A new study has found that salty water could be present on Mars, but the conditions may not be suitable to harbor life as we know it. During the study, researchers modeled the Martian atmosphere and tried to figure out whether the briny pockets on the Red Planet have the right conditions to support life.
Life cannot thrive on Martian salty water
Researchers found that the temperature of the Martian saltwater is quite low for life to thrive. The temperature in these brines would never get warmer than -48 degree Celsius, and it is 25 degrees below the known tolerance of life on Earth.
"These new results reduce some of the risks of exploring Mars. We have shown that on a planetary scale the Martian surface and shallow subsurface would not be suitable for terrestrial organisms because liquids can only form at rare times, and even then, they form under harsh conditions. However, there might be unexplored life on Earth that would be happy under these conditions," said Alejandro Soto, a senior research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, and co-author of the study, in a recent statement.
Reducing the risk of alien contamination
A few days back, Scott Hubbard, a Stanford professor of aeronautics had suggested that astronauts should stay in quarantine after completing their Mars mission. The expert also suggested that quarantine measures should be followed to ensure that alien microbes from Mars are not contaminating Earth.
If the brines on Mars do not support any kind of life, it could ease restrictions on future exploration, and missions can be conducted by ruling out the possibility of contamination. As the brines are inhabitable, it will also reduce the chances of microbes from Earth reaching the Red Planet and thriving there.
NASA scientist Jim Green believes that alien life in its microbial form will be discovered on Mars by 2021. He added that humans are not ready to accept the realities surrounding alien existence.