At the moment, Mars is an icy, barren desert that would kill any unprotected living beings ending up in its red dunes. This raises a question: did Mars ever manage to harbor life? This has preoccupied scientists for hundreds of years and even inspired a lot of sci-fi films.
The Quest Begins
Finally, three projects have been started. These are going to explore the fundamental question about life on Mars. The projects are ambitious, but the potential answers they will find could further our scientific knowledge by an incredible margin.
Currently, scientists consider that both Earth and Mars had the potential to host life about 4 billion years ago. Something has obviously changed in the meantime, but we have no idea what. The history of Mars is a mystery. With the hopes of unveiling that mystery, new probes from United Arab Emirates, China and the United States will be launched to the Red Planet this summer. The goal of these probes is not, as some might think, to identify life on Mars. Rather, their goal is to find possible traces of lifeforms that have inhabited the planet in the past.
What Do the Experts Say?
These expensive and extensive programs could, in the end, be for nothing. Regardless, astrobiologists believe that our big red neighbor is, for the moment, our best hope for finding life on other planets and getting closer to the truth about our own species and about the world that we live in.
Thing is, Mars is the only planet out there for which there are concrete chances of stumbling upon extraterrestrial life. That is because we know that, billions of years ago, life could have been sustained by the planet. This information was stated in a recent press briefing by Jean-Yves Le Gall, the current president of CNES, a France-based space agency that will participate in the program.