As rovers like Curiosity and Perseverance scan the surface of Mars for traces of ancient life, new evidence suggests we may have to dig deeper to find them – Science alert reports.

According to the authors of the research published in astrobiologyEvidence of past life must be sought on the Red Planet at least two meters deep. This has to do with the fact that The surface of Mars is exposed to a much greater dose of radiation than Earth. These conditions are due to the fact that the planet has an extremely rare atmosphere and does not have a magnetic field.

Ancient life on Mars?

The researchers explained that radiation reaching Mars destroys amino acids. Scientists already knew this, but a recent study showed the pace of the process.

“Our results indicate that amino acids are being destroyed by cosmic rays in the surface rocks and regolith of Mars at a much faster rate than previously thought” – Physicist Alexander Pavlov says: From NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Cosmic radiation is a major problem for Mars exploration. The average person living on Earth is exposed to approximately 0.33 millisieverts of cosmic rays per year, while on Mars it may end up 250 mSv.

According to scientists, Mars had a more intense magnetic field and atmosphere. There is also evidence that in the past liquid water existed on the surface of the planet in the form of oceans, rivers and lakes. This combination of features indicates that Mars may have been habitable in the past. Evidence pointing to such a possibility is the presence of amino acids present One of the basic building blocks of life.

Amino acids can combine with each other to make proteins. Extraterrestrials, they are found in space rocks, incl. on me Ryugu asteroid And in the atmosphere Comets 67 p. Their presence isn’t definitive proof of life, but finding them on Mars would be another indication that life may have existed in the past.

Adam Jafar, journalist at Wirtualna Polska

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