Boffins slam ‘crank’ scientist saying NASA pics prove fungus is growing on Mars

Scientists claim NASA's Mars Rover took photos revealing fungus is growing on the rock – but not everyone is convinced.

The Perseverance Rover is scanning the Jezero Crater on the Red Planet, believed to be a dried-up ancient lake.

The rover is looking for signs of ancient microbial life and one team of researchers believe they may have already found it.

A new paper published in the journal, Advances in Microbiology, claims advanced life in the form of "fungus-like Martian specimens" were picked up in the photos.

The team, which includes researchers from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and George Mason University, believes the fungus-like organisms resemble specimens back here on Earth.

“Fungi thrive in radiation intense environments,” the team said.

“Sequential photos document that fungus-like Martian specimens emerge from the soil and increase in size, including those resembling puffballs.”

“After obliteration of spherical specimens by the rover wheels, new sphericals — some with stalks — appeared atop the crests of old tracks."

  • Terrified girl, 6, runs for her life after spotting shark in sea just feet away

The researchers said they found evidence of "amorphous specimens" within a crevice which "changed shape and location" before disappearing, writes Futurism.

They conclude that it would be "surprising if there was no life on Mars," after the likelihood Earth has been 'seeding' the Red Planet with life and it 'transferred between worlds'.

Boffins argue that the Martian lifeforms would have needed to evolve and adapt to the low temperatures and low amounts of oxygen as well as other harsh realities on the rock.

But they did state that the similarities they pointed out are "not proof of life".

Although the paper had authors listed from Smithsonian and George Mason, the lead author was Rhawn Gabriel Joseph, who is reportedly known for unscientific and dubious claims about life on other planets.

However, scientists across the world have been left unimpressed with the paper so far.

“The conditions on Mars are so extreme that you’re not going to see fungi or any kind of life growing at that sort of speed under conditions like coldness and low air pressure,” Jonathan Clarke, president of Mars Society Australia, told the South China Morning Post.

Get latest news headlines delivered free

Want all the latest shocking news and views from all over the world straight into your inbox?

We've got the best royal scoops, crime dramas and breaking stories – all delivered in that Daily Star style you love.

Our great newsletters will give you all you need to know, from hard news to that bit of glamour you need every day. They'll drop straight into your inbox and you can unsubscribe whenever you like.

You can sign up here – you won't regret it…

He added: “Life can barely survive, let alone thrive.”

Developmental biologist Paul Myers, of the University of Minnesota, told CNET that the claim was "extraordinary" over the basis of only using photos.

He said: “Claiming that mushrooms are sprouting all over Mars is an extraordinary claim that requires better evidence than an analysis of photographic morphology by a known crank who has claimed, on the basis of the same kind of analysis, that he has seen fields of skulls on Mars."

Source: Read Full Article