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NASA Thinks There Could Be Life In Underground Caves On Mars

NASA Thinks There Could Be Life In Underground Caves On Mars

Scientists believe there could be life in underground caves on Mars.

A specialist at NASA stated that because the planet's surface is cold and dry, as well as recording high levels of radiation, life may be possible underground where there may be some form of water supply.

According to the US Geological Survey's (USGS) Astrogeology Science Center, more than 1,000 cave entrances have been mapped on the planet.

The theory has been backed by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory research scientist Vlada Stamenković, who discussed the idea at a recent space event, according to Space.com.

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He proposed sending up a device that could sense subterranean groundwater or other chemicals that point towards signs of life from the ground down.

Speaking at the Mars Extant Life conference, Mr Stamenković reportedly said: "The surface of Mars is a very oxidising, radiation-heavy environment where liquid water is not really stable for an extended amount of time.

USGS has mapped out more than 1,000 cave sites. Credit: USGS
USGS has mapped out more than 1,000 cave sites. Credit: USGS

"It's the worst place to look for life-sites on Mars.

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"Groundwater might be the only habitat for extant life on Mars, if it still exists today."

The space station is planning to send a rover up to Mars later this year, which will hopefully give a deeper insight into what the environment holds, collecting samples and sending them back to Earth.

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NASA Scientists Think There Could Be Life On One Of Jupiter's Moons
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NASA Scientists Think There Could Be Life On One Of Jupiter's Moons

This comes after scientists discovered breathable oxygen in another galaxy.

For the first time in history, a team of astronomers at Shanghai Astronomical Observatory made the incredible find, which points towards the potential for life elsewhere.

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With oxygen being one of the most common elements known to man, scientists have long since believed it would be relatively easy to spot it in the universe. But until now, it had eluded them.

NASA plans to send another rover up this year to find more information out about the planet. Credit: PA
NASA plans to send another rover up this year to find more information out about the planet. Credit: PA

Using radio telescopes, researchers at the observatory spotted signs of it in a galaxy called Markarian 231, an incredible 560 million light-years away from Earth.

The telescopes showed radiation at a wavelength of 2.52 millimetres, which is the sign of breathable oxygen.

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Usually, oxygen is incredibly difficult to detect from Earth because the kinds of signals that should alert us to it are absorbed by the planet's atmosphere.

It was possible on this occasion because the light from Markarian 231 was redshifted, which means it was stretched into longer wavelengths as it travelled towards Earth, allowing it to pass through the atmosphere.

Writing about the discovery in the Astrophysical Journal, researchers confirmed it was the 'first detection of extragalactic molecular oxygen', and the most oxygen ever seen outside of our own solar system.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, Interesting, space

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]