Should We Be Looking for Life on Mars Underground?

I think the answer is yes because, on the surface, Mars does not have liquid water and it’s as cold as Antarctica. But in the sub-surface, it’s warmer and we’re very confident that there is liquid water there. Just like the deep hot biosphere that we know is present on Earth down to about 5 km beneath the surface of the crust, there may be a similar deep hot biosphere on Mars.

Also, the martian sub-surface may be the best place to build our first colonies—it’s warmer and protected from cosmic rays. And the pressures and temperatures are high enough to have flowing liquid water.

Charley Lineweaver is a senior fellow at the Australian National University’s Planetary Science Institute.

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