They reveal that ‘ancient’ Mars may have been teeming with subterranean microbes

The “Old Mars” It could have an environment capable of hosting an underground world teeming with microscopic organismsFrench scientists reported on Monday. If they existed, these simple life forms would have altered the atmosphere to such an extent that they produced the Martian ice that caused their extinction, experts conclude.

the findings They present a bleak picture of the ways the universe works. The study’s lead author noted that life – even in its simplest form as microbes – “can routinely cause its own demise”. Boris Souteri. The results “are bleak, but I think they are very encouraging as well. They challenge us to rethink the way the planet interacts,” he noted.

In a research published in the journal natural astronomySotiri and his team noticed this Weather and terrain models were used to assess the habitability of Mars’ crust about 4 billion years agowhen it was believed that the red planet is full of water.

11/27/2020 Planet Mars EUROPE SPAIN CSIC SOCIETY

They thought microbes consume hydrogen and produce methane They might have thrived below the surface at that time, covered with a few dozen centimeters of soil, more than enough to protect them from the harsh radiation. The study leader said that any ice-free strip of Mars could be teeming with these organisms, just as it was in the early days of Earth.

However, the climate is supposed to be hot and humid in ancient Mars It would have been compromised by the massive amount of hydrogen sucked up from the thin, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere.Souteri noted. With temperatures dropping to nearly minus 200 degrees Celsius, any creatures living near the surface would likely have dug to survive.

See also  Gmail and AI: How to activate a new tool

In contrast, microbes on Earth It would have helped keep the conditions warmThe researchers note, looking at the nitrogen-dominated atmosphere. SETI’s Kaveh Pahlifan noted that future models of the Martian climate should take French research into account. Pahlivan led another recent study It indicates that the origin of Mars was wet with warm oceans that have existed for millions of years.

On April 30, 2021, an image was captured by the Mars Perseverance spacecraft and released by NASA, the Mars Ingenuity helicopter, right, is seen hovering over the surface of the planet.  (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS via AP, file)
On April 30, 2021, an image was captured by the Mars Perseverance spacecraft and released by NASA, the Mars Ingenuity helicopter, right, is seen hovering over the surface of the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS via AP, file)

The atmosphere was dense and mostly hydrogen at that time, which was a greenhouse gas that was eventually transported to higher altitudes and lost to space, his team concluded. Pahlifan added that the French study investigated the climatic effects of potential microbes when carbon dioxide was dominant in the Martian atmosphere, and therefore not applicable to early times.

“However, what their study shows is that if life existed on Mars” during this early period, “it would have had a significant impact on the prevailing climate.”, detained. For French researchers, the best places to investigate to test their theories are the unexplored Hellas Planitia -Hélade Plain- and Jezero Crater, on the northwest edge of Isidis Planitia.

While scientists debate the existence of ancient life, the task insight NASA on the red planet It continues although it is expected to end in the near future. The incursion in the past hours was affected as a result Big dust storm.

See also  I've seen The Lord of the Rings Gollum mixing Assassin's Creed and Uncharted, but I'm not convinced

First observed on September 21, 2022 by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), The storm is located about 3,500 kilometers from InSight, in the southern hemisphere of Mars, and initially had little impact on the probe.

The mission carefully monitors the probe’s power level, which has steadily decreased as dust accumulates on the solar panels. By Monday, October 3, the storm had grown large enough for a thick dust haze to cover 40% of the sounding.

With less sunlight reaching the vehicle’s dashboardsits power dropped from 425 watt-hours per Martian day, or Martian, to just 275 watt-hours per Martian day.

10/10/2022 NASA's Insight Mars lander captured this last selfie on April 24, 2022. The rover's solar panels have been covered in dust since it reached Mars in 2018. JPL-CALTECH
10/10/2022 NASA’s Insight Mars lander captured this last selfie on April 24, 2022. The rover’s solar panels have been covered in dust since it reached Mars in 2018. JPL-CALTECH

InSight’s seismometer has been running for about 24 hours every Martian day. But the decrease in solar energy does not leave enough energy to fully charge the batteries every sun. At the current discharge rate, the lander can only operate for several weeks. Therefore, to conserve energy, the mission will turn off the seismometer.

“We were at the bottom of our ladder when it came to power. We are now on the ground floor,” Insight project manager Chuck Scott of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement. “If we can overcome this, we can continue to operate through the winter, but I will be worried about the next storm coming.”completed.

The team had estimated that the InSight mission would end sometime between the end of October this year and January 2023, based on predictions of how much dust on the solar panels would reduce power generation. The probe’s mission has long since passed its primary mission and is now nearing the end of its extended mission, conducting “additional science” by measuring “swamps,” which reveal details about the depths of the Red Planet’s interior.

See also  After five failed attempts, Space X managed to land the spacecraft without exploding

With information from AP and Europa Press

Nation

Get to know The Trust Project

Lovell Loxley

"Alcohol buff. Troublemaker. Introvert. Student. Social media lover. Web ninja. Bacon fan. Reader."

Leave a Reply

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

Back to top