If recent findings on Earth are any guide, the oldest rocks on Mars may have signs of ancient life locked up inside.
In a new study, a team of geologists led by Allen Nutman, of the University of Wollongong in Australia, discovered 3.7-billion-year-old rocks that may contain the oldest fossils of living organisms yet found on Earth, beating the previous record by 220 million years. The discovery suggests that life on Earth appeared relatively quickly, less than 1 billion years after the planet formed, according to the new research, published online today (Aug. 31) in the journal Nature.
If that's the case, then it's possible that Martian rocks of the same age could also have evidence of microbial life in them, said Abigail Allwood, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Allwood was not involved with the new study but authored an opinion piece about the discovery, which was also published today in Nature.
It's clear Mars had a similar early history to Earth," she told Live Science. Many scientists think Mars may have been warmer and wetter in the past, conditions that may have supported microbial life.
Read Entire Article: