Mars Is Alive!

Cerberus Fossae Topographic View

Color-coded topographic view shows the relative heights of features in Cerberus Fossae: reds and whites are relatively higher than blues and purples. The image is based on a digital terrain model of the region, from which the topography of the landscape can be derived. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Until now, Mars has generally been considered a geologically dead planet. An international team of scientists now reports that seismic signals indicate vulcanism still plays an active role in shaping the Martian surface.

Ever since the NASA InSight Mission deployed the SEIS seismometer on the surface of Mars in 2018, seismologists and geophysicists at ETH Zurich have been listening to the seismic pings of more than 1,300 marsquakes. Again and again, the researchers registered smaller and larger Mars quakes. A detailed analysis of the quakes’ location and spectral character eventually brought a surprise. With epicenters originating in the vicinity of the Cerberus Fossae — a region consisting of a series of rifts or graben — these quakes tell a new story. A story that suggests an active role is still played by vulcanism in shaping the Martian surface.

Mars shows signs of geological life

Led by ETH Zurich, an international team of researchers analyzed a cluster of more than 20 recent marsquakes that originated in the Cerberus Fossae graben system. From the seismic data, scientists concluded that the low-frequency quakes indicate a potentially warm source that could be explained by present-day molten lava, i.e., magma at that depth, and volcanic activity on Mars. Specifically, they found that the quakes are located mostly in the innermost part of Cerberus Fossae.

Mars Express Wiew of Cerberus Fossae

This image, taken on January 27, 2018, during orbit 17813 by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on ESA’s Mars Express, shows a portion of the Cerberus Fossae system in Elysium Planitia near the Martian equator. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

When they scanned observational orbital images of the same area, they noticed that the epicenters were located very close to a structure that has previously been described as a “young volcanic fissure.” Darker deposits of dust around this fissure are present not only in the dominant direction of the wind, but in all directions surrounding the Cerberus Fossae Mantling Unit.

“The darker shade of the dust signifies geological evidence of more recent volcanic activity – perhaps within the past 50,000 years — relatively young, in geological terms,” explains Simon Stähler, the lead author of the paper, which has was published on October 27 in the journal Nature. Stähler is a Senior Scientist working in the Seismology and Geodynamics group led by Professor Domenico Giardini at the Institute of Geophysics, ETH Zurich.

Why study the terrestrial neighbor?

Exploring Earth’s planetary neighbors is no easy task. Mars is the only planet, other than Earth, on which scientists have ground-based rovers, landers, and now even drones that transmit data. So far, all other planetary exploration has relied on orbital imagery.

“InSight’s SEIS is the most sensitive seismometer ever installed on another planet,” says Domenico Giardini. “It affords geophysicists and seismologists an opportunity to work with current data showing what is happening on Mars today — both at the surface and in its interior.” The seismic data, along with orbital images, ensures a greater degree of confidence for scientific inferences.

Cerberus Fossae Perspective View

One of the fractures (graben) that make up the Cerberus Fossae system. The fractures cut through hills and craters, indicating their relative youth. SA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

One of our nearest terrestrial neighbors, Mars is important for understanding similar geological processes on Earth. The red planet is the only one we know of, so far, that has a core composition of iron, nickel, and sulfur that might have once supported a magnetic field. Topographical evidence also indicates that Mars once held vast expanses of water and possibly a denser atmosphere. Even today, scientists have learned that frozen water, although possibly mostly dry ice, still exists on its polar caps.

“While there is much more to learn, the evidence of potential magma on Mars is intriguing,” Anna Mittelholz, Postdoctoral Fellow at ETH Zurich and Harvard University.

Last remnants of geophysical life

Looking at images of the vast dry, dusty Martian landscape it is difficult to imagine that about 3.6 billion years ago Mars was very much alive, at least in a geophysical sense. It spewed volcanic debris for a long enough time to give rise to Tharsis Montes region, the largest volcanic system in our solar system and the Olympus Mons – a volcano nearly three times the elevation of Mount Everest.

Cerberus Fossae in C'ontext

Cerberus Fossae in context of its surrounds in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars near the equator. Credit: NASA MGS MOLA Science Team

The quakes coming from the nearby Cerberus Fossae — named for a creature from Greek mythology known as the “hell-hound of Hades” that guards the underworld – suggest that Mars is not quite dead yet. Here the weight of the volcanic region is sinking and forming parallel graben (or rifts) that pull the crust of Mars apart, much like the cracks that appear on the top of a cake while its baking. According to Stähler, it is possible that what we are seeing are the last remnants of this once-active volcanic region or that the magma is right now moving eastward to the next location of eruption.

