Evidence Of Life On Mars

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The possibility of life on Mars is a subject of significant interest to astrobiology due to the planet's proximity and similarities to Earth . To date no proof has been found of past or present life on Mars. However, cumulative evidence is now building that the ancient surface environment of Mars had liquid water and may have been habitable for microorganisms. The existence of habitable conditions does not necessarily indicate the presence of life.

When imagining locations where extraterrestrial life could potentially dwell, few places inspire the imagination like one of Earth's closest neighbors. For centuries, man has looked to Mars and imagined it as a home for other beings. Over the last fifty years, various missions to the red planet have sought to determine the probability of such an evolution. But how likely is life on Mars?

Since our first close-up picture of Mars in 1965, spacecraft voyages to the Red Planet have revealed a world strangely familiar, yet different enough to challenge our perceptions of what makes a planet work. Every time we feel close to understanding Mars, new discoveries send us straight back to the drawing board to revise existing theories.

WASHINGTON -- A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here Sunday that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water.

The team's findings have been published in the February issue of the journal Astrobiology. The lead author, Lauren White, is based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Co-authors are Gibson, Thomas-Keprta, Simon Clemett and McKay, all based at Johnson. McKay, who led the team that studied the ALH84001 meteorite, died a year ago.