No Life on Mars?

This is the exciting news about life on Mars that the media reported on Feb. 16:

A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water. The scientists, Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, told the group that they have submitted their findings to the journal Nature for publication in May, and their paper currently is being peer reviewed.

This is how NASA responsed to the news two days later:

NASA Statement on False Claim of Evidence of Life on Mars
News reports on February 16, 2005, that NASA scientists from Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., have found strong evidence that life may exist on Mars are incorrect. NASA does not have any observational data from any current Mars missions that supports this claim. The work by the scientists mentioned in the reports cannot be used to directly infer anything about life on Mars, but may help formulate the strategy for how to search for martian life. Their research concerns extreme environments on Earth as analogs of possible environments on Mars. No research paper has been submitted by them to any scientific journal asserting martian life.

Pity. Though, of course, it's probably all just a cover-up. 😉

Extraterrestrial Life Science

Posted on Sun Feb 20, 2005


Actually, there are no "pockets of water on Mars". There is evidence that millions of years ago there was almost definitely water on Mars, but no more of this water exists there today except in the form of ice. There is ice-water on the North and South poles of Mars, but most of the year it is covered in CO2 ice. There is absolutely no liquid water on Mars due to the fact that at the low atmospheric pressure and the low temperatures on Mars it is impossible for liquid water to exist.

Perfect timing Alex! My midterm on the evidence of water on Mars starts in exactly 9 hours. Good to see all the seemingly useless knowledge I learn in my classes actually comes in handy once in awhile.
Posted by Razela  on  Mon Feb 21, 2005  at  12:13 AM
You mean John Carter of Mars was fiction? Edgar Rice Burroughs made it all up? There goes all my beliefs.

Seriously though, I can't remember - is there evidence for caves on Mars? If caves exist conditions might allow for liquid water to still exist inside those caves. If the caves were sealed or the opening was too small to allow much water to escape or the cave was so deep that gravity kept the water from escaping regardless of cave opening size.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Mon Feb 21, 2005  at  04:42 PM
Chris, I don't know about caves, but there are probably places like that on mars that probably have water ice, however, because the atmospheric pressure and temp's are so low on Mars it should be impossible for liquid water to exist, even if it was trapped. However, obviously there is so much of Mars that is still mysterious. Assuming that there was some very very very deep hole that had it's own heat source (radioactive heating, etc) there is a possibility of liquid water. It would be something very new though. I'm pretty sure the general consensus of scientists is that liquid water just doesn't and cannot exist on Mars.

Actually, your theory works best for the moon. There are deep caverns on the south pole of the moon that no sunlight ever penetrates. Scientists have found traces of hydrogen in the atmosphere above these points and there is some debate as to whether there is liquid water at the bottom of these pits. NASA is currently considering sending a probe into these areas to search for water, but it looks like it won't get funding for awhile because they seem more inclined to put a person on Mars instead.
Posted by Razela  on  Mon Feb 21, 2005  at  05:08 PM
My point was that there might perhaps be places deep in Mars where atmosphere may still exist and heat is trapped, or otherwise, to the point where liquid water could exist. If the gravity well is deep enough and without some strong enough energy source, air and water would be trapped and unable to escape. I knew about the Moon caves which is why I thought about caves on Mars, I just couldn't remember if there were any.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Mon Feb 21, 2005  at  07:52 PM
Sure, why not. Really, anything is possible, especially when dealing with planets like Mars where we really know so little. Although I don't know for sure, my best guess would be that there are tons of caves just because there's alot of evidence of past water: ocean beds, sedimentary rock layers, etc. So, there's probably been enough erosion to create caves. I do know that they at least have extremely large canyons. As you say, if there does happen to be an isolated place with some sort of trapped heat, there could probably be water. It's probably not likely, but that doesn't mean it's not possible, although my planetary sciences professor would probably write a big E on my test if he saw I just wrote that =). (oh, yah, it's E for fail...don't worry, i don't understand either).
Posted by Razela  on  Mon Feb 21, 2005  at  08:29 PM
I just read an AP story quoting the European Space Agency saying they have year-old photos from a probe they have orbiting Mars showing ice near the equator. The story says it seems the water gushed out from deep within Mars and formed this ice field about five million years ago. If it is a hoax, whose hoax is it, AP's or ESA's?
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Wed Feb 23, 2005  at  04:51 PM
I personally haven't come across anything in my studying that shows an ice field currently existing along the equator, though I don't see why that couldn't be. There is definitely huge ice deposits on the poles, and it is cold enough for ice to exist near the equator, so I don't see why it wouldn't.

