Life on Mars BREAKTHROUGH: How 'HOLY GRAIL’ discovery boosts search for life on Red Planet

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The possibility of Life on Mars is subject to significant interest to astronomers due to its proximity and similarities to Earth. To date, no proof has been found of past or present life on the Red Planet. However, a discovery made by scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) yesterday could be the “Holy Grail” scientists have been looking for.

Photos snapped by the team showed signs that liquid water once flowed on the planet's surface.

The incredible satellite images revealed what looks like an ancient and intricate system of trenches, valleys and dried out riverbeds, suggesting previous life.

Identical systems are seen on Earth, such as the Yarlung Tsangpo River, which runs from western Tibet through China, India and Bangladesh.

In the case of Mars, the ESA said the branching waterways are most likely the result of surface water runoff from powerful rivers and extensive rainfall.





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Life on Mars is possible after discovering water (Image: GETTY)

 The photo from the ESA showed what looked like canals

The photo from the ESA showed what looked like canals (Image: ESA)

In 2007, John Zarnecki, Professor of Space Science at the Open University, told BBC Radio 4 listeners how important a discovery like this could be to finding life.

He said: “Water is the Holy Grail of life.

“Find the water and then you have a chance of finding life, as far as we understand, you need water to survive.

“But it may also be able to support primitive life – so there might be another sort of life we cannot imagine.

“For the last 25 years, it was described as being pretty much unlikely to be able to support life, but the pendulum is swinging.”

 Previous to this discovery, scientists had hoped to find water

Previous to this discovery, scientists had hoped to find water (Image: GETTY)

 The discovery helps boost the possibility of finding life

The discovery helps boost the possibility of finding life (Image: ESA)

Although Mars can no longer host liquid water on its surface, it is possible forms of life are still able to survive below the surface, something the ESA is looking into.

A statement read: “‘a tantalizing question raised by this warmer and wetter climate is whether conditions would have been suitable for life – a topic at the heart of Mars exploration.

“Next year, ESA and Roscosmos will launch the ExoMars mission comprising a rover – recently named Rosalind Franklin – and a surface science platform.

“The rover will drive to interesting locations to drill below the surface in search for signs of life – the first mission of its kind.”

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