Life on Mars bombshell: Expert insists 'absolutely there's something' ahead of launch

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Senior research fellow at UCL, Francisco Diego, explained there is evidence of atmospheric pressure around Mars in the past which is needed to preserve water on its surface. He went on to claim evidence of life on the red planet will be found by the first astronauts to land there. His comments come as the United Arab Emirates launched its first mission to Mars early on Monday as it strives to develop its scientific and technology capabilities and move away from its reliance on oil.

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Speaking to Sky News, Mr Diego said: “Absolutely there’s something there. This is one of the reasons to analyse the atmosphere of Mars because in the past there is evidence that there was a thick atmosphere producing an atmospheric pressure which is essential to preserve liquid water on the surface.

“The surface of Mars has unequivocal evidence and now we know there was liquid water on the surface for a long period of time.

“Therefore there must have been primitive life there at least in microfossils that will be found by the first astronauts.”

It comes as the first Arab mission to Mars was initially due to launch on July 14, but has been delayed twice due to bad weather.

READ MORE: Alien discovery: LIMBS of giant aliens spotted on Mars – claim

Life on Mars bombshell: Expert insists 'absolutely there's something' ahead of launch

An expert insisted evidence of surface water on the planet means it harboured life (Image: GETTY)

Life on Mars bombshell: Expert insists 'absolutely there's something' ahead of launch

Life on Mars: The UAE launched its first mission to Mars on Monday (Image: GETTY)

The Hope Probe blasted off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center at 1:58 a.m. UAE time/6:58 a.m. Japanese time Monday (2158 GMT Sunday) for a seven-month journey to the red planet, where it will orbit and send back data about the atmosphere.

There are currently eight active missions exploring Mars; some orbit the planet and some have landed on its surface. China and the United States each plan to send another this year.

The Emirates Mars Mission has cost $ 200 million (£157.9 million), according to Minister for Advanced Sciences Sarah Amiri. It aims to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere for the first time, studying daily and seasonal changes.

The UAE first announced plans for the mission in 2014 and launched a National Space Programme in 2017 to develop local expertise. Its population of 9.4 million, most of whom are foreign workers, lacks the scientific and industrial base of the big spacefaring nations.

Life on Mars bombshell: Expert insists 'absolutely there's something' ahead of launch

Evidence shows Mars once had water (Image: GETTY)

It has an ambitious plan for a Mars settlement by 2117.

Hazza al-Mansouri became the first Emirati in space last September when he flew to the International Space Station.

To develop and build the Hope Probe, Emiratis and Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) worked with US educational institutions.

Around an hour after launch, the probe will deploy solar panels to power its communication and other systems. The MBRSC space centre in Dubai will then oversee the spacecraft during its 494 million km journey at an average speed of 121,000 km per hour.

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Life on Mars bombshell: Expert insists 'absolutely there's something' ahead of launch

Mars facts (Image: EXPRESS)

Meanwhile, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said Tuesday he still expected support from Russia’s space corporation in its Artemis moon program despite Moscow’s space chief slamming the U.S.-led lunar effort.

Bridenstine said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday “the relationship between NASA and Roscosmos is solid” and emphasized that international partners will play a key role in NASA’s plan to land humans on the lunar surface by 2024 and construct a space station orbiting the moon.

“I’ve got a good relationship with Dmitri Rogozin, so I’m hopeful that there are opportunities for us to continue to collaborate,” Bridenstine said, referring to the general director of Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos.

But Rogozin called the moon program in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda on Monday a “political project” and likened it to NATO, the Western military alliance Russia has long shunned.


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