According to NASA, images from rover Curiosity show similarities between ancient sedimentary rocks on Mars and structures shaped by microbes on Earth, which suggests there may have been ancient life on Mars.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) believes that life may once exist on Mars due to similar sedimentary rocks on Earth and planet Mars.
The Mars rover Curiosity took the close images of the sedimentary rocks on Mars while moving along the Gillespie Lake outcrop. Gillespie Lake is actually a dry lakebed that has experienced seasonal flooding billions of years ago. At that time the planet was warm and humid, sharing a similar history like Earth.
In an online paper, published a month ago, written by Nora Noffke, a geobiologist at Old Dominion University in Virginia, many of the surprising morphological similarities between the Gillespie Lake outcrop sedimentary structures and microbially-induced sedimentary structures (MISS) found in shallow bodies of water and ancient rocks on Earth were mentioned.
“The fact that she pointed out these structures is a great contribution to the field. Along with the recent reports of methane and organics on Mars, her findings add an intriguing piece to the puzzle of a possible history for life on our neighboring planet.” Penelope Boston, a geomicrobiologist at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, told TED.
Despite of Noffke’s report that makes a good case for ancient life on MARS, NASA says that these structures are not a definite proof that the structures on Mars were shaped by Biology. The only way to prove this hypothetical point is to bring the samples from Mars on Earth for a closer look if they have the biological nature or not. In her report, Noffke provides a strategy for confirming the possible biological nature of the Mars structures but returning samples to Earth for analyses is not possible yet.
“I don’t know if it can be done, but engineers are pretty smart,” Chris McKay, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, said. “If you give them a challenge, they usually find a solution. A sample-return mission would be the gold standard, but that’s just unlikely to happen anytime soon.”
The images which Noffke studied can be seen on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory web page.