A major new discovery on the Red Planet could result in a total rethinking of the possibility of life on the surface of the planet.
An incredible new discovery on the surface of Mars could be a huge new lead in the search for evidence that life once existed on the Red Planet. Scientists have spotted a funnel shaped feature on the planet’s surface that may have held the ingredients necessary for some form of microbial life.
The depression was probably created by volcanic activity underneath a glacier that would have crated a warm and wet environment filled with life-giving chemicals that could have been a breeding ground for microbial life at one point. It was found within a crater on the edge of the Hellas basin on Mars, which is surrounded by deposits from glaciers that existed long ago, according to a University of Texas at Austin statement.
These “ice cauldrons” appear similar to those found on Earth in areas such as Iceland and Greenland that have volcanoes in areas covered with ice. Scientists believe that subsurface activity caused the depression rather than a meteor impact.
“We were drawn to this site because it looked like it could host some of the key ingredients for habitability — water, heat and nutrients,” said lead author Joseph Levy, a research associate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, a research unit of the Jackson School of Geosciences.
“These landforms caught our eye because they’re weird looking. They’re concentrically fractured so they look like a bulls-eye. That can be a very diagnostic pattern you see in Earth materials,” said Levy, who was a postdoctoral researcher at Portland State University when he first saw the photos of the depressions.
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