Nasas Curiosity rover has discovered a large amount of methane gas on the surface of Mars, which points to the possibility of alien life on the planet.
On Earth methane is usually produced by living things.
Scientists say that any methane gas discovered now must have been released recently, as sunlight and chemical reactions would break up the molecules within a few centuries.
The data from the Curiosity rover was sent back to Earth on Thursday, and by Friday, scientists involved on the mission were discussing the news.
Given this surprising result, weve reorganised the weekend to run a follow-up experiment, Ashwin Vasavada, the project scientist for the mission, wrote to the science team in an email that was obtained byThe New York Times.
Mission controllers on Earth sent new instructions to the rover on Friday to follow up on the readings as a priority.
The results of these observations are expected back on the ground on Monday.
Although many have long been fascinated by the possibility of aliens on Mars, Nasas Viking landers in the 1970s photographed a desolate landscape.
However, now scientists are entertaining the notion that if life ever did arise on Mars, its microbial descendants could have migrated underground and persisted.