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Is NASA looking at hiding stones for clues to martian life? – ScienceDaily

In 2020, NASA and European-Russian missions will look for evidence of past lives on Mars. However, while volcanic rocks dominate on the red planet, almost all of the earth's fossil record comes from sedimentary rocks. Fixing the problem in Boundaries in Earth Science Swedish researchers have started compiling evidence of fossil microbes in under-researched rodent mountain environments on earth, to help find where to look for a fossil record in March – and what should look for. "We propose a" volcanic microfossil atlas "to help select target sites for missions seeking evidence of extraterrestrial life, such as NASA Mars Mission 2020 and ExoMars, lead author Dr. Magnus Ivarsson said. discover which Mars microfossils can look like by identifying biosignatures associated with different types of fossil microbes. " Earth's Deep Biosphere Ivarsson and colleagues study life buried in deep rocks and deep time : fossil remains of mysterious microbes, which have lived up to one kilometer below the deepest sea floor for as much as 3.5 billion years. "" The majority of microorganisms on Earth are believed to exist in the deep biosphere of the sea and continental crust, "reveals "But we are just starting to explore &#821 1; through deep drilling projects – this hidden biosphere." In a watery world that never sees sunbeams, bacteria, fungi and ch other microbes adapted to feed on the snowy stone that surrounds them – or even on each other. They spread through microfractures and cavities that form complex and expanded communities. "At death,…

In 2020, NASA and European-Russian missions will look for evidence of past lives on Mars. However, while volcanic rocks dominate on the red planet, almost all of the earth’s fossil record comes from sedimentary rocks.

Fixing the problem in Boundaries in Earth Science Swedish researchers have started compiling evidence of fossil microbes in under-researched rodent mountain environments on earth, to help find where to look for a fossil record in March – and what should look for.

“We propose a” volcanic microfossil atlas “to help select target sites for missions seeking evidence of extraterrestrial life, such as NASA Mars Mission 2020 and ExoMars, lead author Dr. Magnus Ivarsson said. discover which Mars microfossils can look like by identifying biosignatures associated with different types of fossil microbes. “

Earth’s Deep Biosphere

Ivarsson and colleagues study life buried in deep rocks and deep time : fossil remains of mysterious microbes, which have lived up to one kilometer below the deepest sea floor for as much as 3.5 billion years. “” The majority of microorganisms on Earth are believed to exist in the deep biosphere of the sea and continental crust, “reveals “But we are just starting to explore &#821

1; through deep drilling projects – this hidden biosphere.”

In a watery world that never sees sunbeams, bacteria, fungi and ch other microbes adapted to feed on the snowy stone that surrounds them – or even on each other. They spread through microfractures and cavities that form complex and expanded communities.

“At death, the microbial communities become fossil on the walls of their rocky homes. These microfossils can give a history of microbial life in volcanic rock” 19659003] A volcanic microfossil atlas

Essentially, the Earth’s sea corps is geochemical very similar to the volcanic stones that dominate the Martian landscape.

“Our goal is to be able to use the microfossil record as a model system to control Martian’s exploration,” explains Ivarsson. “Our review of existing knowledge is an important first step, but a more comprehensive understanding of the deep life is needed to show where and what to look for. “

To achieve this, Ivarsson says, we need to collect more data on microfossil appearance and location – but also on their chemical composition.

” These fossils often retain enormous morphological details. For example, we can distinguish broad classes of fungi through spores, fruit bodies, mycelia and other growth states – or by bacteria, through the presence of cauliflower-like formations, generations of biofilms preserved as laminated sheets and other characteristic community structures.

“But analysis of lipids and colic isotopes in microfossils makes it possible to discriminate more precisely Groups based on their metabolism.

” Overall, this information will help identify which types of microorganisms are likely to have been preserved on Mars , and whic h geochemical conditions most favor fossilization. “

A fossil record on Mars

The microphosphillate would therefore also help determine which samples to target for return to earth, given the limited payload of Mars missions.

“Both NASA’s March 2020 and ExoMars missions can detect larger fossil structures from volcanic rocks, such as mineralized fungal mycelia in mm or larger microstromatolites in open vesicles.

“ExoMar’s 8 micrometer / pixel cameras are more likely to identify small functions and individual hyphae in situ on Mars. However, the NASA mission has the ability to collect samples for later investigation on Earth and its 15 micrometer / px cameras may be sufficient Selected samples most likely to contain biosignatures. These cost strategies increase the overall chance of discovering evidence of past lives on Mars, if it exists, Ivarsson concludes. [Source]

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