Did Humans Live On Mars Before Earth? | Unveiled

Did Humans Live on Mars Before Earth? The prospect of life existing elsewhere in
the solar system or wider universe has been at the center of debate for decades. Given
the millions of stars and worlds “out there”, is Earth really the only one actually hosting
anything? And even if it was found that life doesn’t exist on other planets right now,
could it have existed somewhere else in the past? Somewhere relatively close to home? This is Unveiled, and today we’re answering
the extraordinary question; Did humans live on Mars before Earth? Are you a fiend for facts? Are you constantly
curious? Then why not subscribe to Unveiled for more clips like this one? And ring the
bell for more fascinating content! Though it’s widely believed that Mars in
its current state couldn’t support complex life, there are various theories to suggest
that ancient Mars may have been a much more hospitable, habitable environment – perhaps
at one point even more so than Earth was. It’s thought that, more than three billion
years ago, the “Red Planet” was actually similar to what Earth is now in terms of climate
and conditions, with vast lakes and warmer weather patterns. In terms of whether it ever hosted life, NASA’s
Curiosity Rover has provided plenty of apparent evidence that it may have – or at least that
it was a possibility. Curiosity was launched in November 2011 and landed in August 2012
with the primary goal of exploring the Gale Crater – an area that’s now believed to
have once been a sprawling body of water. The rover’s mission objectives were (and
still are) very far-reaching, but much of what it does, collects, studies and records
is done so that NASA scientists can try to determine whether Mars could ever have hosted
life. First off, while navigating the Gale Crater,
Curiosity discovered a host of specific molecules and carbon chains which, according to NASA,
could have contributed to the formation of early life. Since then, during Curiosity’s
further exploration of the Martian landscape, it has found evidence of sulfur, nitrogen,
hydrogen, oxygen and carbon; elements that are also essential to life. We are, after
all, carbon-based beings. The puzzle is by no means complete, and at
the moment there’s no solid, irrefutable answer on whether life does, has or has never
existed on Mars… But it does seem as though early Mars at least contained all of the fundamental
pieces necessary for it to happen. John Grotzinger, the chief scientist behind the Curiosity Rover,
has every confidence that Mars was once a habitable planet – even claiming that the
water that once filled the Gale Crater would’ve been safe to drink! It’s an exciting thought, but it also ignites
another question: If life was initially on Mars instead of Earth, then how did it eventually
get here? Well – assuming for a second that life at some point did, in fact, exist on
Mars – the prospect of the two planets somehow exchanging organisms might not be all that
far-fetched, given their close proximity. At the closest point in their orbits, Earth
and Mars are approximately 34 million miles apart. It is a massive distance, but not exactly
insurmountable in the grand scheme of space. And here we get to the panspermia theory,
which suggests that forms of life exist throughout the universe and travel through space mostly
on meteorites. The chances of microbes actually surviving such high-speed, inter-planetary,
trans-star-system journeys are definitely low, but studies have shown that it is possible.
And we do already know that various meteors from other celestial bodies have made their
way to Earth. And that Mars has been pummeled with space debris in its past, as well. So,
if there’s even a grain of truth in the panspermia theory, then it may well have played
out on our planet and the “Red Planet” – and, across billions of years, such events
may theoretically have passed vital material from Mars to Earth. Much more recently, scientists like Steven
Benner, of the Westheimer Institute of Science and Technology, have added more fuel to the
theory – arguing that, thanks to its store of the element boron, early-Mars may have
actually been a better place than early-Earth for the creation of RNA or ribonucleic acid
– an essential building block for life. So, perhaps life really did develop on Mars first
before travelling to Earth… Or, at the very least, an adequate store of Boron made it
to Earth via meteorites, to kickstart evolution here. It ties closely with the “Phosphate Problem”,
which science has long been trying to figure out. The problem posits that early-Earth couldn’t
sustain the vital phosphates needed to create life… But early-Mars could well have done.
In 2013, shortly after Benner revealed his ideas on why Mars may have been a better breeding
ground for basic life, the university of Nevada’s Christopher Adcock led a study which found
that it was much more likely that phosphates on Mars would’ve developed in water; compared
to phosphates on Earth which weren’t as compliant with water. So, seeing as we believe
life started in water, Mars is arguably a more likely early home. As interesting and possible as it may seem,
though, the idea that life existed on Mars is still just a theory. And the jump from
the Red Planet perhaps hosting early microbial life to it being the long-lost-home for an
ancient line of actual human beings that we no longer know about is a massive one. Depending
on who you ask, some form of life may have existed (or may still exist) on Mars… But
walking, talking, advanced, intelligent and recognizable humans? Not likely. For those trying to pinpoint the origin of
life, though, Mars offers an alternative to our own planet – with some claiming that Earth
increasingly seems a more unlikely source. But there are still plenty of questions hanging
over Mars in general – not least, “what exactly happened to its atmosphere?” While
there’s still no proof that life has ever existed or excelled there, the general consensus
is that it’s at least possible. What do you think? Is there anything we missed?
Let us know in the comments, check out these other clips from Unveiled, and make sure you
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