A new study could show us if life on Mars existed in the past

Credit image: public domain
Credit image: public domain

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 30 June 2022, at 10:53 am Los Angeles time

Researchers at the Geological Society of America have announced the discovery of prehistoric prokaryotes and algae preserved in a piece of halite (or rock salt) 830 million years old. 

They want to break this piece of salt, to analyze the microorganisms, which they think could still be alive, due to liquid bubbles in which they were trapped. This liquid allows the formation of a microhabitat inside the rock so that prehistoric life forms could have resisted in a latent state. 

Possible contact with prehistoric microorganisms would be extremely dangerous, but geologists claim that the analysis will be performed in complete safety because they will take all necessary protection measures. 

Specialists have been looking for safe solutions for years to be able to research the life forms preserved in salt. 

The survival of microorganisms for such a long time helps scientists understand how some life forms could have survived on other planets, such as Mars. The study can show us if life on Mars existed or at least it was possible in the past.

The large salt deposits on the Red Planet prove the existence of water lakes in the distant past. 

The survival of microorganisms preserved in pieces of rock salt for hundreds of millions of years is not impossible, because there is already a precedent: live prokaryotes have been found in 250-million-years halite.

The halite in which they are trapped protects them from radiation that would otherwise, over time, destroy them, geologists explain. They can adapt their metabolism to withstand the conditions inside the rock piece. 

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