Perhaps they’re not those invaders from Mars made famous in the Sci-fi classic film by E.G. Wells “War of the Worlds” starring a young actor named Gene Barry portraying a fictional character named Dr. Clayton Forrester who witnesses while fishing in southern California a large object crashing to earth near the small town of Linda Rosa, the vanguard of an invading army of Martians destroying everything within their path and threatening the very survival of mankind, with their advanced weapons.
The irony that perhaps fungi-like objects spotted on the surface of the Red Planet may provide more possibilities in finding life outside Earth, in some strange way mimics the fictitious ending of the 1953 film, in that the smallest molecule on earth saved mankind from the invading Martians.
A recent study published in the Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science may have revealed more information on the possibility that some form of life may indeed inhabit Mars.
NASA rovers Opportunity and Curiosity have spotted and photographed what appear to be algae, lichens and “Martian mushrooms” and huge fungi-like objects on the surface of the Red Planet.
The rovers photographed 15 mushroom-shaped specimens growing larger and pushing out from beneath the red Martin soil.
Dr Regina Dass, of the Department of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, India, the study’s co-author said: “There are no geological or other abiogenic forces on Earth which can produce sedimentary structures, by the hundreds, which have mushroom shapes, stems, stalks, and shed what looks like spores on the surrounding surface.”
Adding, “In fact, fifteen specimens were photographed by NASA growing out of the ground in just three days.”
Moreover Dr Vincenzo Rizzo, a National Research Council biogeologist also concurred with Dr Dass pointing out the seasonal changes in Martian methane on the Red Planet, as additional evidence of life.
Stating, “As we detail in our article, 90% of terrestrial methane is biological in origin and seasonal fluctuations in atmospheric methane are directly correlated with plant growth and death cycles.”
Adding, “The cyclic fluctuations in Martian methane is reflective of active biology which is also depicted in before and after pictures of specimens photographed by NASA.”
However not everyone is on board regarding the controversial issue of whether there’s life on Mars. The Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science Reviews subjected the findings within the article to extensive peer review by 6 independent scientists and 8 senior editors.
The overwhelming conclusion between the 14 scientists and editors recommended publication, provided there were certain revisions, it’s also noteworthy to point out that 3 out of the 14 individuals who reviewed the data rejected the premise.
The journal’s official position is: “Evidence is not proof and there is no proof of life on Mars.
“Abiogenic explanations for this evidence can’t be ruled out.”
Some scientists believe the circular specimens photographed by the NASA rovers of emerging “mushrooms” from beneath the Martian soil, are not actually mushrooms but hematite, a form of iron oxide, which NASA affectionately refers to as “blueberries.”
Dr Rizzo said, ”We are not disagreeing with NASA. NASA has some of the greatest scientists and engineers in the world.”
Adding, “However, hematite is also a product of biological activity. Just as stromatolites are fashioned together via the action of cyanobacteria, fungi and bacteria also help to cement terrestrial hematite together.”
“We should expect that the same biological processes helped fashion hematite on Mars.”
Dr. Dass added: “Hematite also does not take the shape of lichens.
“These Martian specimens have mushroom-shapes, stalks and stems and are the same height and have the same growth patterns as terrestrial lichens.”
What seems a certainty regardless if there’s actual life on Mars or not, is that there isn’t any likelihood that a vanguard of an advanced Martian culture will attack mankind anytime soon.