March 20, 2019

Mars holds sufficient oxygen to harbor alien life, claims a new study

29 October 2018, 05:58 | Edward Lowe

Mars holds sufficient oxygen to harbor alien life, claims a new study

Mars holds sufficient oxygen to harbor alien life, claims a new study

NASA's first Cubet Planet sent a picture of Mars. And for biologists and philosophers alike, it is the planet that arguably holds within it the answer to the eternal question - are we alone in the universe?

An engineer tests the solar arrays of one of NASA's twin Mars Cube One, or MarsCO, satellites.

To find out how much oxygen contain salt water resources of the red planet, the California scientists conducted a simulation of different conditions, varying the pressure and temperature possible subsurface lakes, given the climatic history of Mars. According to the mission manager at JPL of MarRO, Cody Colley, they had to wait for 6 months to get to this point of the mission.

InSight has two X-band antennas on its deck that make up a third instrument called RISE
InSight has two X-band antennas on its deck that make up a third instrument called RISE

Pure liquid water would either freeze or evaporate away on Mars, but salty water, or brines, could remain in a liquid state at or just below the surface of the planet, the authors said. Until now, however, scientists believed that it was not almost enough in quantity to sustain life and only existed in the form of frozen glaciers on its poles. In the recent months, a European spacecraft data showed that the southern pole of Mars could have liquid water under the ice surface.

According to this model, this level of oxygen can be theoretically more than the necessary oxygen to support aerobic life.

InSight also carries HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package): a spike on a 16-foot-long tether, which will bury itself deep into the Martian soil.

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For this, the researchers calculated the ability of highly salty water, not freezing even on Mars, dissolve oxygen.

Here on Earth, 21 percent of our atmosphere is made up of oxygen - thanks to the abundance of plants and other organisms that create oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis.

Which brings us to today.

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As part of the report, Stamenkovic and his co-authors also identified which regions of Mars are most likely to contain brines with the greatest amounts of dissolved oxygen. Another important aspect - and arguably the most crucial one - about its atmosphere is that it is over 100 times thinner than what exists on Earth. It is formed by the splitting of sunlight carbon dioxide.

But, as humankind has proved time and again, it can persevere in the face of adversity, and maybe it will do so again in the future when it finally conquers the unconquerable and gives birth to life on the barren planet of Mars.

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