The team behind the new research did admit that the objects of their study may be “abiotic”, since they cannot rule out “minerals, weathering, and unknown geological forces that are unique to Mars and unknown and alien to Earth.”
Having examined photos supplied by NASA’s Opportunity and Curiosity rovers, as well as by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera, an international team of scientists has postulated that these images may show the presence of fungi-like lifeforms on the Red Planet.
According to Popular Mechanics, the “chalky-white colored spherical shaped specimens” were initially regarded by the Mars Opportunity team as the iron oxide compound hematite, though that claim was apparently refuted by later studies.
The new research points at images that show the apparent emergence of additional spherical objects from beneath the Martian soil over a span of 3 days, with the scientists arguing that said objects “expand in size, or conversely, change shape, move to new locations, and/or wane in size and nearly disappear.”
The team reportedly notes that the specimens in question are “abiotic”, and that they “cannot completely rule out minerals, weathering, and unknown geological forces that are unique to Mars and unknown and alien to Earth.”
There were also scholars who appeared sceptical about the new hypothesis, with Jonathan Clarke, president of Mars Society Australia, branding the research as speculative.
Paul Myers, a developmental biologist at the University of Minnesota also seemed reluctant to trust the findings of the study’s lead author Rhawn Gabriel Joseph, according to CNET.