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Mars: February 2021


Some microbes on Earth could temporarily survive on the surface of Mars, finds a new study by NASA and German Aerospace Center scientists.

Early Mars is considered as an environment where life could possibly have existed. There was a time in the geological history of Mars when it could have been very similar to Earth and harbored life as we know it.

When the agency's newest rover mission searches for fossilized microscopic life on the Red Planet, how will scientists know whether they've found it?

Both Earth and Mars currently have oxidising atmospheres, which is why iron-rich materials in daily life develop rust (a common name for iron oxide) during the oxidation reaction of iron and oxygen.

It is not yet entirely clear whether Mars began as a warm and wet planet that evolved towards the present-day cold and dry body or if it always was cold and dry with just some sporadic episodes of liquid water on its surface.

A major quest in Mars exploration is hunting for atmospheric gases linked to biological or geological activity, as well as understanding the past and present water inventory of the planet, to determine if Mars could ever have been habitable and if any water reservoirs could be accessible for future human exploration.

An origin of Earth life on Mars would resolve significant inconsistencies between the inferred history of life and Earth's geologic history.

The IBeA research group from the University of the Basque Country's Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Technology, is participating in NASA's Mars2020 space mission, which is scheduled to touch down on Mars in February this year.