Life On Mars? Probably Not, Some Scientists Say

The possibility for life on Mars has been officially shot down by (some) scientists who now say that the red planet is far to hot to have ever hosted living organisms.

Planetary scientists have been looking in clays for the building blocks of life on the red planet, with some believing that water may have once flowed on or just under the planet’s surface. A new study casts some doubt over these leads, suggesting that the clays were instead formed by magma rich in water. The paper published online Sunday by the journal Nature Geoscience argues that, if their theory is true, then the water on the planet would have been too hot to support microbial life.

“The clays would form as the lava cools from 1,500 degrees Celsius,” said study co-author Bethany Ehlmann, a planetary geologist at Caltech. “That would not be a good habitat.”

Ehlmann and colleagues studied clay minerals found in spots like Brazil and French Polynesia that were similar to those observed on Mars. The light signatures of these Earthly clays are very similar to some deposits on Mars. Additionally, some meteorites from Mars collected on Earth appear to support the new theory, said the authors.

However, all theories could still be right, notes the LA Times.

“It’s certainly a different take on trying to explain the origin of some clay minerals on Mars,” said Ralph Milliken, a planetary scientist at Brown University who was not involved in the study. “It does have some merit, and alternative hypotheses need to be considered fully.”

He said that the new study fails to account for tracks in the surface of Mars that appear to have been cut by flowing liquid.

Do you think there could be/have been life on Mars?