NASA explorers have discovered evidence of boron – a chemical element and key ingredient for life – on the red planet.

Patrick Gasda, a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said: “Because borates may play an important role in making RNA – one of the building blocks of life – finding boron on Mars further opens the possibility that life could have once arisen on the planet.

“Borates are one possible bridge from simple organic molecules to RNA. Without RNA, you have no life.

“This tells us that the conditions from which life could have potentially grown may have existed on ancient Mars”, Experts say.

“The presence of boron tells us that, if organics were present on Mars, these chemical reactions could have occurred.

“We detected borates in a crater on Mars that’s 3.8 billion years old, younger than the likely formation of life on Earth.

“Essentially, this tells us that the conditions from which life could have potentially grown may have existed on ancient Mars, independent from Earth.”

A Mars 2020 rover is set to search the planet for signs of past life in its environment.