The annotated area in this illustration shows where water ice is located near the surface of Mars. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Scientists think if there is life on Mars it’s likely to be hidden in deep underground caves.
According to Space.com, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory research scientist Vlada Stamenković explained the Martian underground life theory at a recent space event.
Speaking at the Mars Extant Life conference, Stamenković reportedly said: “The surface of Mars is a very oxidizing, radiation-heavy environment where liquid water is not really stable for an extended amount of time.
“It’s the worst place to look for life-sites on Mars.
“Groundwater might be the only habitat for extant life on Mars, if it still exists today.”
The surface of Mars is cold, dry and there is lots of radiation.
Underground could be more habitable for life forms and may have some form of stable water supply.
Some scientists think that agile robots should be made that could try and explore the cave systems on Mars.
More than 1,000 potential cave entrances have been mapped on Mars by the US Geological Survey’s (USGS) Astrogeology Science Center.
Building nimble robots to enter all these potential caves would be costly and intricate.
However, Stamenković has proposed that Nasa could use a rover that could sense underground groundwater or chemicals associated with life from the surface.
This would make it easier to target specific areas that life is most likely to be found.
NASA intends to send its WED rover to Mars later this year.
The plan is for the 2,260-pound space probe to gather new events of life that’s alive or extinct and send Martian samples back to Earth.