While long dismissed that no life was on Mars, recent studies show that the possibility strongly exists. It started here on Earth, where researchers found that impacts from meteorites, while they destroy everything in their impact zone, spread pieces far and wide in the underground areas of the impact zone. Water and nutrients can find these fragments through fissures and provide them with the ability to survive. While it is believed the likelihood of life on the surface of Mars is still unlikely, researchers now think that perhaps life exists underneath the surface, due to its much different density and composition and the large number of former meteorite strikes upon its surface. According to the article:
‘The deep subsurface promises to be a protected habitat for potential Martian life.’
- Dwayne C. Brown, NASA spokesman
“However, the sub-surface of Mars, even a few inches below the surface, may be protected from solar ultraviolet and particulate radiation and life may find a hospitable zone there. Asteroid and meteor impacts provide a ‘window’ to the near-surface, the subsurface of Mars — and may provide a unique opportunity to search for life there.”
Levine retired from the NASA Langley Research Center last year after 41 years of federal service and joined the College of William and Mary as Research Professor in the Department of Applied Science, where he continues his research on the question of life on Mars — including the possibility of flying a rocket-powered, robotic airplane a mile above the surface of Mars to detect trace gases of biological origin that may be produced by sub-surface life.
According to James Wray, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and a scientific team member for an upcoming NASA mission to Mars, the Martian surface today is too cold — and the air too thin — for liquid water. But there’s water ice in the subsurface, and if a source of heat is supplied, it could be melted.
Of course, it is unlikely the life will be like that in the movie version of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles:
And even less hope the life will look like the Princess of Mars from Edgar Rice Burroughs:
I have a feeling that Princess of Mars types only appear in literature and in movies and anything we encounter in space will be less appealing to our purile interests. I am guessing our Martians, if they exist, will look more like this: