this has to be interesting.
The question of whether present-day Mars could be habitable, and to what extent, has been the focus of long-running and intense debates. The surface, comparable to the dry valleys of Antarctica and the Atacama desert on Earth, is harsh, with well-below freezing temperatures most of the time (at an average of minus 63 degrees Celsius or minus 81 Fahrenheit), extreme dryness and a very thin atmosphere offering little protection from the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Most scientists would agree that the best place that any organisms could hope to survive and flourish would be underground. Now, a new study says that scenario is not only correct, but that large regions of Mars’ subsurface could be even more sustainable for life than previously thought.
Scientists from the Australian National University modeled conditions on Mars on a global scale and found that large regions could be capable of sustaining life – three percent of the planet actually, albeit mostly underground. By comparison, just one percent of Earth’s volume, from the central core to the upper atmosphere, is inhabited by some kind of life. They compared pressure and temperature conditions on Earth to those of Mars to come up with the surprising results.
The paper is currently available for free here.