Catalyst: Mar 2

In this second episode of Catalyst’s Mars special, astrophysicist Professor Tamara Davis and astronomer Greg Quicke explore a question we’ve longed to answer – is there life on Mars?

For as long as we’ve admired the red planet in our skies, we’ve been inspired to imagine what might live there. But even after decades of space exploration, we’ve not found any signs of life. So why do we still think that it could exist there? Tamara and Greg each set out to discover why we believe we can find life on Mars.

While Tamara visits our iconic Great Barrier Reef to see the conditions required for life to exist, Greg journeys to the county’s west, to the rusty red Pilbara desert, a very Martian- looking landscape. The ancient Pilbara has been gaining the attention of scientists for the clues it offers in how life on Earth – and potential life on Mars – might have begun.

As a new generation of spacecraft launch in a renewed effort to find life on Mars, Tamara meets the Australian space mission scientist who helped build NASA’s most capable rover yet. They take a virtual trip to the red planet’s surface, to the site the rover will explore in unprecedented detail, looking for signs of life.

At an ancient crater site near the notorious Nullabor Plain, Greg goes looking for a type of lifeform that’s challenging perceptions about what life requires to exist and Tamara meets an Australian involved in an exciting new discovery of the first body of liquid water ever detected on Mars.

Production credits: Producer: Amy Sherden; Director: Amy Sherden, Anna Jeffries, Lisa Dupenois; Associate Producer: Alice Goodman; Executive Producer: Penny Palmer; Head of Factual and Culture: Jen Collins.

8:30pm Tuesday on ABC.

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