This is an image of the surface of Mars.
Click on image for full size
Can there be Life in the Environment of Mars?
In spite of the fact that Mars has an atmosphere, the environment of Mars seems unfriendly toward life as we know it
Mars is small, so there is not much gravity. For this reason, much of the atmosphere of Mars has drifted away. With little atmosphere, and no ozone layer, there is less protection from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun, which is very harmful to life.
With little atmosphere, there is a only a small buffer between the surface and space itself. This means that the temperature above the surface is cold. With little atmosphere, there is only a little pressure, which sophisticated life forms such as humans need to keep blood from boiling. (Remember what happened to the characters of the movie "Total Recall" when they encountered the surface of Mars)!
We know, however, that there are life forms on earth which can survive in very harsh environments.
In the past, liquid water flowed on the surface of Mars. With a liquid water habitat and a thicker atmosphere, life may have once thrived. More exploration of Mars is needed to determine if life was once present there.
You might also be interested in:
In July, 1996, it was announced that Dr. David McKay, along with a team of scientists at Johnson Space Center (a division of NASA), had discovered possible fossils of bacteria in an ancient rock from Mars....more
Extreme environments are places that are inhospitable to most "normal" living creatures. Extreme environments are not necessarily lifeless. Certain types of organisms, known collectively as "extremophiles",...more
Chile's Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth. Few people live there, and most animals, plants, and even microbes find it difficult to scratch out a living in such an arid environment. There...more
Jupiter's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +32 degrees (freezing temperature)....more
Saturn's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +80 degrees. With winds...more
Titan's atmosphere is a lot like the Earth's, except that it is very cold, from -330 degrees to -290 degrees! Like the Earth, there is a lot of Nitrogen and other complex molecules. There also may be an...more
Autotrophs are organisms that produce organic compounds from an inorganic source of carbon (carbon dioxide) given a source of energy. If the source of energy is the reactions of inorganic chemical compounds,...more