The quest to find life on Mars is still the focal point of space scientists, and current research tries to demonstrate that life was possible on other planets. Based on a new study published on Monday on the journal Nature Geoscience, life could have flourished on Mars about 4.4 billion years in the past.
The research states that 4.48 billion years ago, enormous asteroids ‘stopped’ hitting the Red Planet, and this was when life was free to evolve. This period, between 3.5 billion and 4.2 billion years ago, precedes the first documentation of life on Earth by 500 million years.
Mars might have had the appropriate conditions for life to form and prevail. To arrive at this conclusion, scientists analyzed the oldest-known mineral fragments from meteorites that are believed to have been part of Mars.
Life on Mars might have flourished 4.4 billion years ago
After the researchers correlated the data with regions on Earth and its satellite, the Moon, that were hit by space rocks, they realized that more than 80% of the mineral fragments were modified by the high temperature and physical force of the crashing.
By determining that the minerals on Mars haven’t changed at all since they formed into crystals on the surface of the planet, the scientists reveal that they created after massive meteorites stopped crashing into Mars.
Author Desmond Moser, which is also a professor in Western University’s Department of Earth Science and Geography, explains that “giant meteorite impacts on Mars between 4.2 and 3.5 billion years ago may have actually accelerated the release of early waters from the interior of the planet setting the stage for life-forming reactions.” This means that if the researchers could collect samples from certain places on Mars, they could also figure out if life on Mars was indeed given a chance to flourish.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.