ALIEN life hunters have stumbled upon thousands of mushroom-like objects on the surface of Mars, according to unverified claims published in an online journal.
The planet Mars once resembled a young Earth, with a thick atmosphere, flowing surface waters and maybe even life. Today, the planet is a desolate wasteland that has a paper-thin atmosphere and no visible signs of life on its surface. Some scientists are, however, convinced Mars is home to simple, mushroom-like organisms.
According to a controversial paper published in The Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science Research, the surface of Mars is littered with “thousands of mushroom-lichen-like formations”.
The supposed Mars mushrooms were photographed by NASA’s Curiosity and Opportunity rovers while traversing the Red Planet.
The 15 pictures show clumps of round “puffballs” jutting out from the ground.
The authors have claimed the objects are oriented towards the sky, displaying behaviours typical of mushrooms.
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The authors also said there are no abiogenic – non-biological – processes that can explain their presence.
In their opinion, the puffball-shaped objects are very likely biological.
However, since the study was first published in 2019, the authors have revised their claims.
On the behest of the journal’s editors, the authors have noted the evidence presented in their paper does not conclusively prove their hypothesis.
The researchers wrote: “It is important to stress that there is as yet no definitive proof these are, or were, living organisms.
“However, there are no ‘analogous terrestrial’ processes which can explain the unique and uniform morphology, size, colour, thin hollow stems, and collective skyward orientation of these mushroom-shaped specimens, or the seasonal fluctuations and increases and replenishment of Martian oxygen, other than biology.
Evidence is not proof and there is no proof of life on Mars
“That these may be living organisms ‘can be reasonably inferred through reference to analogous terrestrial’ organisms; although if they are in fact alive and biological is unknown.
“To prove these are living organisms would require additional investigation and robotic examination, evaluation, extraction, analyses.”
In their study, the researchers argued “it is not probable” the mushroom-like objects are made from salt, sand or any other non-biological material.
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“So everyone had their own funnel. We didn’t share funnels and it was in a little compartment and you’d open up the compartment and there would be the seven funnels, and you would take the appropriate one and attach it the urine collection hose, and then you would turn the system on.
“What it does, it creates a little airflow, so that it’ll take the liquid down the hose and into the tank.”
Since 2009, all of the urine collected on the International Space Station is recycled into drinkable water for the astronauts to consume.
Hauling tankers full of water into orbit is both costly and inefficient.
Instead, the space station’s systems recycle 93 percent of all water on the ISS, including sweat, tears and shower run-off.
In 2013, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield said: “We can recycle about 6,000 extra litres of water for the station each year.”
And the good news is the recycled water tastes like regular bottled water.
Layne Carter, NASA’s water subsystem manager for the ISS, said: “As long as you can psychologically get past the point that it’s recycled urine and condensate that comes out of the air.”