Microbes never seen before could help us understand a great mystery


Microbes never seen before could help us understand a great mystery
Written by aquitodovale

As writer Greg Bear liked to remember, billions of dollars per hour microbes they are born, they die and they count for nothing. However, there are some destined to be remembered forever. These are very small living beings found in the North Poleto be precise in the lowest depths of permafrost, the layer of ice that never melts.

Their job may be to provide new information on the life on Mars.
It is now certain that man will go to the red planet sooner than one can imagine, but we must go prepared and learn more about any forms that may have populated this soil. Microbes will therefore be fundamental from this point of view, but how?

The specimens in question are found near Lost Hammer Spring, a territory that is part of Canada and in the Arctic Circle. We are talking about one of the coldest and saltiest waters on Earth, with the salt itself acting as an antifreeze, otherwise the water would not remain liquid at such low temperatures. Furthermore, there is a lack of oxygen and this characteristic makes the place very similar to Mars, a planet that has saline deposits (residues of ancient water). Scientists recently stumbled upon microbes, a life form almost unexpected for the extreme conditions of Lost Hammer Spring.

Any forms of life

Local researchers sequenced the genomes of these microbes and other organisms, uncovering valuable clues about what life might have been like in a harsh environment like that of Mars. One of the main research that has concerned the red planet is that on water, consequently it is understood how useful these innovations are to get to the head of the mystery of any forms of life. However, it was not an easy job, as it took several years to ascertain the presence of active microbial communities. How did these living beings survive?

The “surprises” of permafrost

The microbes we are talking about are anaerobic, so they don’t need oxygen to breathe. For their metabolism, however, they must find methane and inorganic compounds, in particular carbon dioxide and sulphide (all present on Mars). The permafrost that has once again turned the spotlight on one of the main Martian mysteries has the particularity of continuously emitting gases that incorporate methane. This is a fundamental detail according to experts, given that it could be yet another clue to the formation of methane plumes that have seen the red planet as the protagonist.

Researchers were literally surprised by the microbes of the Arctic Circle. Unlike other similar organisms, in fact, they do not need organic material and oxygen to continue living. That’s enough for them storing nitrogen from the atmosphere, which makes them suitable for survival in very extreme environments, not just on Earth. Among the Martian areas in which there could be life is the Jezero crater, the one chosen by NASA for its mission and which in the future is destined to reserve new surprises, even if it is still too early to be unbalanced from this point of view.


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