Uncovering the Impenetrable: The Search for Proof of Life in Ancient Martian Samples

It may be nearly impossible to detect life in Mars samples

Frances Westall, a renowned geologist, astrobiologist, and astronomer, told me that finding definitive evidence of past primitive life on Mars in ancient rock and soil samples could be near impossible. She spoke to me at the recent Europlanet Science Congress in Granada (Spain). She should know. Westall still claims to have discovered the oldest known microfossils on Earth, which date back 3.45 billion years.

It’s difficult to distinguish primitive microfossils from Earth’s oldest rock samples, let alone those taken by robotics on Mars. If we can’t identify past life on Earth with the samples we collect, how much hope do we really have?

Westall, a French researcher at the Center for Molecular Biophysics of Orleans said: \”I think that it will be very difficult.\” I can tell you that there will be many arguments about it.


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