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Is there life on Mars? In a word ‘No,’ say scientists

This file handout picture released on October 16, 2016 by the European Space Agency (ESA) shows planet Mars as seen by the webcam on ESA’s Mars Express orbiter. (AFP)

Scientists might have finally lain to rest the eternal question: “Is there life on Mars?” And rather disappointingly the answer is most likely “no.”
According to new research, that examined the red planet’s surface, there is a “toxic cocktail” of chemicals that could wipe out living organisms, British news website The Independent has reported.
Researchers at Edinburgh University found that the absence of an Ozone layer meant Mars’ surface was exposed to high levels of Ultra Violet radiation.
The impact of the radiation, combined with certain types of compounds in the soil, resulted in sterilizing the upper layers.
The researchers revealed in the Scientific Reports journal that the soil on Mars created inhospitable conditions caused by a “toxic cocktail of oxidants, iron oxides, perchlorates and UV irradiation.”
“Our observations show that the surface of present-day Mars is highly deleterious to cells, caused by a toxic cocktail of oxidants, iron oxides, perchlorates and UV irradiation,” the report added.
The report went on to suggest that their findings provided “further evidence that the surface of Mars is lethal to vegetative cells and renders much of the surface and near-surface regions uninhabitable.”
The research report concluded that the chemicals found on the surface of Mars effectively rendered “the present-day surface more uninhabitable than previously thought.”
There was no mention of how this might impact any intended manned missions to the red planet.

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