UArizona scientists say new discovery shows Mars may be habitable at a recent point in time

A big discovery has been found on Mars, thanks to a group of researchers at the University of Arizona.

Researchers have found volcanic activity on the Red Planet recently, and they are calling this a big discovery because it shows there could be good conditions for microbial life.

Findings from UArizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory show a recent explosive volcanic deposit from 50,000 years ago. 50,000 years ago might sound like a long time, but researchers say that is actually very recent.

"The most important and exciting conclusion from this is that Mars is still active today," said UArizona Associate Professor Jeff Andrews Hanna. "If a volcanic eruption happened 50,000 years ago on Mars, an eruption could occur today or tomorrow."

The reason why the discovery is important is because it shows that Mars is still alive. While there was evidence of volcanism as recently as 3 million years ago, there was no evidence to indicate Mars could be active, until now.

Researches show this means the planet could have been recently habitable.

"This is an area where ice and water is, and when you combine magma with water and ice, you are creating an environment that life can survive in," said Hanna.

Researchers at UArizona are very excited over the discovery, because they believe it will bring renewed interest to the area. They say while the eruption they discovered was the most recent, they predict it won't be the last.

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news

For the latest local news, download the FOX 10 News app

Sign up for FOX 10 email alerts, newsletters