In October this year, the European Space Agency found a pool of water buried under ice sheets on Mars.
The journal Nature Geoscience published a study that concluded that the red planet's salty water could have enough oxygen to support life such as aerobic microbes and simple animals, such as sponges.
According to calculations by researchers from the California Institute of Technology published inNature Geoscience, a large amount of oxygen could exist in the subsoil of the so-called red planet.
“Aerobic respiration appears to have followed the evolutionary steps of oxygenic photosynthesis, reflecting the shortage of O² on Earth prior to photosynthesis. However, by taking O² in a different way, Mars shows us that this does not have to be the case, broadening our vision of the opportunities for aerobes in other planetary bodies ”, concludes the research work.
The experts created a model of the hypothetical formation of salt water and, based on this, they were able to calculate the supposed amount of oxygen that is in the Martian subsoil.
The report indicates that the composition of this liquid could, in general, provide living conditions for aerobic microbes. Even in other regions of the red planet the oxygen concentration can be so great that it would allow the existence of animals such as sponges or porifers.
If there is water, there is life
For now, several questions remain unresolved. Among them, the most important and refers to the existence of the mentioned water formations under the glacial surface of the planet. However, the results of the study extend the possibility of finding living beings there.
Dr. Vlada Stamenković, a scientist at JPL (NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and study leader, stated in this regard:
No one has ever thought that these concentrations of dissolved oxygen, necessary for aerobic respiration, could theoretically exist on Mars.
The research exposes the possibility that "aerobic life may exist on the modern planet Mars, as well as on other celestial bodies with sources of oxygen, independent of photosynthesis."
With information from: