Atacama Desert Microbes Points To Life On Mars

Posted: Feb 27 2018, 7:38am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Atacama Desert Microbes Points to Life on Mars
This is the sampling site Lomas Bayas in the core region of the Atacama. Photo Credit: Dirk Schulze-Makuch, TU Berlin
  • Atacama Desert Microorganisms Analysis Points to Possible Life on Mars

Survival of Life in Adverse Circumstances shows Mars may Harbor Life Forms

The center of the Atacama Desert in South America is a dry and dusty place. Mostly it rains just once annually or even once in a decade. The yearly precipitation when it does occur is normally just 20 mm.

This causes a high degree of salt in the soil along with little to no organic matter. Yet despite these inhospitable conditions, there are microorganisms and bacteria present in the environment. What remains unclear is whether these microbes were native to the desert or just wind-blown bits and pieces of life.

What is clear is that even in the most arid of areas of the Atacama Desert, there are present such microbes and they flourished at the first sign of rain (no matter how little).

The research has many profound implications, one of which is that if life could survive such a dry and stunted milieu, than why can’t it survive on Mars. Soil samples from the Atacama Desert were collected by scientists.

Several tests were conducted in the lab on these samples by the researchers. The soil habitat and methods of molecular biology were used to analyze the soil samples thoroughly and consistently.

The DNA in the matter shows that the life forms are metabolically active. These bacteria do not die off easily. They are tough and hardy. Such findings are very important since they point to human ignorance regarding life on other planets especially Mars.

The only problem is that on Mars there is a lot of radiation hitting its surface. Such conditions do not exist on earth which of course has an atmosphere. Scientists are looking into the matter and may come up with some surprising evidence of the fact that no matter what “life finds a way”.

These new finding got published in the scientific journal PNAS.

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