To seek out life on Mars, scientists might have to leave floor exploration and “go deep.” Usually, Mars missions trying to find indicators of life on the planet’s floor, at websites the place there are indicators of water (a reliable indicator of where life is discovered on Earth). However, whereas no life has turned up but on Mars’ floor, there could also be an abundance of microbial Martians congregating underground, in keeping with the analysis offered Dec. 11 in the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).
In current a long time, explorations underground on Earth have revealed the so-known as deep biosphere — a subsurface setting teeming with microorganisms. And scientists suspect that an equally biologically-wealthy zone could also be thriving below Mars’ floor, too.
Nonetheless, it is attainable that life was already “cooking” on Mars earlier than that occurred. Scientists suppose life first appeared on Earth about 3.8 billion to three.9 billion years in the past when circumstances in some spots possible resembled in the present day’s hydrothermal environments — very like Mars on time. Maybe, life arose on Mars on the identical time that it was taking form on Earth, however, tailored entirely to living underground, Michalski mentioned.
“Life may have emerged in these hydrothermal settings and survived within the subsurface for fairly a very long time,” he stated.
And if Earth’s deep biosphere is any indication, the underground Martian microbial communities might be exceptionally wealthy and various. Earth’s deep biosphere was first found solely about 30 years in the past, and estimates since then have urged that these deep-dwelling microorganisms make up almost half of all life on the planet, Michalski instructed.
Following him, Mars’ subsurface is a particularly promising place to start out searching for extra-terrestrial microbes as a result of it is “much more liveable” for microorganisms than Earth’s deep biosphere. Subsurface rock on Mars is extra porous than on Earth — creating pockets for vitamins and gasoline alternate — and Mars’ cooler core (although nonetheless molten) offers an extra hospitable temperature for microbes dwelling in deep rock