During the examination of the opaline silica mineral located inside Mars' Gusev crater by NASA's Spirit rover in 2008, the rover spotted strange "cauliflower" patterns that may be the latest clues of ancient life on the red planet, according to the Daily Mail. Although at first scientists thought that the mysterious formations were the result of acidic geothermal processes, a 2011 study found that the area was likely alkaline or neutral, rendering this hypothesis invalid, according to Popular Science.

Now, although scientists are still not certain what created the unique formations, some are claiming that the answer may have been microbes, similar to the way that the Earth's ancient microbes have shaped its current landscape.

 For example, in El Tatio, a region of Chile's Atacama desert, the landscape possesses similar cauliflower formations; other areas with similar patterns include Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and the Taupo Volcanic Zone in New Zealand.

"I don't think there is any way around using modern Earth analogs to test where martian microbes may be found," Kurt Konhauser of the University of Alberta told Smithsonian.

Despite these exciting possibilities, the formations are millions of miles away, and accurate biological examination will be hard to achieve. Although these mysterious growths may be from ancient alien life, further investigation is necessary to uncover the answer to the numerous questions, surrounding their formation.