Is there or has there been life on Mars? Conspiracy theorists say yes and that NASA is covering it up. Often, conspiracy theorists argue that Mars photos (taken by NASA), such as the face on Mars, Pyramids on Mars, and a photo of what appears to be an ape like figure sitting on a rock are proof of a past civilization. While mainstream science debunks these photos as “tricks of light,” they have also admitted that they believe liquid oceans once covered the surface of Mars before its magnetic field disappeared. Did those ancient oceans harbor life?

NASA’s Opportunity rover, one of NASA’s twin Mars Exploration Rovers, reached the Red Planet Jan. 24, 2004 (PST), and has continued to transmit valuable scientific data. It landed three weeks after its twin, named Spirit. Both rovers made important discoveries that suggests a wet environment may have once existed on Mars, and that environment could have supported microbial life on ancient Mars. Spirit stopped communicating in 2010, but Opportunity continues to communicate with Earth.

According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “NASA will reflect on the rover’s work in a news conference at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014.

The event will originate from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and be carried live on NASA Television and streamed online.

Participants will be: — Michael Meyer, lead scientist, Mars Exploration Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington — Ray Arvidson, Mars Exploration Rovers deputy principal investigator, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. — John Callas, Mars Exploration Rovers project manager, JPL — Steve Squyres, Mars Exploration Rovers principal investigator, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.”

Will we get an irrefutable answer to the question of life on Mars? Let’s tune in on the news conference and find out.

Sources: NASA JPL Website: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-018

Image: Wikimedia Commons - Small part of the Cydonia region, taken by the Viking orbiter and released by NASA/JPLon July 25, 1976