Scientists have discovered traces of fatty acids – key constructing blocks of organic cells – in acidic streams within the UK, which they are saying trace that life could as soon as have existed on Mars. The researchers from Imperial College London within the UK concluded that there might be almost 12,000 Olympic sized swimming pools of natural matter on Mars that might characterize traces of previous life. “Mars harboured water billions of years ago, meaning some form of life might have thrived there,” mentioned Mark Sephton, Head of Imperial’s Department of Earth Science & Engineering.
“If life existed before the water dried up, it would probably have left remains that are preserved to this day in martian rock,” mentioned Sephton. Dorset within the UK is residence to extremely acidic sulphur streams that host micro organism which thrive in excessive situations. One such atmosphere, in St Oswald’s Bay, mimics the situations on Mars billions of years in the past, researchers mentioned. They handled the panorama as a template for Mars and examined the natural matter preserved in rock deposits close by.
The iron-rich mineral goethite transforms to hematite which is quite common on Mars and provides the planet its crimson color. If these iron-rich minerals harbour traces of life on Earth, then they could maintain clues to previous microbial life on the crimson planet. The examine, revealed within the journal Scientific Reports, discovered that goethite in St Oswald’s Bay hosted many microbes in addition to traces of their fossilised natural stays.
The researchers utilized these outcomes to a martian atmosphere. Based on how a lot rock is from acid environments on Mars, and assuming the focus of fatty acids present in martian sediments matches that of Earth, there is likely to be as much as 2.86 1010 kg of fatty acids preserved inside martian rock -equivalent to almost 12,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. Previous missions to seek out traces of life have used warmth to examine rock for the presence of natural matter.
Scientists suspect the warmth might need triggered minerals to react with any natural matter, explaining why we’ve not but discovered traces of life. However, heating goethite or hematite doesn’t destroy any natural matter that’s there, which means these minerals might be good life-search targets. “We have yet to find convincing traces of organic matter that would indicate previous life on the red planet,” Sephton mentioned.