Lewis Datrnelll, a UK Space Agency research Fellow, believes early microscopic forms of life may well have formed on Mars billions of years ago, but a major environmental event later made the Red Planet completely inhospitable even to the single-celled organisms that may have formed.
Mr Dartnell, who is also author of The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch, a New York Times and Sunday Times best-selling book explaining how to rebuild society in the event of an apocalypse, said: “Something catastrophic has gone wrong on Mars environmentally.”
He said the only life that would have developed before that would have been singled celled – “only the bacteria you would see under a microscope” – but whatever happened wiped out its chance of evolving into more complex creatures.
He said: “The atmosphere has been blown into space. It is too cold and dry for any life now.