A small, ephemeral lagoon in the Akacama Desert's hypercaridic nucleus. Credit: Carlos González-SilvaWhen the rain fell on the dry Atacama…
A small, ephemeral lagoon in the Akacama Desert’s hypercaridic nucleus. Credit: Carlos González-Silva
When the rain fell on the dry Atacama desert, it was reasonable to expect flower flowers to follow. Instead, the water brought death to death.
An international team of planetary astrobiologists has found that after meeting never before seen rainfall three years ago at the dry core of the Peru Atacama desert, the great rainfall dried most of the microbes that lived there.
When the rain came to Atacama we hoped for majestic flowers and deserts that came to life. Instead, we learned the opposite because we discovered that the rain in the Atacama Desert hypercaridic nucleus caused a massive eradication of most of the native microbial species there, “said co-author Alberto Fairen, Cornell University, visiting the astrobiologist, about new research published in Nature’s Scientific Reports .
“The hyperdried soils before the rain were inhabited by up to 1
6 different ancient microbearters. After it rained, there were only two to four microbears found in the lagoons, says Fairen, who is also a researcher at Centro de Astrobiología, Madrid. “The outburst event was massive.”
The core of Atacama rarely looks, if ever, rain. But thanks to the changing climate of the Pacific Ocean, according to the new essay, that part of the desert experienced rain events on March 25 and August 9, 2015. It rained again on June 7, 2017. Climate models suggest that similar rain events may occur approximately once every century, but there have been no signs of rain in the last 500 years.
A historically rare rainbow in the Atacama desert. Credit: Carlos González-Silva
The precipitation’s precipitation has two consequences for Mars biology.
Great nitrates in the Atacama desert provide proof of long periods of extreme dryness. These nitrate objects are food for microbes, Fairen said.
Nitrates were concentrated at the valley bottom and former lakes about 16 million years ago. “Nitrates are the evidence,” said Fairen. “This can represent an analogue of nitrate deposits recently discovered on Mars by the rover.”
Another implication may be back four decades. With this new knowledge, the scientists believe that science may want to see the Viking experiments on Mars from the 1970s, which meant incubating martic soil samples in aqueous solutions.
“Our results show, for the first time, to suddenly provide large amounts of water to microorganisms – exquisitely adapted to extract lean and dirty moisture from the most hyperdrimsome environments – will kill them from osmotic shock,” says Fairen.
In addition to the Fairen on the paper, “Unprecedented Rains Decimate Surface Microbial Communities”, the Hypertaid core of the Atacama Desert, “Armando Azua-Bustos of Centro de Astrobiología and Carlos González-Silva of the Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica, Chile, was the leading writer. The fair was funded by the European Research Council.
Life in the gloomiest desert of the world is seen as a sign of a potential life on Mars
A. Azua-Bustos et al. Unprecedented rain rains over microbial surfaces in the Austrian core of the Atacama Desert, Scientific Reports (2018). DOI: 10,1038 / s41598-018-35051-w