Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is There Life on Mars?

Scientist Michael Mumma of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said: “This raises the probability substantially that life was there or still survives at the present.

“We think the probability is much higher now based on this evidence.”

The bugs that made it may have vanished millions of years ago, leaving the methane frozen under the planet’s surface.

But another possibility is that some hardy organisms still survive on the Red Planet, living underground without sunlight and using hydrogen from water for energy. Similar microbes exist on Earth.

Methane produced by the action of water on hot carbon bearing rocks, as occurs in volcanic regions on Earth, is the alternative explanation.

Whatever the source is, scientists agree that something is replenishing the methane.

The find is seen as exciting new evidence that Martian microbes are still alive today.

Some scientists reckon methane is also produced by volcanic processes. But there are NO known active volcanoes on Mars.

Furthermore, Nasa has found the gas in the same regions as clouds of water vapour, the vital “drink” needed to support life.