Reference: “Tectonics of Cerberus Fossae unveiled by marsquakes” by Simon C. Stähler, Anna Mittelholz, Cleément Perrin, Taichi Kawamura, Doyeon Kim, Martin Knapmeyer, Géraldine Zenhäusern, John Clinton, Domenico Giardini, Philippe Lognonné and W. Bruce Banerdt, 27 October 2022, Nature Astronomy.
DOI: 10.1038/s41550-022-01803-y

This study involved scientists from ETH Zurich, Harvard University, Nantes Université, CNRS Paris, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin, and Caltech.

NASA InSight mission

InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is an unmanned external NASA Mars mission. In November 2018, the stationary lander, which is equipped with a seismometer and a heat probe, safely landed on the Martian surface. The geophysical instruments on the red planet permit exploration of its interior. A number of European partners, including France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. CNES provided the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument to NASA, with the principal investigator at IPGP (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris). Significant contributions for SEIS came from IPGP; the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany; Imperial College London and Oxford University in the United Kingdom; and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (USA).

81 Comments on "Mars Is Alive!"

  1. Those Vulcans. Always messing about with planets

  2. What if scientists have it wrong? What if other then Mars being a dead planet what if it’s just getting started?

    • Exactly! It makes more sense and as it comes closer to the sun, heats up to melt the ice, cause hot springs..

      That’s how it all started on Earth.

      • That’s not how it works. That would make it hotter and more conducive to life but internal geological activity has nothing to do with the Sun.

        The Sun doesn’t even cause hot springs.

      • That’s not how it works. That would make it hotter and more conducive to life but internal geological activity has nothing to do with the Sun.

        The Sun doesn’t even cause hot springs.

        Where were you in high school?

  3. We’ve know since 1990 Mars will become hugely geologically active when Quaid and the mutant Rebels activate the huge planetary machine under the volcano. Give the People the air!

    • This is truly embarrassing. It’s a sad state of affairs we’re in when people actually fall for this kind of baloney.

      • What, you don’t like Planet of the Apes, Opinionist?

      • I think he’s referencing the movie “total recall,” where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character activates a huge nuclear generator under ground on Mars, which suddenly released water vapor and other gases and created a gaseous/breathable atmosphere on Mars… Geeze… Take a joke people.

  4. These stories are only instilling a sense of hope in the minds of a generation that will send astronauts to their death on a frigid, dusty and unforgiving planet.

    • Well said. thanks to that hope humanity could first survive this hostile planet and now expanding to more hostile ones. Humans are unstoppable 🥰

  5. Think what good could be done here on EARTH if nations joined in the help of earth. You could ship pollution out to Mars a dead planet. It’s insight into Earth if we don’t change our ways. Why not do it here. Join together instead of war and destruction

    • Lovely and hopeful, thank you!

    • >Think what good could be done here on EARTH if nations joined in the help of earth.

      The money doesn’t get sent to Mars, Pam. It goes to the people and companies that built the machines and did the science and the research gets shared. You realize your ability to spout nonsense on the Internet is solely due to research and exploration in space?

      > You could ship pollution out to Mars a dead planet.

      You realize it costs $10,000 just to put a pound of material into low Earth orbit? You don’t think about the logistics? It’s a good thing they don’t put you in charge of this.

  6. Thanks for letting me post my view

  7. What a bombastic albeit completely false title. You know what you did and why and how… What a great news, for me to poop on.

    • The title is appropriate as it is geologically alive. If you knew anything you would assume that it was geologically alive, instead, you assumed that the gigantic planet is actually is alive. Learn more.

    • What udumb said; misinterpretation is your own fault, Pooper.

  8. great start sending the community to mate and populate.

  9. There is life out there, if not Mars, then somewhere, but it is out there. I have never believed we are alone. Too many sightings, too many unexplained, unexplained. Do not discount it.

  10. Shoglagah codala nemyta

  11. It is very interesting that nuclear material has been found on Mars suggesting there had been a nuclear fallout sometime in the past. What if a major nuclear power such as the U.S. and/or Russia deliberately and secretly targeted Mars years ago to destroy any evidence of previous life on a planet in order to prevent any future ramifications about religion and politics here on earth?
    Otherwise, this was done by a much more advanced civilization of aliens and is something to be concerned about regarding the civil defense of all nations here on earth.

    • Literally everything you said is either incorrect or on a premise that’s so far outside the realm of reality that it’s meaningless.

