Life On Mars Exists, Study Of Fossils From Hydrothermal Vents And Hot Springs Suggests

First Posted: Dec 10, 2016 03:10 AM EST

The curiosity of men on the possibility of occurrence of aliens and extraterrestrial life forms in planets like Mars and Europa is not a new thing. Scientists and apace explorers have been working relentlessly to find answers to this conspicuous question. The increasing number of UFO sightings in the recent time contributes to the belief that aliens do exist. Now scientists are trying to predict alien life forms by analyzing living and fossilized organisms in harsh inhabitable conditions on Earth.

Hydrothermal vents and hot springs were considered inhabitable for many years till scientists discovered that these places are full of life forms that can survive in extreme temperatures and in the absence of oxygen. Experts suggest that studying such extremophilic organisms may help in understanding the variety of life forms that may be present on other planets, reported Astronomy.

According to Jack Farmer, Professor of Geobiology, Arizona State University, and a participating scientist in the Mars Exploration Rover Mission, "Research that expands our knowledge of the environmental limits of life is indispensable as a strategic element of astrobiological exploration."

Andrew Czaja, Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati, along with his team recently discovered fossilized sulfur oxidizing bacteria in the North Cape province of South Africa. The fossils dated back to the Archeon eon, when the Earth was devoid of oxygen. The findings were published in the Geology journal.

Czaja said that, "These are some of the largest fossil cells ever found in the Archean Eon," and "Only a couple of other examples of deep marine fossil microorganisms have been reported from any time in the geologic record."

According to Czaja, extremophilic research gives confidence to explorers that life is even possible in extreme conditions with just a liquid medium and a source of energy. He optimistically hinted on the occurrence of life on Mars and said that, "Every time we find evidence of life in a new type of environment on Earth, we increase our confidence in finding life on another planet."

Farmer supported the study and said that, "When paleontologists go to South Africa and explore for an Archean fossil record, they are essentially going to another planet-the early Earth."

These findings are timely, as NASA prepares its mission strategy for sending Mars rover in 2020. These rovers will specifically search for biosignatures of life in specific regions of the planet Mars.

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