Controversial Paper Claims Evidence of Life on Mars

The paper, titled Evidence of Life on Mars?, includes images taken by Curiosity and Opportunity “of what the researchers are calling fungi, lichens, and algae growing on Mars

In what is sure to continue to be a highly controversial review paper recently published in the Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science Reviews researchers are claiming that, yes, there is indeed life on Mars. The paper, titled Evidence of Life on Mars?, includes images taken by Curiosity and Opportunity “of what the researchers are calling fungi, lichens, and algae growing on Mars,” IFLScience.com reports.

 

The paper examines almost 200 peer-reviewed studies “debating curious structures, seasonal changes in methane, and the possibility that life has traveled between planets.” However, the evidence was still deemed “controversial” and three out of the six independent scientists and eight senior editors who peer reviewed the paper ultimately rejected it.

 

While the journal’s official position is “Evidence is not proof and there is no proof of life on Mars,” co-author of the paper, Dr. Regina Dass from the School of Life Sciences at Pondicherry University, said the article “is not based on our opinion,” stating that “We review nearly 200 research studies conducted by over 500 scientists, many of whom work at NASA; and all this work collectively weighs in favor of biology.”

 

The fact that the conclusion admits that the evidence in the paper is, in fact, circumstantial, does not necessarily help the authors’ case, Dass still believes there is merit to the observations recorded in this paper.

 

“We admit, we don’t have a smoking gun,” she said. “No photos of cells or cellular structure. There is no definitive proof, only a lot of evidence which shouts: Biology.”

 

While this paper was unable to conclusively prove there is life on Mars, it does confirm the need for further observation of our solar system’s fourth planet.