Mars Essay, Research Paper

Life on Mars

If life ever evolved on any of the other planets, Mars is the likeliest candidate. After Earth, Mars is the planet with the most hospitable climate in the solar system. So hospitable that it may once have inhabited primitive, bacteria-like life. Outflow channels and other geologic features provide extensive evidence that billions of years ago liquid water flowed on the surface of Mars. Continuing changes is an accomplishment in modern American technology and it gives the world a step forward in finding the real truth about existing life on Mars.

Hurtling in from space some 16 million years ago, a giant asteroid slammed into the surface of Mars and exploded with more power than a million hydrogen bombs. This caused huge quantities of rock and soil to fly into the thin Mars? atmosphere. While most of the rocks fell back to the surface, some of the debris, fired upward by the blast at high velocities, escaped the weak tug of Mars? gravity and entered into orbits of their own around the sun. Scientists believe that the earth?s gravity caught some of the debris and pulled it into the earth. Scientist Digregorio, Barry E (B4) stated that inside the debris of falling

rock, were microorganisms. He notes that the microorganisms may have been the very start of life, as human civilization knows it. There is no way to prove his theory true, but it is a strong possibility.

Similarities in planets led scientists to believe there is a common bond between Venus, Earth, and Mars. In August 1960 the new science of astrobiology was given the name ?exobiology,? the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe. Venus, Earth and Mars share similar amounts of carbon dioxide, indicating a similar origin for these worlds, even though much of Mars? carbon dioxide mysteriously emerges from the soil and some from the polar ice cap. A theory is that ?anaerobes? lived on all the planets. Anaerobes can only live without oxygen. When the Earth?s ozone started to form, over half the world?s organisms of anaerobes died off and later evolved to become aerobes, which can only survive with a constant supply of oxygen.

Scientists believe that the high surface temperatures on the dark areas of Mars may be explained on the presence of living vegetation placed upon a dry vegetable mold. Coblentz, a scientist of physics and astrology, created a theory that moss and grass might be a reason that the dark areas have a higher temperature than the layers exposed to the sun. Plant life would be ?pinned down? because of the atmospheric pressure. Within the canals of Mars, the search for Martian vegetation continues. Further more, Goldsmith 12A , scientist of astrophysics, had found oxygen and water vapor on Mars.

There is abundant evidence that Mars has ?volcanism tectonism? in other words, volcanoes. A transition from a warmer earlier climate to the colder present climate may have resulted from loss of atmospheric gases to space. ?Scientists believe there are volcanoes, wind-related movement of material, ice – and water – related geology.? (Dick, Steven J 119D)The average surface temperature of Mars is only about -53 C, substantially below the freezing point.

Water is said to be abundant on Mars away from the polar caps however, liquid water is not stable on Mars. Although temperatures can occasionally rise above the melting point, liquid water from melting ice would quickly evaporate into the atmosphere. In addition, liquid water is the single environmental requirement thought to be essential for life. Mars still has water in the form of permafrost, water vapor, ice-soil layer, and at times, liquid water. ?The network of channels on the cratered surface of Mars showed the liquid water and warm climate allowed the water to flow freely on Mars,? exclaimed Jakosky, Vuce. (7C)

On August 7, 1996 the world became aware of life on Mars. President Bill Clinton

announced that a meteorite found in Antarctica contains evidence of the existence of

life on Mars. The age of the rock dated back over four and a half billion years ago, making the meteorite the oldest rock ever found on Earth, ?These are extremely small, single – celled structures that resemble bacteria on Earth. There is no evidence or

suggestion that any higher life – form existed on Mars? (Goldsmith, Donald 4 A). The rock contains globules of carbonates mineral deposits made from carbon and oxygen atoms combined with other things such as calcium, iron, and magnesium.

It is uncertain exactly how life arose on Earth, but if life also arose on Mars, scientists argue that life may well be found elsewhere. However, the search for life on Mars has been unsuccessful. Some portion of the scientific community feels that further searches are a waste of time, while another portion remains optimistic.

Mars is a spectacular place, and will remain so even if it is finally proved to be lifeless.

Today, the human race does not know for sure if there is or ever was life on Mars.


Burgess, Eric. To the Red Planet. New York: Columbia University Press, 1978. Account of the Viking expedition.

Chandler, David. Life on Mars. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1979. Explores the possibility of life on Mars.

Gibbons, John, et al. Exploring Moon and Mars: Choices for the Nation. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991. A report by the Office of Technology Assessment.

Matsunaga, Spark. The Mars Project. New York: Hill and Wang, 1986. Senator Matsunaga calls for a joint U.S.-Soviet manned mission to Mars.

Miles, Frank and Booth, Nicholas. Race to Mars. New York: Harper & Row, 1988. Mars mission concepts.

Pittendrigh, Colin, et al, eds. Biology and the Exploration of Mars. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences National Research Council, 1966. Report of a study held under the auspices of the Space Science Board.

Dick, Steven J. Life On Other Worlds.

Australia: Melbourse, 1998.

Digregorio, Barry E. Mars The Living Planet.

Califronia: Berkeley, 1997.

Goldsmith, Donald. The Hunt for Life ON Mars.

England: Middlesex, 1997

Jakosky, Vuce. The Search for Life on Other Planets.

New York: New York, 1998.

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