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Can life on Mars fool deeply underground?

WASHINGTON &#821 1; In order to find life on Mars, researchers may need to provide exploration of the surface and "go deep." Usually, Mars quests are searching for signs of life on the surface of the planet, in places where there are signs of old water (a reliable indicator of where life is on earth). But when no life has yet appeared on Mars, there may be an abundance of microbial martians who gather underground, according to a research presented on December 11 at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Annual General Meeting. In recent decades, earthquake investigations have revealed the so-called deep biosphere – an underground environment that is consistent with microorganisms. And scientists suspect that a similarly rich biological zone can flourish under Mars's surface. [Mars-like Places on Earth] In fact, there may not be evolutionary pressure to live on Mars everywhere, said Joseph Michalski, lecturer with the Department of Geosciences at the University of Hong Kong, at the presentation. The hope that life evolved on the Mars surface can reflect a bias created by what we know about life on our home planet, said Michalski. Many years ago, when the planets in our solar system were young, Mars was probably quite similar to the Earth's rocky neighbor. It changed when Mars lost its magnetic field, which exposed it to intense radiation bombing that would have made survival over the ground extremely challenging, told Michalski for Live Science. However, it is possible that life already "made" on Mars before…

WASHINGTON &#821

1; In order to find life on Mars, researchers may need to provide exploration of the surface and “go deep.”

Usually, Mars quests are searching for signs of life on the surface of the planet, in places where there are signs of old water (a reliable indicator of where life is on earth). But when no life has yet appeared on Mars, there may be an abundance of microbial martians who gather underground, according to a research presented on December 11 at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Annual General Meeting.

In recent decades, earthquake investigations have revealed the so-called deep biosphere – an underground environment that is consistent with microorganisms. And scientists suspect that a similarly rich biological zone can flourish under Mars’s surface. [Mars-like Places on Earth]

In fact, there may not be evolutionary pressure to live on Mars everywhere, said Joseph Michalski, lecturer with the Department of Geosciences at the University of Hong Kong, at the presentation. The hope that life evolved on the Mars surface can reflect a bias created by what we know about life on our home planet, said Michalski.

Many years ago, when the planets in our solar system were young, Mars was probably quite similar to the Earth’s rocky neighbor. It changed when Mars lost its magnetic field, which exposed it to intense radiation bombing that would have made survival over the ground extremely challenging, told Michalski for Live Science.

However, it is possible that life already “made” on Mars before it happened. Scientists believe that life first occurred on Earth about 3.8 billion to 3.9 billion years ago, when conditions in some places resembled today’s hydrothermal environments – much like Mars at the time. Perhaps life occurred on Mars as it took shape on earth, but adapted exclusively to life underground, said Michalski.

“Life could have occurred in these hydrothermal settings and survived in the underground for quite some time,” he said.

And if the deep biosphere of the earth is an indication, the underground martian microbial societies can be exceptionally rich and versatile. Earth’s deep biosphere was first discovered about 30 years ago, and estimates have since suggested that the deep microorganisms make up almost half of all life on the planet, told Michalski for Live Science.

Microbes in the deep biosphere of the earth play a role in burying coal that would otherwise become a greenhouse gas, linked to deep energy resources “and are important for understanding the origin and development of life,” said Michalski.

“We are at a point now where there really is a limit to understanding what deep biosphere really means on earth, and how it relates to exoplanets and other planets in our solar system, he said.” There is a window in our own origin. “

Mars underground is a particularly promising place to start looking for extraterrestrial microbes because it is” even more habitable “for microorganisms than the deep biosphere of the earth. Subsurface rock on Mars is more porous than on earth – creates pockets for nutrients and gas exchange – and Mars’s cooler kernel (even though it is melted) gives a more hospitable temperature for microbes living in deep rock, added Michalski.

“We could have single-celled organisms that can be dormant for long time but can survive by metabolizing hydrogen, methane, possibly sulfur, “Michalski told Live Science.” Without being too specific, we think there are many possibilities. “

Original art icon for Live Science .

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