Life on Mars?


Above, Mars Exploration Rover Spirit snapped this gorgeous shot of a Martian sunset as the sun sank below Gusev crater on May 19, 2005.

Scientists say methane bursts emanating from the red planet may be signs of microbiotic life below the Martian surface:

“Pockets of methane might have been produced long ago by the interaction of water and volcanic rock below the Martian surface. But the gas might also be produced by microbes that thrive below the inhospitable Martian surface, where there may be liquid water. Such organisms might be similar to those seen kilometres below the surface of the Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa, where life has survived without the Sun for millions of years, the team says. There, radioactivity breaks apart water, and microbes use the resulting hydrogen to process carbon dioxide and make methane. ‘Whatever the source, it indicates the presence of liquid water underground, and that there is some type of activity going on – biologic or geologic, and that is exciting,’ says Atreya.”

Oh, c’mon. Microbes? you know it’s our old friend.

Posted January 16, 2009 at 5:20pm ETC by Andy Towle
in News, Space