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Simply put: Given the current state of Mars, how plausible is it that any intelligent life would be several miles below ground?

I do not have any other requirements for such a race, I'm just asking about the possibility to find something there that would be able to communicate with us.

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  • $\begingroup$ In short: It would be possible for aliens to have moved in and built a home deep beneath the surface of Mars, utilizing geothermal and/or nuclear power for life support. It is unlikely that something intelligent had time to evolve before Mars became inhospitable. Neither of these scenarios sees particularly plausible to me, but they are both possible. $\endgroup$ – Jason Patterson Jan 26 '15 at 13:42
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    $\begingroup$ Mars became uninhabitable billions of years ago - sustaining a sealed biome for that length of time would be unfeasible. It's possible for non-native aliens - more recently - to have built a home but any civilisation capable of reaching Mars would be adept at living in space, which logistically makes more sense. $\endgroup$ – Scott Downey Jan 26 '15 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ @ScottDowney If they had the technology to build and maintain a sealed underground biome for any lenght of time they would be able to rebuild and repopulate any failed sections. So I don't think the time is of importance in that sense, but thinking of a civilization that has a billion year of history and tradition, starting at a tech level higher than what we have now, is kind of mind boggling. I doubt their culture would resemble whatever they had before going underground. Maybe they would be so conservative that it would never even occur them to move to another planet? $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Jan 26 '15 at 18:36
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I would say that I find it unlikely that there is enough energy underground to provide enough to sustain advanced life forms. And by that I would include rodents. There would have to be a terrarium kind of environment. Even here on earth living cave systems breath air to keep Oxygen moving, have fresh water sources flowing through etc. Mines without proper ventilation kill swiftly.

So for a natural system everything would have to be very well balanced to keep any reasonable level of life going. There also would likely be some kind of marks on the ground like gofer mounds where the 'living' spaces where dug out.

However, having said that, I think it is possible (though not terribly likely) that an evolved race could have dug down after it became a problem of the atmosphere departing. They would have to be fairly advanced to have an entire society living below ground, keeping fed etc. I would guess if such a thing where true, most would be somewhat close to Olympus Mons, for the geothermal energy that could be available.

It would be a useful place to have a science station to observe life on earth. I would also think that if the race was advanced enough to recognize the issues facing it of a depleting atmosphere and create a subterranean living conditions to last eons, then I would think it likely that it could try and colonize one of the close planets such as Earth...

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  • $\begingroup$ Agreed, this situation (mentioned in OP) is not at all likely, but I find it perfectly plausible for the sake of story telling. $\endgroup$ – James Jan 26 '15 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ @James That's what I was trying to get across, likely? No, possible for a cool story, Yes. If done well. $\endgroup$ – bowlturner Jan 26 '15 at 16:05

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