Charles Shults says NASA images show life on Mars.
Winnsboro, SC (WLTX) -- Charles Shults says there's life on Mars, and he's got the pictures he says proves it.
NASA announced the discovery of water on Mars in 2006, but Shults came to that conclusion in 2004.
"The date I was first certain was February 15, 2004," Shults says.
Using the Freedom of information Act, Shults obtained more than 200,000 Mars images from NASA. After thousands of hours of reviewing the images, Shults came to a startling conclusion to some: not only is there water on Mars, but there are fossils too.
"Many of the things I've seen look clearly like the recent erosion, or presence of water on the surface, and many of the images show what appear to be fossil organisms, marine fossils," Shults says. "Right now, the planet has extremely thin air, very tough living conditions, but it is wet on the surface in many areas, and it is covered with fossil remains from marine organisms."
"Some of the fossils we found are seashells, and very clearly, they are identical to what we find on Earth," he says. "There's an absolute identical appearance to both of them."
Shults's research has the potential to change the way people think about the universe. He's written numerous articles and books on the subject. The latest is "A Fossil Hunter's Guide to Mars."
Despite his research, NASA doesn't seem too interested. When asked how NASA reacted to his work, Shults said, 'actually, they've ignored it. In the beginning, when I started posting a lot of my information and sending it to them as well, there was some interest and my website. I had hits from Mars researchers, NASA, and other government agencies. But over time, the hits died off, and there was no response. So they've pretty much ignored me."
NASA Director Charles Bolden won't speculate on the potential for water or fossils on Mars. He's hoping that for next rover mission, "Curiosity," will answer those questions. It takes off this November, and the first data is expected by the fall of 2012.
"We expect to make discoveries with Curiosity," Bolden says. "I don't want to set great expectations. What we find will be different than what we found before. It will look for any signs of microbial life. It's incredible what it's going to do."
NASA scientist Phil Christensen has been researching Mars for years. When asked about fossils on Mars, he said, "It's certainly not out of the question. It's just not clear if we've discovered such things yet." He added, "NASA's goal, our long term goal, is to land on Mars, collect rocks and bring them back to Earth so that we can examine them here under a microscope. We want to look for any evidence of fossils or any other evidence of ancient life on Mars. I'm very confident that the rover will make discoveries that will change our thinking. Again, every time we look, we find an interesting place. There were clearly environments on Mars billions of years ago very much like the Earth, and it's very possible that life may have started there. That would be a fantastic discovery and that could be coming in the next year or so."
Shults says, "I think they've been ready with this for a long time. The first researchers on the rover team included a marine biologist who was looking at the images, which is very telling in its own right.
"Russia and China are sending missions to Mars very shortly and we don't want to admit that the Russians or the Chinese discovered alien life before an American space agency did," said Shults.
Shults believes disclosure will happen next year, once the rover sends images back to Earth. It's something he says could've happened sooner, but didn't, because of religious beliefs. Shults says "many people allow their beliefs to dominate, regardless of the facts. And it's not a stab at religion. It's just a presentation of the facts. People who have faith find a way to live with the facts."
When asked if life still exist on Mars today, Shults said, "I do believe so. Nothing we know of would have sterilized the whole planet. Fungus, spores and bacteria could very easily be in the soil today".