If Life Ever Existed on Mars Most Likely Below Planet Surface

According to new NASA study if life ever existed on Mars, the longest lasting habitats were most likely below the Red Planet’s surface. The new study, which analyzed clay deposits on the Red Planet, revealed that the surface of Mars may have been dry and arid even in its distant past, with lakes and rivers dotting the Martian landscape for only short episodes. These episodes occurred toward the end of a period of hundreds of millions of years during which warm water interacted with subsurface rocks. This has implications about whether life existed on Mars and how the Martian atmosphere has changed. According to John Mustard, professor at Brown University in Providence the types of clay minerals that formed in the shallow subsurface are all over Mars.

The types that formed on the surface are found at very limited locations and are quite rare. This new study supports an alternative hypothesis that persistent warm water was confined to the subsurface and many erosional features were carved during brief periods when liquid water was stable at the surface.