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Habitability of Mars: How Welcoming Are the Surface and Subsurface to Life on the Red Planet?

Youth and Families Program Unit, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99163, USA
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Geosciences 2019, 9(9), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9090361
Received: 31 July 2019 / Revised: 19 August 2019 / Accepted: 20 August 2019 / Published: 22 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Martian Meteorites and Mars Exploration)
Mars is a planet of great interest in the search for signatures of past or present life beyond Earth. The years of research, and more advanced instrumentation, have yielded a lot of evidence which may be considered by the scientific community as proof of past or present habitability of Mars. Recent discoveries including seasonal methane releases and a subglacial lake are exciting, yet challenging findings. Concurrently, laboratory and environmental studies on the limits of microbial life in extreme environments on Earth broaden our knowledge of the possibility of Mars habitability. In this review, we aim to: (1) Discuss the characteristics of the Martian surface and subsurface that may be conducive to habitability either in the past or at present; (2) discuss laboratory-based studies on Earth that provide us with discoveries on the limits of life; and (3) summarize the current state of knowledge in terms of direction for future research. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mars; habitability; surface; subsurface; water; organics; methane; life; microorganisms; lichens; bryophytes Mars; habitability; surface; subsurface; water; organics; methane; life; microorganisms; lichens; bryophytes
MDPI and ACS Style

Checinska Sielaff, A.; Smith, S.A. Habitability of Mars: How Welcoming Are the Surface and Subsurface to Life on the Red Planet? Geosciences 2019, 9, 361.

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