Microbes or Aliens

Since time immemorial human beings have pondered the existence of intelligent life in the universe, with an interest in our neighboring planet. The technological achievement of Mars on the surface of the red planet is one of the most incredible discoveries.

From the Opportunity, plus numerous satellite missions, we have gathered photographs and images and data from Mars, and we now have an exceptional view of its geologic features.

A Recent photo is recognizing that some of the rock features are similar to formations here on earth that were shaped by living micro-organisms, opening up the possibility that there is, or was, indeed life on Mars.

The photos of a formation on the surface of Mars called the Gillespie Lake outcrop, showing rock structures that are very similar to microbially-induced sediment structures (MISS) found on Earth, which in some cases have been dated to be up to 3.8 billion years old; some of the oldest geologic formations found our planet.

The analysis is a critical piece of the puzzle in putting together the history of Mars.

There is a researcher said “I’ve seen many papers that say ‘Look, here’s a pile of dirt on Mars, and here’s a pile of dirt on Earth,'” says Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center and an associate editor of the journal Astrobiology.

“And because they look the same, the same mechanism must have made each pile on the two planets.'”

A rock bed at the Gillespie Lake outcrop on Mars
displays potential signs of ancient microbial sedimentary structures.
Credit: NASA

More Clues

This is recent evidence that we’ve gathered which got to the conclusion that Mars is, or at least at some point was, a life-bearing planet.

This debate has heated the last couple of decades as NASA has produced many provocative images of anomalous rock formations, as well as detecting methane ‘burps’ on the planet, an organic chemical that is produced by either biological or non-biological sources.

These puzzling spikes in methane emissions on Mars raise the question of whether or not there are active plumes still emitting gases that could be a by-product of water and organic life.

“NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill.”

“This temporary increase in methane—sharply up and then back down—tells us there must be some relatively localized source,” said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Curiosity rover science team. “There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock.”

Previous satellite observations have detected unusual plumes of methane on the planet,
but none as extraordinary as the sudden “venting” measured at Gale Crater,
where evidence suggests water once flowed billions of years ago.

There is Water on Mars

NASA has also discovered water on Mars in the form of ice, and upon examination of geologic information, is speculating that at one point water was in free-flowing abundance on the planet.

In 2014 the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter produced images that revealed “recurring slope lineae,” or dark flowing lines that appear to move down the slopes of Martian mountains, indicating the former presence of an abundance of water.

Photographic Anomalies

Additionally, many peculiar photos have been gathered that show unusual structures including strange looking craters, geometric shapes, pyramids, and other objects that appear to be artifacts or ruins on the Martian planet, many of which look very ‘alien’ and unlike any natural formations we see on planet earth.

Strange Craters on the Surface of Mars

Launched in 1975, NASA’s Viking I spacecraft was the first vehicle to land on the planet, taking startling images of rock formations on the surface of Mars, the most famous of which, taken in Mars’ Cydonia region, appears to be in the likeness of the human face.

Although controversial, for many this raises the question: is this ‘face’ a naturally occurring structure, or is it evidence of an ancient civilization that once colonized the planet?

Viking I’s ‘Face on Mars’

In 2014, images from the Mars Opportunity Rover captured an extraordinary anomaly when a rock, or some other object, appeared out of nowhere.

Prior images of the same location just 4 days old showed no such rock, and NASA has offered the explanation that the rock was dislodged from a hilltop by the rover itself.

Ragnar Larsen