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Is there really life on Mars? What evidence is there that there may or may not have been life on Mars?
Question Date: 1998-09-23
Answer 1:

There is no evidence that there is currently life on Mars. Some scientists think that they have found evidence that there WAS life on Mars at some time in the past. The evidence that they found is fossilized bacteria (3.6 billion year old dead bacteria) on a meteor from Mars that struck Antarctica 13,000 years ago. We know the meteor is from Mars because it contains traces of the Martian atmosphere. The scientists found evidence of small round objects that look like bacteria on Earth, plus organic molecules and minerals that they think were made by the bacteria. There is also evidence that there may have been water on Mars a long time ago. Most scientists believe that water is necessary for life. The pictures of Mars relayed to Earth by the Mars Observer show signs of dried up lake beds, past floods and old river channels. Scientists do not know for sure, however, if there really was water on Mars in the past. There is no water on the surface of Mars right now.

NASA has a good web site with questions and answers about Mars and the various space craft that they use to study it:

NASA also maintains a web site about the possible discovery of life on Mars:

Answer 2:

The life on Mars debate is one that has gotten a lot of news and is very interesting.The best evidence for life on Mars has come from a meteorite that was found in Antarctica and is thought to be a small piece of Mars. In this meteorite are organic molecules (which can be found in a number of kinds of meteorites). In 1996, when this meteorite was discovered some scientists thought they saw evidence of fossilized bacteria. There was a big debate over whether this was the case.
I've looked around several webstes that have good information on Mars such as the Planetary Society http://www.planetary.org/ and the Mars Exploration Education Program http://marsnt3.jpl.nasa.gov/education/table-contents.html These should also have good links to other Mars related sites. I think you can look at information about Mars and this meteorite and decide whether you think they found life or not (see also
http://barsoom.msss.com/http/ps/life/life.html although I'm not entirely sure how credible this website is. They give a seemingly scientific treatment of the issue but always be careful about what you read on the web). If there bacteria on this meteorite (which is billions of years old), do you think the life may have evolved into something bigger and more intelligent or are the conditions on Mars too harsh for such evolution.
There is evidence for big floods and liquid water on Mars. Do you think this means there could have been conditions that would support life? What sorts of conditions do you think would have to be present on Mars to make life possible? Explore what Mars was like and is like on these websites and try to put all the pieces together. A quick list of things you might want to focus on for whether or not life might exist or have existed is the presence of organic chemicals (the building blocks of life) and water, a reasonably warm temperature (not too hot or too cold), enough atmosphere, and a consistant source of energy (the sun is often a good one). Good luck in your search!

Reply from the questioner:
> Hi, it's me again, I just want to thank you for answering me back. The information >you gave me was real helpful. My partners also want to thank you for your help.
>I think having air, water , and weather would be present to make life
>possible on Mars. Thanks Again !!!

Researchers response:
Your thoughts about Mars are good ones. There is indeed some atmosphere on Mars but much less than on Earth. Because there is so little atmosphere there isn't enough pressure to make liquid water stable except at the lowest altitudes (and even there, scientists aren't certain). This poses a problem for life as we know it which generally needs liquid water. Still, at these low altitudes and in the ground there may be some bacterial life forms.

Answer 3:

I think the answer to your question is that no one knows if there is life on Mars or not. There isn't conclusive evidence that there is life on Mars. You might try looking on the internet (start with the JPL website at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov) or in the library for the results of the Mars Viking program and from the meteorite from Mars that was found in Antarctica a couple years ago.

Answer 4:

more things found from searching from the NASA home page (www.nasa.gov)
(all one address, but I broke it up into two lines for easier reading.)

Answer 5:

No one knows for certain if there is or is not life on Mars. One possibility is that there WAS life on Mars many billions of years ago and that this may have become extinct because of deterioration of the climate...that is, we believe that Mars used to have rain and running water and a thicker atmosphere and was warmer.But then because the atmosphere became very thin, it became very very cold.
It is possible that there exists today primitive life on Mars...certainly not plants or animals but maybe some sort of bacteria too small to see except with a microscope.
A few years ago, some scientists reported that certain tiny little structures seen in some meteorites that we have on Earth that definitely came from Mars contained fossil bacteria. However, because it is the JOB of a scientist to be very CRITICAL many others have studied these same samples and believe that the tiny structures seen ARE NOT FOSSIL bacteria. At this time I think MOST scientists DO NOT believe that the tiny things are fossils.

But of course this does not DISPROVE that life exists on Mars. The point is that the Martian meteorites certainly DO NOT PROVE that there IS life on Mars.

So you can see how science works; it's like being a detective in a very old and ancient story: trying to figure out what happened billions of years ago on Earth and on other planets. This is for me the MOST FUN job I could ever imagine...it's never dull or boring...its something I love to study!!!

I really hope you study hard and become a scientists someday. We need good minds like yours!!!

Asking questions is really the main job of a scientist !!!!

Answer 6:

No one has ever found any evidence that there is life on Mars today. About a hundred years ago, people saw lines on the surface of Mars, and called them canals, thinking that they might have been built by Martians, but today we know that they are just natural features. Spaceships, like "Viking" that were sent to Mars found no evidence of life. A few years ago, though, people found in Antarctica a meteorite which they believe came from Mars, and in the meteorite they found some types of molecules which are usually only produced by living creatures. In addition, they found in the rock some tiny shapes which they suggested might be fossils of bacteria. However, no one knows whether the molecules they found in the meteorite really came from Mars, or whether they ended up in the meteorite after it had fell to earth.
An excellent place to start a search on the web is from "yahoo.com".
Since your question is about science, I went to their science section, and did a search on "mars". I found this website:

It has a number of links on this topic.

Click Here to return to the search form.

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