Science

Life On Mars: Possible Pro-Life Environment Discovered

By Rodney Rafols , Nov 10, 2016 10:47 PM EST

Astronomers and other scientists continue to look for life on Mars. NASA has sent missions to Mars, in part to search for life there. Even Europe has plans to send missions to Mars to find life. There might be hope for life on Mars, as a possible pro-life environment has been discovered.

One of the possible places to search for life on Mars has been identified by a study made by the University of Texas at Austin. This is a depression on Mars that might have been formed by a volcano beneath a glacier. Such a place then could produce an environment where life is possible.

The place has many possibilities, since the volcano can turn part of the glacier into water. With water and heat, the possibility of nutrients to be there as well is high. This has been the assessment of Joseph Levy, lead author and research associate at the University of Texas Institute of Geophysics.

Such an environment would almost be the same with how conditions here on Earth were millions of years ago. Scientists speculate that life on Earth began with a mix of water and heat in it, among others. This is the same situation that Levy and his team are looking at now on that area on Mars.

The depression is said to be inside a crater on the rim of the Hellas Basin. Around that depression are ancient glacial deposits, according to UT News. The area was first noticed by Levy back in 2009 as he studied images taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This area is similar to places found in Iceland and Greenland. Levy then was a postdoctoral researcher at Portland State University when he saw the depression.

Analysis of the image didn't happen at once, though. It wasn't until this year that Levy and his team had a chance to thoroughly study the depression, as Science Daily reports. Timothy Goudge, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, made a 3D model of the depression using high-resolution images of the area.

By analyzing the depression and using different scenarios on how it was created, the team has found that the Hellas depression is of volcanic origin and not one made by an impact. If lava and ice came together, it could create a hot place where life could possibly thrive. This is exciting for Levy, as it would mean the same conditions exist there that created life here on Earth.

The area is a promising site for future research for life on Mars. With a possible pro-life environment discovered, the search for alien life in our solar system might still be hopeful. The Curiosity rover on Mars has also found a melted metal meteorite that has scientists curious.

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