New Fossil Evidence for Life on Mars?

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NASA/Bryan Allen/Corbis

Scientists say a collection of ancient rocks could hold evidence of life on Mars some four billion years ago..

The find comes from Nili Fossae, a fracture in the surface of Mars. The area is remarkably similar to a similar formation in Australia, thought to harbor the earliest examples of life found on earth. Though scientists have discovered no actual signs that life ever existed in the region — the study was conducted via NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter — they do believe the area could have been hospitable to life during the planet’s history. (See pictures of the patterns of Mars.)

And if that’s true, there’s a good chance it left some sort of trace behind. Rocks in this area of Mars have been extant for nearly three-quarters of the history of the planet, lending hope that a fossil record could exist.

This is not the first suggestion of life on Mars. In spring 2009, pictures surfaced of water in liquid form, which suggest that the atmosphere and temperature may be able to harbor life, albeit in an extreme form: the temperature on Mars can dip as low as minus 220 degrees Fahrenheit. (via MSNBC)

Zander Sharp