In some places, the amount of oxygen available, even holding a primitive, multicellular animal like a fungus, they reported in…
In some places, the amount of oxygen available, even holding a primitive, multicellular animal like a fungus, they reported in the journal Nature Geosciences. “We discovered that brine” – water with high concentrations of salt “on Mars can contain enough oxygen for microbes to breathe,” said the principal author Vlada Stamenkovic, a theoretical physicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
“This completely revolutionizes our understanding of life’s potential on Mars, today and earlier,” he told AFP. So far, it has been assumed that the trace amounts of acid on Mars were insufficient to maintain an even microbial life. “We never thought that oxygen could play a role for life on Mars because of its rarity in the atmosphere, about 0.1
4 percent,” said Stamenkovic. In comparison, life-giving gas accounts for 21 percent of the air we breathe.
On Earth, aerobics – ie oxygen breathing – life forms are developed along with photosynthesis that converts CO2 to O2. The gas played an important role in the emergence of complex life, noticeably after the so-called Great Oxygenation Event about 2.35 billion years ago. But our planet also holds microbes – in the bottom of the ocean, in boiling hotsprings – living in environments that lack oxygen. “Therefore, when we thought about life on Mars, we studied the potential of anaerobic life,” Stamenkovic.
– Life on Mars? –
The new study began with the discovery of NASA’s curiosity Mars rover of manganese oxides, which are chemical compounds that can only be produced with a lot of oxygen. Curiosity, along with Mars orbits, also determined the presence of saline, with remarkable variations in the elements that they contained. A high salinity allows water to remain fluid – a necessary condition for acidification – at much lower temperatures, making saline a good place for microbes.
Depending on region, season and time of day, temperatures The Red Planet may vary between minus 195 and 20 degrees Celsius (minus 319 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). The researchers prepared a first model to describe how acid dissolves in saline at temperatures under freezing. A second model calculated climate is changing on Mars in the last 20 million years, and over the next 10 million years.
Overall, the calculations showed which regions on the Red Planet are most likely to produce oxygen-based oxygen, data that can help determine the location of future probes. “Oxygen concentrations [on Mars] are magnitudes” – several hundred times – “greater than needed by aerobic or oxygen-breathing microbes”, concluded the study. “Our results do not mean there’s life on Mars,” Stamenkovic warned. “But they show that the Martian habitat is affected by the potential of dissolved oxygen.”