Life might have existed on Mars once but finding it out is a tough tsk ahead for US geologists Alison Olcott Marshall and her husband Craig.
Alison, an expert on Raman Spectroscopy to find out microscopic organism, is gearing up to find life on Mars using all the modern methods and the data gathered from the new techniques.
In view of the latest findings from Mars Rover Curiosity, space biologists and astro-physicists are excited to find ancient forms of life on Mars that could have existed once or could be seen in their dormant phase.
“This has made people think that it’s possible that life could have existed on Mars, although most researchers agree it’s unlikely to exist today — at least on the surface — as conditions on the surface of Mars are incredibly harsh,” says Olcott Marshall, an associate professor of geology at Kansas University.
Her husband and co-researcher Craig Marshall says, “If we’re going to identify life on Mars, it will likely be the fossil remnants of the chemicals once synthesized by life, and we hope our research helps strengthen the ability to evaluate the evidence collected on Mars.”
The couple want to extrapolate their findings to ascertain that any traces of ancient biology, if detected on Mars, should be more conclusive and in their paper in peer-reviewed Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society, they wrote that the Raman spectroscopy is able to screen for carbonaceous material, but it can’t determine its source.
Now the researchers are looking for the technology that is required to determine beyond doubt if life exists on Mars or not. “Raman spectroscopy works by impinging a laser on a sample so the molecules within that sample vibrate at diagnostic frequencies,” Craig Marshall said.
The efficacy of Raman spectroscopy would depend on pure salts and minerals to be found on Mars and the 2020 Rover mission is likely to transport back to Earth the samples.