Life on Mars may be hiding deep underground


Almost every month the press writes about the adventures of the Mars rover Kyuriositi, which is water-bearing minerals in rocks and other clues that might indirectly confirm the existence of life on Mars in the distant past. But from the point of view of direct evidence of Martian rover stay only scratched the surface of the Red Planet.

This was stated by geochemist Jan Amend University of Southern California. Amend spoke at Space Telescope Science Insititute in Baltimore on April 5.

Drill Kyuriositi penetrated at best only a few centimeters into the bark of Mars. Amend believes that the life of the Red Planet is hidden deep under the bark of a mile or more from the dead orange surface. Even if the ancient rivers and lakes on Mars evaporated, it is likely that, in the bowels of the planet is a significant amount of water in liquid or frozen form.

In the laboratory, microbiological Amenda studied chemistry ocean hydrothermal vents. Recently, NASA has funded his team to astrobiological experiments to search for life deep in the bowels of the earth, to better explore the possibilities of such a search on our neighboring planets and moons. After all, under the crust of the ocean, it turns out, life is literally boils and pleases its diversity.

The project also will involve scientists from Caltech, JPL, Japan Agency for researchers Earth Science and Technology, as well as a number of other U.S. agencies.

It is believed that one third of the biomass carbon is locked beneath the earth's crust. The team will have to go down much lower than the sediments at the bottom of Earth's oceans in porous rocks to find life. Location — the bottom center of the Atlantic Ocean — is more than two and a half miles below the surface of the water. A "Martian" conditions require immersion in mine half a mile deep, such as in Death Valley in California.

The region under the deserts of the Earth is almost as alien as Mars — but much more affordable. Absolutely not know how many Lifeform hidden in darkness beneath the rocky surface under conditions of high pressure and low-nutrient environment.

"We are faced with the biology of the border in search of new organisms" — says Amend.

The idea of an underground biosphere was widely covered in the novel by Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in 1864. Perhaps, after being inspired by Charles Darwin, Verne described how his geologists have found prehistoric life forms deep beneath the earth. Now the underground life on our planet will help scientists find life on other worlds.

Over the next five years Amend launch two-meter torpedo-shaped probe called SEAL the well in the trunk of mine. His task will be to search for any organisms that live deep underground. They are known to have been called "vnutrizemnye."

New life-detection technology developed by researchers deep biosphere, may be precursors of what will be sent to the Moon and planets of tomorrow. They include a miniature ultraviolet microscope to detect the fluorescent creatures.

The probes will be looking for germs to collect data for analysis and try to grow them in place (as it was in the experiment Viking Mars in 1976). Other samples will be sent to the laboratory for analysis. The ultimate goal of research — to find out as much as possible about the range of conditions in which life can evolve.

Among the microorganisms found in these studies, there is a "firmikuty» (firmicutes), spore-forming bacteria that can survive in extreme conditions. But the most curious of all is the microbe desulforudis audaxviator, who lives nearly five hundred kilometers depth. This organism — one of the few that can survive without sunlight, oxygen and organic compounds. Millions of years he lived, thanks to chemical food sources that are derived from the radioactive decay.

"In this organism always has everything he needs," — said Amend. — "It splits water into hydrogen and oxygen for metabolism."

This bacterium is one such at this depth. Its DNA by 99% is represented by one kind. It looks like on Mars, it will feel like home.

But to get to the deep-sea inhabitants on Mars, you need to deliver the rig to the Red Planet. Maybe in the future it will be the main purpose of manned missions to Mars.

On the other hand, if people never will establish space tourism may once muscular robot with artificial intelligence will bring a rig on Mars, collect it and be myself researcher and team.

Another complication is that the drill on Mars will not be able to overcome the pressure of the dirt, water or gas to clear themselves from the debris. Engineers will have to develop new methods of clean drilling. Martian drill need an effective method of preserving open wells without the use of heavy steel materials.

As an alternative method, put forward the creation of a number of robots that will bite into the rock, crushing it.

In 2007, NASA discovered what appeared to be entrances to underground caves on Mars. They are located on the slopes of the volcano Arsia Mons, which is 30 times more Hawaiian Mauna Loa, the largest volcano on Earth. These rolled into the maze of burrows may open the door to the underground voids. And if Verne lived in the 21st century, he would have the opportunity to write a sequel to his novel called "Journey to the center of Mars."

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