The search for evidence of microbial life on Mars – whether fossil or existing – is more pronounced with each mission sent. But according to an entomologist, maybe we’ve already found life on Mars without realizing it, and it’s not about tiny microbes, but about big insects on Mars.
William Romoser, an insect specialist at the University of Ohio, has spent years scrutinizing the photos taken by rovers exploring the red planet. And he has noticed, in many of them,
A great variety of structures between the rocks that could be identified as insects, both fossilized and alive.
But not only that, but he has also seen some ways that remind snakes. This body of evidence is, according to Romoser, good enough to justify further investigation.
Thus, as a first step, he presented his findings at the annual meeting of the American Entomology Society in St. Louis (Missouri).
“There has been and there is still life on Mars,” says the scientist. “There is a diversity among the Martian insectoid fauna, whose characteristics are similar in many occasions to insects that we can find on our planet: shells, wings, legs, eyes, antennae and body segmentation.”
The photos of the rovers released to the public by NASA – particularly from Curiosity, since his brother Opportunity died last year at the hands of a colossal sandstorm – show in detail the surface of Mars.
However, their study is limited, usually – or capriciously – to geology, leaving other branches of science, such as archeology or, in this case, entomology, totally sideways.
It is these same images that Romoser has analyzed from his point of view and specialty.
Their criteria for differentiating insects from surrounding rocks are based on symmetry, segmentation, skeletal remains and clusters in one or more ways. (insects on Mars)
He also took into account certain poses as evidence of movement or flight, and even an apparent interaction between recognized forms, to conclude that some of these insects would not only be fossils but would be alive!
“Once an unusual form has been identified in a clear image, it can be recognized in the same way in other less clear but equally valid images,” he explains.(insects on Mars)
Presumably, the statement made by this entomologist can be dismissed by the scientific establishment claiming that they are only rocks and that their arguments can only be the work of pareidolia.
But the truth is that this paradigmatic group cannot really prove that they are not insect fossils; Unless, of course, they take the trouble to analyze things by going beyond geology and the microbial world.
We doubt that the latter will be applied through robotic missions to Mars, including the Mars 2020, which has a better-equipped rover than Curiosity for the search for life.
However, it is likely that, when manned missions are launched within the next couple of decades, the first settlers can confirm that some things that were considered simple rocks are something else …
“While any image cannot prove anything by itself, I believe that the mosaic I have described here is compelling,” Romoser writes in the summary of his study. «I see the research that I have reported as replicative and corroborative. It is clear that much more study of the photos is needed ».