Before we talk about life on Mars, I would like to direct a simple question at you! What is the planet shown in the image below? Is it the Earth or is it Mars? Looks a lot like the Earth to me.
The answer is No! This is not the Earth. This is how Mars looked like a billion years ago. Mars had a vast amount of water on its surface and a nice atmosphere surrounding it. Does this mean we can live there?
Unfortunately, we cannot live on Mars now. Though this planet was covered in water and an atmosphere similar to the Earth, it is not the same anymore. Over the years, Mars has turned into a dry, cold, almost brutal planet where no human could possibly live. Therefore, life on Mars holds to be a theory in books up to date.
First of all, let’s find out what Mars is made of.
Mars is covered in a dusty crust. The dust that covers the surface of Mars can be considered similar to talcum powder. Underneath this layer, the Martian crust consists mostly of volcanic basalt rock. Sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium are the main nutrients which make the soil of Mars.
The atmosphere of Mars now is quite different from that of Earth. The six most common components of the Mars atmosphere are:
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2): 95.32%
- Nitrogen (N2): 2.7%
- Argon (Ar): 1.6%
- Oxygen (O2): 0.13%
- Water (H2O): 0.03%
- Neon (Ne): 0.00025 %
Why is life on Mars nearly impossible?
According to the research that has been conducted, a chemical named Perchlorates is responsible for the destruction of all the water and the pleasant atmosphere Mars once owned. This chemical is able to kill bacteria twice as fast as UV light alone. Perchlorates have been spotted by orbiters and landers on Mars and is known to occur naturally in the Martian soil.
Perchlorates destroy bacteria, making life on Mars nearly impossible. Studies have been conducted to observe the pros and cons of Perchlorates being existence on Mars. And these have reached the conclusion that somewhere between the too-warm temperature at which the perchlorate would be deadly and the too-cold point where bacteria would freeze to death anyway, there should be a comfort zone.
However, the perchlorate concentration in Mars is not consistent everywhere on the planet.
Hence, Mars looks like this now.
Simply, there is no water on its surface, nor an appropriate atmosphere to create life on Mars. However, scientists still research about life on Mars, hoping that it would be possible some day. Some scientists are pinning their hopes on the possibility that bacteria could be surviving a few feet below the surface of Mars, where ultraviolet light can’t reach them. Contrary to the popular beliefs, even some people do believe in life on other planets.
However, when the theory is considered in practice, it seems only Earth is designed for life and living so far.
But, if we are to ever think of life outside the Earth, Mars has the next best climate for supporting life. It has even gotten other similarities with Earth where a day on Mars is 24 hours and 40 minutes.
Life on Mars is considered to be a very inquisitive topic since many years.
There have been movie adaptations revolving around the topic of life on Mars. During earlier years, a movie named “Robinson Crusoe on Mars” has been produced and the latest movie about finding life on Mars is “Life” which was released in 2017. The movie “Life” is portrayed around finding the first evidence of life on Mars.
As of today, nobody is certain about life on Mars. Some researchers say it’s impossible, while some say it’s not. However, whether Mars will be the next land for life anytime soon is still a question.