After the rumors of life thriving on mars died down, people began to, clear headedly, think about the actual possibility of Mars sustaining life. Was there life in the past, life right now and the ability of life to exist (weather or not in cramped pods, like we will be living) in the natural environment? It seems as though Mars, at times, lies in the habitable zone (far enough away from the sun to not fry everything on the surface, yet close enough to keep the temp comfortable), and this fact alone is enough for many a scientist to get their knickers in a bunch. Mars has two things going against it; it doesn’t have magnetic poles like we do on Earth and it’s atmosphere is incredibly thin. This means that the surface is susceptible to any and everything the sun throws at it, including it’s sunshine (which would give you the worst sunburn you could think of times 10) and solar winds. Not to mention the incredible dust storms that blow through all the time.
And yet! We still persist in our never-ending search for life because evidence is building that Mars once was much more
habitable than it is today, that is our our silver lining that we cling to. In the mid 1970’s we sent probes to Mars but nothing very conclusive, life wise, came from that, just more fuel for both sides of the debate. Extremeophiles, organisms that live in parts of the world that are incredibly hot/ acidic/ should never support life, are a new discovery for us and the tests done in the 70’s didn’t take these organisms into account. Armed with our knowledge of extremeophiles that need these crazy environments, we had to go back to the drawing board when brainstorming how and where life would live on the lonely planet.
Yes, the jury is still out, but is that such a bad thing? Sometimes the unknown is more intresting and motivating then knowing all the answers. On a positive note, when we put Lichens into a simulated Mars environment, they lived. Take that, Mars.