Mars is one of the planets in the solar system. It is referred to as the red planet due to its appearance. It is the second smallest planet after Mercury. Mars is just after planet Earth. It is believed that human beings can survive on Mars. Since Mars is one of the closest planets to the sun, it is considered a terrestrial planet. It is interesting to note that the planet can be seen from Earth. It comprises of minerals that contain metals, oxygen and silicon. Mars has been of great interest to the space arena and science for many years. Many people including scientists, astronauts and average people are curious about how it would be like for them to live on another planet. That is why organizations such as NASA are still examining whether there is life on Mars. This piece seeks to discuss whether life is possible on Mars.
Environmental Conditions of Planet Mars
The scientific search for life on Mars started in the 19th Century and is still ongoing. The searches were conducted through landing missions and telescopic investigations. Astrobiologists are of the opinion that water is essential when exploring for life. Scientists speculate that in the past, water from streams and rivers flowed on the surface of Mars. However, they believe that the water vanished into space. The scientists suggest that those early conditions on Mars could have supported life in the planet. Today, the planet is barren and dry with a majority of its water now in polar ice caps. To make matters worse, Mars has a thin atmosphere allowing radiation from the sun to reach its surface. The small atmosphere makes the environment inhabitable. The planet’s temperature average 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperatures can be low as 195 degrees Fahrenheit. The salts in Mars are corrosive and they can harm human beings and other organisms.
Scientists take on survival on Mars
Researchers confirmed three out of thirty-four meteorites had shown past the possibility of life on Mars. The three meteorites are:
- ALH 84001- it comprised of structures from remnants of bacteria-like life forms. In 2012, it was established that no life was involved in the formation of the structure.
- Nakhla- it was linked to DNA in earthly rocks. Its structure is still unknown, and no DNA was found.
- Shergotty –comprised of characteristics of microbial communities.
However, scientists believe that life on Mars is possible. They have offered many ideas that would go a long way to making life on the red planet possible. Spacesuits can be done to assist in keeping off radiation from the sun. A person can plant his or her crops in the Martian soil after doing away with poisons contained in the soil. Peoples’ habitat should be heated and pressurized to provide them favorable conditions on Mars. In 2016, NASA reported discovering underground ice. They have equated this volume of water with that in Lake Superior.
To date, the Scientists cannot confirm the past or present existence of life in Mars. The discovery of water on Mars does not help scientists know if life on Mars is possible. It only gives them hope of life in Mars. The scientists will continue to explore the possibility of life on Mars. NASA has scheduled other missions to Mars to continue their exploration.