The hunt for life on Mars continues, with NASA’s latest rover Perseverance using its scientific instrumentation to scan the Jezero Crater, an area believed to be a dried up ancient lake, for any signs of ancient microbial life.
But according to an international team of researchers, the space agencies other rovers may have already found signs of relatively advanced life — in the form of “fungus-like Martian specimens,” according to a new paper published in the journal Advances in Microbiology.
The team, which includes researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and George Mason University, believes they have found photographic evidence of a variety of fungus-like organisms, some resembling the shape of puffballs, a round cloud-like fungus found in abundance back here on Earth, on the Red Planet.
Their evidence: images taken by NASA’s Opportunity and Curiosity rovers as well as the agency’s HiRISE high-resolution camera attached to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
“Fungi thrive in radiation intense environments,” the team writes in its paper. “Sequential photos document that fungus-like Martian specimens emerge from the soil and increase in size, including those resembling puffballs.”
“After obliteration of spherical specimens by the rover wheels, new sphericals — some with stalks — appeared atop the crests of old tracks,” the researchers write.
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