While recreating temperature and pressure conditions on the planet, scientists from Australian National University discovered that three per cent of Mars would be able to sustain organisms akin to some of those found on earth. This three per cent though was mostly under the planet’s surface.

Charley Lineweaver, leader of the experiment, told AFP: “What we tried to do was take almost all of the information we could and put it together and say ‘is the big picture consistent with there being life on Mars?’

“And the answer is yes… there are large regions of Mars that are compatible with terrestrial life.”

For some time it has been argued that Mars could support life after frozen water was discovered at its poles. The -65C temperature on the planet’s surface prohibits any life from existing, however the warmth, and increased pressure, found underground could support life such as “earth-like microbes”.

“It’s not important if you want to figure out what the laws of physics are and you want to talk to some intelligent aliens who could build spaceships,” Lineweaver added.

“If you are interested in the origin of life and how likely life is to get started on other planets, that is what is relevant here.”