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Alien life on Mars could be possible: Bacteria discovered in world’s driest desert raises new hope

An extremely rare rain shower triggered an explosion of biological activity in the desert.

Microbes found living in the Atacama desert have raised hopes of discovering life on Mars.

Video is at the end of the article.

A freak shower in the world’s driest desert has surprised scientists by waking up sleeping microbes – raising the hope that there could be life on Mars.

The US team discovered incredibly hardy bacteria that can lie dormant in the soil for decades without a hint of water.

But when it unexpectedly rained in their habitat, the most arid corner of South America’s Atacama desert, they bounced back into life.

Planetary scientist Dr Dirk Schulze-Makuch, from Washington State University, said:

“It has always fascinated me to go to the places where people don’t think anything could possibly survive and discover that life has somehow found a way to make it work.

The discovery has brought new hope of life on the red planet.

“Jurassic Park references aside, our research tell us that if life can persist in Earth’s driest environment there is a good chance it could be hanging in there on Mars in a similar fashion.”

The researchers took soil samples from six different locations in the Atacama desert between 2015 and 2017.

Microbes had been found in the desert before, but it was not clear if they were original residents or dying vestiges of life blown in by the wind.

The answer came after an extremely rare rain shower triggered an explosion of biological activity.

The desert has similar conditions to the surface of Mars.
Genetic tests revealed several indigenous species of bacteria that had adapted to live in the harsh environment.

A return trip to the Atacama in 2016 and 2017 revealed that the same bugs were gradually reverting to a dormant state as the soil around them dried up.

Dr Schulze-Makuch said: “In the past researchers have found dying organisms near the surface and remnants of DNA but this is really the first time that anyone has been able to identify a persistent form of life living in the soil of the Atacama desert.

“We believe these microbial communities can lay dormant for hundreds or even thousands of years in conditions very similar to what you would find on a planet like Mars and then come back to life when it rains.”

Billions of years ago Mars had oceans and lakes where early life forms may have thrived. As the planet dried up and grew colder, the Martian bugs could have survived in much the same way as their Atacama counterparts, the scientists believe.

“If life ever evolved on Mars, our research suggests it could have found a sub-surface niche beneath today’s severely hyper-arid surface,” Dr Schulze-Makuch added.

A European rover due to land on Mars in 2021 as part of the ExoMars mission will drill two metres into the soil to look for signs of life.

The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Space

Asteroid explodes on Earth and came from beyond Mars

Courtesy: Twitter / @pgbrown

An asteroid coming from beyond Mars, specifically the asteroid belt, it exploded on Earth recently.

According to its flight path, it was estimated that the space rock came from the asteroid belt in our solar system, and that it is located beyond Mars.

Astronomer Peter Brown published a status on Twitter explaining that the asteroid came from the asteroid belt. In addition, he commented that the rock had approximately 10 kilograms and the size of a softball.

Brown also explained that the rock was moving at a speed of approximately 15 kilometers per second, and produced a slightly lower brightness than the full moon.

The remains of the asteroid provided an impressive light show in the sky, to finally impact the lake huron, located between the USA and Canada

The incident that occurred on Mars on January 21 at night was corroborated by numerous witnesses who claimed to have witnessed a large ball of fire through the sky.

So far no damage has been reported to buildings or people affected due to the impact of the asteroid.

In 2013, a large meteorite entered the Earth’s atmosphere and exploded, causing damage and several injuries in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.

Source: RT

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Mars water may have been excellent for life

Mars water appears to have been an especially good element for life, according to a new study.

Mars water may have been excellent for life
An illustration of what Mars would look like without and with water. PHOTO: JAMES MOORE

Mars is one of the most likely homes for alien life in our solar system, and water is believed to be an essential requirement for life, as we know it, to be maintained.

Previous studies have suggested that the red planet would have once been home to flowing water lakes, which could have harbored life.

But there is still no evidence to suggest that alien life lived on the planet – or that there is still some evidence of it.

In an attempt to understand what Mars would look like in ancient times and whether it was inhabited, scientists sought to understand the chemistry of water that would be found on the planet billions of years ago.

They did so by looking at the materials left on that planet today, which could offer a clue to what it was like before.

Recent measurements taken by the probe jeep Curiosity from NASA on the Martian surface suggest that the water that once covered its surface could have the right ingredients to support any microbial life that would have formed on the planet.

The new study looked at sediments that appeared to have been left in lakes in the Gale de Mars Crater. He found that they appeared to form in the presence of liquid water with a pH similar to that of Earth’s oceans.

This suggests that the initial surface of Mars would have been the kind of place that could have served as a home for life, like Earth.

An article detailing the discovery, entitled ‘Semiarid climate and hyposaline lake on early Mars inferred from reconstructed water chemistry at Gale‘(‘ Semi-arid climate and hyposaline lake in early Mars inferred from reconstructed water chemistry in Gale ’), was published in Nature Communications.

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Some potentially inhabited worlds may not have “zones of life”

An artistic representation of a tidal trapped potentially inhabited exoplanet, with the open ocean of liquid water surrounded by a global ice shell covering the rest of the extra-solar world on the day side.

They may be completely covered in ice and their oceans do not receive starlight.

Some of the potentially inhabited exoplanets orbiting red dwarfs may be completely covered in ice and not have open surface oceans of liquid water even on the side facing the star, which, under certain conditions, makes them unsuitable for life, scientists say in a study presented in Nature Astronomy.

planet

“Perhaps some of the tidal traps of extrasolar worlds that were previously considered potentially inhabitable are frozen snowballs and have no open areas with liquid water. As a result, the starlight necessary for photosynthetic organisms does not reach the ocean, sealed under a global ice shell, which greatly limits the chances of the development and prosperity of life, ”says Jun Yan, lead author of the study from Peking University (China).

Potentially inhabited tidal rocky extra-solar worlds in red dwarf systems, especially the Proxima b, TRAPPIST-1e, and LHS 1140b, which are especially close to us, are the main goals for future studies of exoplanetary atmospheres, which can provide clues about their ability to support life.

planet

Current models predict that if such a planet contains a vast surface ocean, then on its warmer day side there should be an ice-free area, locked on all sides by a global ice shell. However, as noted by Jun Yan, previous simulations did not fully take into account the important component of the climate system – ice dynamics – which did not allow revealing the issue of ocean resilience to global glaciation.

“In our work, we show that ice drifting from the night side of the exoplanet flows into an open area, gradually cooling, reducing, and ultimately completely sealing it.

It should be noted that such a scenario is applicable only to worlds living in the outer and, possibly, in the middle regions of the inhabited zone, but not to those located at its inner edge, since for them the flux of stellar radiation is high enough to melt ice and snow on the surface and maintain liquid water on the day and even night sides. In addition, the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere plays a small role, since a large number of them will save the exoplanet from turning into a snowball, ”Jun Yan explained.

But, in spite of the fact that planets completely covered with ice are extremely inhospitable for life, one should not put an end to their potential for habitability, because the Earth itself in the past twice experienced periods of global glaciation: 2.2 billion years ago and 630 million years ago.

“For example, photosynthetic organisms can develop in areas with thin ice, where stellar radiation nevertheless reaches liquid water, or in local unsealed areas where active geothermal processes occur, or, finally, in some“ bays, ”where access to drifting ice is limited.” – concluded Jun Yan.

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