  12. Any planet of our solar system is geological active. Any meteorites impact can produce vibration, resonance, melted rocks resulting chemical reactions, sound effects, etc. on the other hand, there are surface erosions produced by winds and, may be, water. Yes, the planet has its own life that does not imply biological life.

  13. Why they are looking for life in other planets while here on earth is live but rather waisted time and money that could have make a change on earth.

  14. Mars is neither dead nor alive, but is in a state of superposition.
    When our first astronaut arrived there and observes it, then will we know?

  15. Reading the comments I wonder if intelligent life will ever be confirmed on Earth?

    • nicole aka star child | November 6, 2022 at 5:34 am | Reply

      I agree Harry. The solar system is just to vast for us to be the only intelligent life. As far as sending people to unforgiving planets, human nature is pre set to explore no matter the hardships. It will happen eventually. The only thing that can stop us is our duel destructive nature. I can only hope our exploration nature wins out.

    • Brilliamt observation !
      I was asking myself the same question !

    • Hey! A sane person. I have no idea how much lead most of these people were drinking in childhood.

  16. The title was appropriate given previous knowledge of Martian geologic activity, which is the target audience after all.

  17. Why not add geologically in the title? I think it’s click bait tactics to make people think we found biological life and get more clicks! Shame!

  18. Money laundering hope where there is none I don’t know what has to happen b4 everyone finally sees.seys aside pride God and party and stands together with that asshole blue haired twinkle toes that straight bible thumper and stand up for all the lives and blood shed and stop playing their games sheeple is the best word let’s put the peo back where it belongs up their arses.

  19. Please stop with the click bait. You’re better than that.

    • Where’s the clickbait? You didn’t think a planet being geologically alive meant it had organic life on it, did you? You’re smarter than that, right? …Right?

  20. Life is the commonality throughout the universe not the exception. The universe is life. Our limited perception and preconceived notions about what living is misleads us.

  21. Blaine Bowling | November 6, 2022 at 4:46 am | Reply

    Thanks for providing once again that what your title implies is not what the article will actually entail. The news is is exciting and has merit… I probably would have enjoyed the article if I wasn’t distracted by the fact I was treated as a commodity instead of a curious spectator of real science.

  22. After Human Beings completely destroy life capabilities on a perfect planet, Earth, they natural hope to use their same intelligence further.

  23. I know Mars was once had beings there. But then we started broadcasting CW music into space. Hence, they all died…

  24. Dry ice is CO2. Water is H2O. Your writer should have addressed that.

  25. Has everyone gone mad, I have looked at the images direct from the NASA site and there littered with evidence people saying it’s just rocks yeh fossils are rocks and stick insects are not plants, people wake up it’s obvious a destroyed civilisation. 🤯

  26. Mars is showing no signs of intelligent life ever to appear it only rains! As the blue image of a crater full of rain water shows.

  27. There has to be other life out there but come on it hasn’t visited here.

  28. Angela alchemist | November 6, 2022 at 9:10 am | Reply

    More propaganda to ramp up people’s emotions (it’s how they always get us) for the time it is falsely disclosed that our Creators originated from Mars. They destroyed their planet, Mars, and are in the process of attempting to do the same to Earth.

  29. Alchemist Angela | November 6, 2022 at 9:18 am | Reply

    They fled Mars, upon destroying it, and have been here, amongst us on Earth, since. We’re only seeing the propaganda/predictive programming before being told that we were created by Martian gods. It’s coming.

    So refreshing to see the comment section full of aware individuals, no longer going along with the narrative. If any of y’all ever did.

  30. Great click bait. Don’t pretend you meant “geographically”. BHoles

  31. Who cares take care of earth!!! Can live on that crappy old planet who wants to. No beer,no hot women,no live music just a bunch of boring stupid rocks!!!

  32. I should have known that was a clickbait title.

    • yeah, or maybe you should’ve used your brain and know that it meant geologically alive. the planet is obviously not f***ing alive

      • It’s obvious that he/she thought about some biological signs of life. Do you really think anyone thought that the planet itself is alive ???

  33. Humanity is in a greater danger of self destruction than any alien, or Martian invasion. Humanity has used fear to make people make unlikely choice in the name of democratic, or popular, choice.
    We must redirect our fear of the unknown towards the known and what we can clearly see, but are unwilling to look. We consider ourselves as an intelligent life. But, from an alien’s point of view we are undertaking some of the dumbest decisions in the cosmos.

