Do you believe there is life on Mars? | The Tylt

Do you believe there is life on Mars?

NASA made history in late November when its InSight lander touched down on Mars' surface. This "major feat of interplanetary space travel" will help scientists understand how Mars, a planet with a similar rocky surface to Earth, does not support life in the same way our planet does. Of course, there is a camp who suspects that life does exist on Mars, while others point out that conditions on the planet are simply uninhabitable. What do you think?

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Note: This debate is best read with a certain David Bowie tune playing in the background. 

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Mars and Earth have a number of similarities when it comes to geology, but a key difference is the presence of water. According to Space.com

Scientists think that, in the past, water may have flowed across the surface in rivers and streams, and that vast oceans covered the planet. Over time, the water was lost into space, but early conditions on the wetter planet could have been right for life to evolve. 

With water, comes life. And if Mars has any stores of water beneath its surface–or water covering a percentage of its surface in the past–that means life might be possible. 

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Despite the hype and hope for extraterrestrials on Mars, the truth is that the planet simply cannot support life. TIME's Jeffrey Kluger reports:

According to a new study in Scientific Reports, the Martian soil itself may be toxic to bacteria. Any microorganisms that could have emerged in the past would be poisoned to death today.

Kluger also looked to postgraduate student Jennifer Wadsworth and professor Charles Cockell of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy for more insight: 

Overall...Wadsworth and Cockell wrote, 'the surface of Mars is lethal to vegetative cells and renders much of the surface and near-surface regions uninhabitable.'
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In June of 2018, NASA's Mars rover, Curiosity, identified a number of organic molecules, which are the "carbon-based building blocks of life." Space.com reports: 

'These results do not give us any evidence of life,' stressed study lead author Jennifer Eigenbrode, a scientist at the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
'But there is a possibility that [the organics] are from an ancient life source; we just don't know,' Eigenbrode told Space.com. 'And even if life was never around, they [the molecules] tell us there was at least something around for organisms to eat.'

Now that InSight has landed, NASA will only improve its understanding of the planet, continue to compare its similarities to Earth, and learn whether or not life is possibleor present. 

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According to scientists at Oxford, this case is already closed; there is no life on Mars. The rocks on Mars' surface absorbed its water billions of years ago, rendering life on the planet impossible. The Independent's Josh Gabbatiss reports: 

Mars was made uninhabitable when its surface water was absorbed into the planet’s crust...The Red Planet was covered in water until around three billion years ago, much like Earth. But modern-day Mars is barren and dry, precluding the existence of Martians anywhere other than in science fiction.
'On Mars, water reacting with the freshly erupted lavas that form its basaltic crust resulted in a sponge-like effect,' said Dr Jon Wade, who led the study, published in the journal Nature.'This water-rock reaction changed the rock mineralogy and caused the planetary surface to dry and become inhospitable to life,' he said.
FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Do you believe there is life on Mars?
#ForSureLifeOnMars
A festive crown for the winner
#WhoKnowsWhatsOnMars