Mars To Be Our Next Home? Study Finds More Oxygenated Water Than Estimated Previously

Mars To Be Our Next Home? Study Finds More Oxygenated Water Than Estimated PreviouslyA selfie take by NASA’s Mars rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via Getty Images)

A new study conducted by scientists at Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) stated that if liquid water existed on Mars, it could, at least theoretically, have more oxygen than what is required to sustain aerobic life. The story was reported by Science Daily. Aerobic organisms need oxygen as part of their respiration process.

"Oxygen is a key ingredient when determining the habitability of an environment, but it is relatively scarce on Mars," said Woody Fischer, professor of Geobiology at Caltech. All these years, there was a certain kind of agreement among scientists that even though liquid water could be present on Mars, it would however not contain oxygen. This was because Mars’ atmosphere is around 160 times thinner than Earth’s and is filled with excessive carbon-dioxide.

"Nobody ever thought that the concentrations of dissolved oxygen needed for aerobic respiration could theoretically exist on Mars," added JPL's Vlada Stamenković, lead author of the Nature Geoscience paper.

However, this Caltech team has asserted that in regions of thick atmosphere and low-enough temperatures, it was possible for a large amount of oxygen to be present in water. This would be enough to support at least primitive life.

India’s premier space agency, ISRO plans to send the Mangalyaan - 2 probe in the 2022-23 time frame to further study the possibilities of sustaining life on the red planet. In October 2014, with the launch of Mangalyaan - 1, India became the first nation in the world, to successfully complete a Mars mission, on its first attempt.