  34. This is the power God has given us- IF a spacecraft were to drop human urine and poop into an active volcano on an otherwise uninhabitable planet, that planet will develop an atmosphere.- Environmental science from various resources.

  35. As much as I cringe every time I see a SciTechDaily article, and think of used-car salesmen, it did lower my blood pressure by the thought that if it draws people to science (seems content is accurate), then ok–go for it guys & chicks!

  36. Since high school age I’ve been saying Mars is just getting started. It might not be dead. I don’t know yet about sending people there. I think if it’s the correct “scenario”. Right scientists, right season, right equipment. If everything is right what they want to get done. Might just get accomplished.

    • You’ve been saying “since high school” but providing no actual evidence based on an actual scientific understanding, right? Care to explain how the laws of thermodynamics can be reversed and a planet with a cooling core left over from residual accretion, and radioactive materials can also un-decay inside the core, leading to a spontaneous and unexplained increase of energy within the core allowing the renewed geothermal energy to spit out levels of volcanism not seen since the Noachian?

      Or it’s just wishful thinking based on “it would be a cool idea”?

      What happened to our schools? God. Help us.

  37. Life exists besides us somewhere. Look at all the galaxies in Hubble or JWST deep field. Trillions and Trillions of opportunities. I’d say enough opportunities for a near copy of us somewhere.

  38. We could sent our criminals there.

  39. Uhhh’ you want fry’s with that ?

  40. It’s disgusting how so many idiots believe that bacteria on Mars is life and an unborn human child is not

  41. I have your IP lol | November 6, 2022 at 9:10 pm | Reply

    If Martians are there….God won’t look like the way you know. I believe there is life on Mars.but this is clickbait so yeah shame.

  42. Good to know that is considered life but a unborn babies heartbeat on earth isn’t🙄 yay science!

  43. Very sad to see that people don’t question this baloney. Looks like paint spilled from a can of paint. The outline of the can is visible. The Deliberate Dumbing Down agenda is working perfectly.

  44. This world is “gone” Mac MacReady. It’s “gone”. Record extinction of every kind of species on Earth. They won’t be coming back, ever. More and more every single day, rivers lands and oceans. All species except one, but our day is soon, relatively speaking. I don’t want to be around for that cannibal slaughter fest. Goodbye science, it was nice “knowing” and it was even nicer “wondering” and “dreaming”.

  45. When a rover finds evidence of cellular organic carbon remains, and just proxy evidence, Mars may have been alive…three billion years ago. So far, nothing since then. Too much DNA-damaging solar UV radiation.

  46. Mark zimmerman | November 7, 2022 at 7:21 am | Reply

    I agree..Mars is just getting started. When earth dies it will become a second sun for Mars which will create an atmosphere very similar to what we have had here.

  47. Absolutely impossible to be the only living beings!!! Definitely not alone n I have proof of something I captured on NASA live before they shut channel dwn once spotted!

  48. Nothing in this article actually shows any evidence of life on Mars. It’s amazing how some people decide to put a totally irrelevant and slanted title on an article.

  49. This is a great story about how you feel about your own planet you see if all of the money that the world has spent on sending rockets to Mars we possibly could have a cure for all the decreases in the world and just maybe we could live to be 500 years old.

  50. Look out at the sky and think that each star could be a sun like ours and then think that we are the only life out there. That sounds absurd to me. On the contrary if we have been visited and we cant see them. I wouldn’t f*** with them.

  51. The title of the article is a bit confusing to be honest. When a planet is alive, the first thought is certainly not that it’s about its geological activity. Like an average peasant, I thought about signs of carbon life.

  52. Yes, there is life on Mars. Twitches live on Mars in muscle trees. Also, gigantic Spiders live on Mars. You should see my Twitches, then you will know that Martians exist.

  53. Steve Macdonald | November 10, 2022 at 12:13 am | Reply

    Most clickbait title yet. For a “scientific” publication you seem unfamiliar with the definition of basic terms such as “alive”. Leave tabloid journalism to the tabloids.

  54. Humans will be dead by the time Mars is born. Human are destroying Earth, and they would destroy Mars, if they live long enough…

  55. Where do you think we originated from?? I’m pretty sure even the highest of all most likely doesn’t know this. Or they’re just keeping it secret from every human known to man.

  56. I think Mars is our next home because as earth comes closer to the Sun or the Sun expands closer to its end, life on earth will be extinct and Mars will become warmer and therefore life could be easier to develop. I think it’s just common sense. Time is the problem.

  57. What if our planetary system is the physical and chemical process of earth in progressive stages from beginning to end.. Mercury to Pluto

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