to stray into conspiracy theories around 'Ancient Aliens' assisting early humans in making some Great Leap Forward.

In reality, these conspiracy theories are just that, and often based around a xenophobic notion that certain groups of people couldn't possibly have built civilisations by themselves. They could, and they did.

Nonetheless, it's a fascinating idea that Mars may well have supported life at some point in its history. More evidence that this may well have been possible on Mars is the discovery of methane.

On Earth, methane is a gas that is produced by organic processes, whether it's by bacteria or cows or any number of biological functions. So, its presence on Mars is a pretty exciting discovery.

Curiosity Rover began its mission to Mars nine years ago. The Rover has been patrolling the surface of the planet, collecting samples of interest, and sending data back to Earth to be analysed by scientists.

It's possible that the Rover will return one day bringing back the samples it's collected to be examined in greater depth.

But until then, while it's certainly exciting, the prospect of 'Life on Mars' remains a captivating but still very remote possibility.

Featured Image Credit: NASA/ Plrang GFX / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, World News, Space, NASA