Photos released by NASA could prove that there’s life on Mars.
The photographs show what appears to be fungi on the Red Planet, therefore proving that Mars could in fact be home to some forms of life.
The theory comes from microbiologist Dr Xinli Wei from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, astrophysicist Dr Rudolph Schild from Harvard-Smithsonian and Dr. Rhawn Gabriel Joseph after studying NASA’s Curiosity rover images.
They’ve dubbed the odd-looking specimens as a type of mushroom, MailOnline reports.
Describing the appearance of the mushrooms as being like ‘puffballs’, the scientists wrote in the study:
Fungi thrive in radiation intense environments. Sequential photos document that fungus-like Martian specimens emerge from the soil and increase in size, including those resembling puffballs (Basidiomycota). After obliteration of spherical specimens by the rover wheels, new sphericals-some with stalks-appeared atop the crests of old tracks.
This fungi then changes and grows along with Mars’ seasons, and is believed to grow up to a staggering 300 metres in the spring, but will disappear by the time winter comes round.
Leading on from this, scientists believe that this ‘may represent massive colonies of black fungi, mould, lichens, algae, methanogens and sulfur reducing species’.
Comparative statistical analysis found that nine ‘spherical specimens’, believed to be the so-called puffballs, emerged from beneath the soil. They were also found to have moved closer together over time.
In regards to how this proves that there could be life on Mars, the trio went on to explain:
Although similarities in morphology are not proof of life, growth, movement, and changes in shape and location constitute behaviour and support the hypothesis there is life on Mars.
Upon the discovery of fungus on Mars, it hasn’t just opened up the possibility of life on the planet, it’s also opened the possibility of buildings there being made out of it.
Last year, NASA announced that it was exploring technologies that could see people’s future homes on the Red Planet being made of the organisms.
Lynn Rothschild, the principal investigator on NASA’s myco-architecture project said at the time, ‘Right now, traditional habitat designs for Mars are like a turtle — carrying our homes with us on our backs – a reliable plan, but with huge energy costs. Instead, we can harness mycelia to grow these habitats ourselves when we get there.’