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Probing Holes For Aliens

  • Jason McClellan

Probing holes for aliens

Recent studies show that ancient Mars could have been home to aliens. And some scientists even believe the evidence indicates that conditions may be suitable for present-day alien life on Mars. So where the hell are all the Martians?

The NASA Astrobiology institute and the UK Centre for Astrobiology co-hosted a conference titled “The Present-Day Habitability of Mars” in 2013 at the University of California Los Angeles. At the conference, Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona and principal investigator for the HiRise camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, stated, “We certainly can’t rule out the possibility that it’s habitable today.”

Findings based on evidence collected by NASA’s Phoenix lander and Curiosity rover indicate that a potential energy source found on Mars—perchlorate: a chlorine-containing chemical—is widespread across the planet. Pair that with substantial water, and you’ve got elements for life to flourish on Mars. But, according to the various countries currently exploring the red planet with rovers and orbiters, no Martians have been detected. Scientists say the ingredients for life are there. So the aliens must be hiding.

And Mars has awesome hiding places.

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express spacecraft took photos in 2012 that reveal rows of “pit-chains” lining the sides of volcanoes in the planet’s Tharsis region. Scientists believe these pit-chains were likely caused by ancient volcanic activity. The ESA explains, “Lava streaming from a volcano solidifies on the surface, leaving a molten tube of lava running below. Once volcanic activity ceases, the tube empties, leaving behind a subterranean cavity.” Similar lava tubes were discovered in 2011 on the Moon by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Scientists believe tubes like these could provide a safe environment for life. Space journalist Jason Major explains, “Even though the surface of Mars can receive 250 times the radiation levels found on Earth, the layers of soil and rock surrounding the tubes can provide adequate protection for life, whether it be ancient Martian microbes or future explorers from Earth.”

Or Martians, am I right?

Information from NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission suggests that lava tubes on the Moon might have diameters in excess of half a mile. So, theoretically, they could support subterranean cities! Of course, researchers see these tubes as potential locations to house humans for future long-term exploration missions on the Moon and on Mars. But they are the perfect locations to house aliens!

But we won’t know until we explore these hidden habitats. No one has explored these tubes on the Moon or Mars! In lieu of human exploration, penetrating these holes with robots would at least give us a peek into these mysterious caves. Maybe some of the robots that land on the Moon in 2016 as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition will drive into a lava tube and check it out.

I’m betting that there is some form of life in these tubes, both on the Moon and on Mars. But until a manned or robotic mission probes them, we’re left frustrated, waiting to find out what’s waiting in these many mysterious holes.