A rather odd scientific study has suggested that a NASA rover caught a glimpse of something truly weird… mushrooms on Mars.
The study, published in the Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science, has made headlines around the world, with a claim that bulbous objects on the surface which might be puffballs.
But is this really our first evidence of life on Mars? Sadly, it probably isn’t.
Many observers are very suspicious about the study, the way it’s written, and the journal itself.
NASA has its own theory about the lumps (and it’s not that they’re space fungi).
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Researcher Dr Regina Dass told The Express, There are no geological or other abiogenic forces on Earth which can produce sedimentary structures, by the hundreds, which have mushroom shapes, stems, stalks, and shed what looks like spores on the surrounding surface.
‘In fact, fifteen specimens were photographed by NASA growing out of the ground in just three days.’
But NASA has dismissed the claims, saying the bulbous shapes are a mineral, haematite.
Reddit commenters quickly dismissed the study, saying it appeared to be ‘vanity published.
One user, Zeeblecroid, said, ‘The journal and article are both garbage. There’s a community of self-proclaimed astrobiologists who use the same crackpot tricks (mostly misrepresenting mundane photos of basic geological features as hard evidence of life) and have been for decades. They’ve been pounding that drum since at least the mid-1990s.’
The researchers also seem to backpedal on their claims in the study, saying, ‘Nevertheless, much of the evidence remains circumstantial and unverified, and the possibility of life on Mars remains an open question.’
‘Although organisms can survive in space or in simulated Mars-like environments, there is no proof they can flourish on Mars. It is also very difficult to distinguish, with a high level of confidence, between what may be living organisms vs sedimentary structures. Similarities in morphology are not proof.