There is a possibility that the salty water present beneath Mars’ surface could have enough of oxygen to sustain the microbial life which emerged on Earth several billion years ago, as per the latest report by researchers. Moreover, in the study, published in the Nature Geosciences journal, the researchers reported that in certain locations on Mars, the amount of oxygen could also be able to keep alive multicellular creatures such as sponge.
The lead author of the study, Vlada Stamenkovic from Jet Propulsion Laboratory, US said he along with his team discovered that water containing high salt concentrations, known as brines, could contain enough of oxygen to let microbes breathe. The findings of the study revolutionize the fact that there is a possibility for life on planet Mars, today as well as in the past, the researchers further said.
Until now, it was assumed that the minute traces of oxygen found on Mars were inadequate to keep even microbes alive. Only around 0.14% of oxygen is present in the Red Planet’s atmosphere while 21% of oxygen is present in the atmosphere of Earth, the researchers said.
The study started when the Curiosity Mars rover of NASA discovered manganese oxides, the chemical compounds which are only produced when there is a high amount of oxygen level. Curiosity Mars, as well as other Mars orbiters, also revealed the existence of brine traces having noteworthy differences in the components they comprised. High level of salt concentration allows the water to stay in a liquid state, an important condition to let oxygen dissolve, at considerable low temperatures, which thus makes brines a good enough to support microbial life.
However, the researchers said that the findings of the study do not imply the fact that there’s life on planet Mars, but the discovery indeed shows that habitability on the Red Planet does get affected by the possibility of diffused oxygen.