Seems like that is also probably likely because there did use to be huge underground pockets of water billions of years ago when the temperatures were much hotter on Mars and allowed for liquid water. Many ancient river beds created box canyons which are still there today that lead to the theory that the river water started as underwater rivers and then came up to the surface as regular rivers. Frankly, I know too little about the evolution of Mars to know what happened to this water, so my best guess would be that some probably is still underground and has turned into ice. The catch is, that without another heat source that hasn't been discovered yet, water can only be in the form of ice on Mar, not liquid. In fact, the ice will evaporate directly into water vapor, never passing the liquid water stage.

Here's some good Hubble Space Telescope photos of the polar ice on Mars:

South Pole

North Pole

Oh, and here's a good BBC article I just found which sounds like what you are talking about:
It says there is recent evidence of frozen subterranean seas.

I don't think that's a hoax at all. Water ice is not unusual on Mars, though it would be quite a find if they can prove there is some at the equator. However, there is no evidence of current liquid water on Mars, and due to the inherent qualities of the planet, it is highly unlikely that there is any anywhere on Mars.
Posted by Razela  on  Wed Feb 23, 2005  at  07:06 PM
can anyone tell me y there is no life on mars? thankz for the only ice fact. i have to do a project :shut:
Posted by eilidh  on  Wed Oct 19, 2005  at  12:25 AM
If you are working on a project, getting information from random people in a web forum is most definitely not the way to go about it. We may be lying, or not know what we are talking about. Go do some research.
Posted by Razela  on  Wed Oct 19, 2005  at  12:29 AM
And since we've just reserected this thread anyways (assuming there are others still reading it) I've since done my own research on the topic and found some fallacies in my argument.

I wrote that due to the low air pressure on Mars, water would not pass through the liquid phase. That is true for the surface, however, it is very possible that going only a few meters below the surface can have pressures high enough to support liquid water. So there could be water on Mars, but it would have to be a bit deep underground.

See eilidh, if you had used my argument from above you would have been wrong. That's why you should do your own research instead of just "taking peoples word for it." "Taking peoples word for it" is also how you can fall into bad scams and so on. So, go start some research!
Posted by Razela  on  Wed Oct 19, 2005  at  12:34 AM
Is there really a life that exist in planet Mars? Yes, i do believe that there's no life on the planet but I need some facts that may prove the statemant. But mostly they believe that there's life on planet mars. How can I defend my side during our debate? I'll just study the other's comments about it. But it really bothers me. Please help me about it. I'll also do some research that may prove the statement in other's experience. Thank you for your comments. mitzie 😊
Posted by mitzie v. lebosada  on  Sat Jan 27, 2007  at  08:27 PM
there have been strong claims of Mars supporting life. but then, i need the contrary= why cant life exist in mars. i need it for my paper. i need FACTUAL proofs stating that mars cannot support life. thank you:)
Posted by mikee  on  Tue Jan 30, 2007  at  06:12 AM
i think life is in no way possible on mars
Posted by drew poo poo  on  Thu Mar 01, 2007  at  12:09 PM
well idk if there is life on mars but heres a source that might suggest so but it seems a little extreme...
Posted by 51  on  Tue May 22, 2007  at  09:24 AM
Posted by HIGH OFF MY ASS  on  Tue May 22, 2007  at  09:25 AM
*sorry thats my brother...ignore him
Posted by 51  on  Tue May 22, 2007  at  09:27 AM
i don't think that there is life on mars!... peple say that we have not evolved to that surrounding- and no we havn't but in order to evolve you need time, and in that time of which they havn't evolved, they would have died, therefore there is no proof of life form on planet 'Mars'.
Posted by emma  on  Wed Jun 13, 2007  at  10:52 AM
we have've been discussing his point for many weeks now at school!
Posted by emma  on  Wed Jun 13, 2007  at  10:54 AM
there is life on mars cus i no sum 1 hu lives there so f**k u
Posted by lucy  on  Tue Jul 03, 2007  at  04:24 AM
There is life on mars. There has been life on mars for years. There is also life on the moon. Astronauts that have been there seen it all. The otherside of the moon has everything we're told that is not. There are approximately 35,000 people living on the moon. They don't tell us anything. Why would they? Media is controlling us. We are being controlled and we are meeting our end. Millions of people disappear every year. Do you honestly think they are all murders? Do your research people. Turn off the T.V.'s and realize what is really happening here. I advise everyone to look up Alex Collier.
Posted by someone  on  Fri Mar 27, 2009  at  11:22 AM
Methane has been detected in the Martian atmosphere which could have been produced biologically from organisms living in underground caves.
Posted by james  on  Sat May 29, 2010  at  02:34 PM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.