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Life On Mars

Kids Learning October 11, 2013

No, it’s not little green men. A team of NASA scientists has made a discovery that suggests that primitive life may have existed on Mars more than 3.6 billion years ago.

The team of scientists found many pieces of evidence, including possible fossils, that suggests that microscopic, bacteria-like organisms once lived on the planet.

The fossils were found in a Martian meteorite that fell to Earth 13,000 years ago. The rock is believed to have broken off from the planet 15 million years ago when a huge comet or asteroid struck Mars. For millions of years, the chunk of rock traveled through space until it encountered Earth’s atmosphere.

The largest of the possible fossils are less than 1/100th the diameter of a human hair. The egg-shaped and tubular structures are similar to microscopic fossils of the tiniest bacteria found on Earth.

These organisms may have existed on Mars 3.6 to 4 billion years ago, a time when it is believed the planet was warmer and wetter. The team’s findings indicate that living organisms may have assisted in the formation of carbonate minerals, also found in the meteorite. It is possible that their remains were fossilized in a fashion similar to the formation of fossils in limestone on Earth.

The team of scientists point out that they haven’t conclusively proven the existence of past life on Mars. They’re simply putting the information out into the scientific community to study and debate – and debate they will.

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