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Mars rover ‘takes photos of mushrooms growing on surface of Red Planet’

New photographs of 'Martian mushrooms' have left some scientists convinced that there is life on the Red Planet.

A new study published in the Journal of Astrobiology builds upon 15 images captured by NASA's Curiosity Rover.

As part of its two-year mission, Curiosity trained its camera on what appears to be algae, lichen and mushrooms.

The photos seem to show the potential life forms growing larger and emerging from the red sands of Mars.

Dr Regina Dass, a microbiologist from Pondicherry University in India, argued that no known, non-living force could have produced the apparent growths.

She told the Express: "There are no geological or other abiogenic forces on Earth which can produce sedimentary structures, by the hundreds, which have mushroom shapes, stems, stalks and shed what looks like spores on the surrounding surface.

“In fact, 15 specimens were photographed by NASA growing out of the ground in just three days."

NASA is yet to comment on the research, but the majority of experts involved in the peer-review process agree with the mushroom hypothesis.

It has long been thought that the surface of Mars was uninhabitable.

However, it may be that conditions are better below the surface.

While extra-terrestrial spotters may be enthused by the new study, the evidence proved so controversial the Journal of Astrobiology and Space Science Reviews subjected the article to extensive peer review.

Six independent scientists and eight senior editors scrutinised the report.

Three rejected the evidence and eleven recommended publication, after certain revisions.

The journal's official position is: "Evidence is not proof and there is no proof of life on Mars.

"Abiogenic explanations for this evidence can't be ruled out."

Other scientists have argued the specimens are not algae, lichen or mushrooms, but hematite, a form of iron oxide.

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