Life on Mars: Does Yellowstone volcano hold ancient alien microbe secrets? | Science | News


A geology student from the University of Cincinnati has partnered with US space agency for the incredible new study.

Doctoral candidate Andrew Gangidine alongside UC geology professor Andrew Czaja are looking to create a special marker for bacterial life on Mars.

The two scientists are hoping the sulphurous pits of Yellowstone volcano are the key to unlocking the secrets of life in space.

Mr Gangidine said: “We’re trying to answer the question: How rare is life in the universe?”

As part of his research, Gangidine is studying microbial life in the silica hot springs of Yellowstone National Park’s geyser basin.

The various chemicals found throughout the hot springs could contain useful indicators about the elements associated with thriving bacteria life.

But there is no guarantee the supervolcano’s thermal springs will yield any concrete evidence just yet.

Mr Gangidine explained: “We want to remain objective. Some people think there has to be life on Mars.

“Others think there certainly isn’t life on Mars. And either side has a good chance of being correct.

“Both have valid arguments. Which is why if we go there and don’t see anything, it won’t be ‘mission fail’.

GETTY

Life on Mars: Scientists are looking for clues of microbial life in Yellowstone

Scientists on all sides of the argument agree the current conditions on the red planet are too hostile to sustain any form of life.

The barren and lifeless plains of Mars are devoid of a breathable atmosphere, surface water and are scorched with intense radiation.

However some researchers speculate deep beneath the jagged fields of Mars, some microbe life could be thriving among trapped pockets of geothermal water – just like at .

The young researcher presented his study to the Second International Mars Sample Return conference in Berlin, Germany on April 25.

And Mr Gangidine is confident one day scientists might uncover evidence of fossils dating back more than three billion years ago when the Red Planet’s lost its magnetic field and atmosphere.

The researcher further stressed there is already ample evidence life dating more than 3.5 billion years has been found on our home planet.


We’re trying to answer the question: How rare is life in the universe?

Andrew Gangidine, University of Cincinnati


He said: “We can look at life being preserved in these silica deposits today. We have evidence of this happening throughout geologic time.

“What we’re trying to do is catch fossilisation as it happens.

“What happens to the microbes themselves? And what happens to the trace elements we think are associated with them while they’re alive?”

According to the geologist, hot springs make silica deposits which preserve life “really well”.

Life on Mars yellowstone volcano ancient aliensGETTY

Life on Mars: NASA is sending a rover to the Red Planet in 2020

When exposed to the surface, he stressed they do not crystallise or metamorphose, which is ideal for his work.

However the study in the heart of the US national park carries several risks, ranging from wild bears, poisonous volcanic emissions and shifting mud traps.

In fact a Yellowstone tourist tragically died in 2017 after falling into one of the boiling pools dotting the park’s landscape.

Mr Gangidine revealed the area is an incredibly perilous and macabre place to work in.

He said: “These things really can strip the flesh off your bones.

Life on Mars yellowstone volcano ancient aliensGETTY

Life on Mars: Microbes in Yellowstone could show bio-markers for life on Mars

“At the bottom of hot springs we study you see skulls of bison and other animals that were unfortunate enough to wander too close.”

The scientists added: “The ground can really change quickly. When we go into these settings, we have to be very careful.”

In 2020 NASA will launch a remotely controlled rover to the surface of Mars, to one of three potential landing spots.

The rover will give the US space agency the opportunity to look for signs of life and potentially find some bio-signatures in line with Mr Gangidine’s study.

If NASA were to find evidence of such life on the Red Planet, the monumental discovery could be a paradigm shift in the way scientists understand the beginning of life on Earth.

Mr Czaja teased: “Maybe we’re all Martians.”

He added: “If we find it, we can say maybe life is not that rare among planets.

“But if we don’t find life in places that would be the most ideal and best preserved candidates, then maybe life is pretty rare.”



Source link

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

State of emergency declared in Wisconsin after severe thunderstorms leave 2 dead, major damage
Genetically Modified Pigs Resistant to Deadly Disease Are Now a Thing
Very bright daylight fireball explodes over Russia, meteorites possible
93 tons of dead fish wash up on Sakhalin Island, Russia
Hurricane season 2018: Atlantic tropical storm forecast predicts fewer cyclones | Weird | News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *