Editor â€™s note: Recently, a team of researchers at the Astrobiology Center of the National Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (INTA-CSIC) in Spain did analyze a similar environment on Earth: a deposit of mineral salts containing sulfur and iron , The minerals are called sodalite. This environment exists in the Rio Tinto river basin in the Huelva region, and is very similar to the environment found on Mars-the sediment layer on Mars contains jarosite. The presence of this mineral indicates that water existed in the past or present. Gomez said that a salt deposit with astrobiological significance has been discovered not far from the current location of the Curiosity probe.
On January 28th, Beijing time, in the Rio River Valley of Huelva, Spain, researchers at the Astrobiology Center have undoubtedly found microorganisms living in salt deposits, which are iron-bearing. Acidic environment. Interestingly, the extreme conditions in these microhabitats seem to be similar to the salt deposits on Mars and Europa.
Researcher Felipe Gomez said: The surface of Mars has a large amount of radiation, no water, and extreme temperatures and pressures, which will make life difficult to develop. However, in such an unfavorable environment, scientists are looking for a "friendly" niche that can promote life development, including salt deposits.
Algae microbes are hidden in the sodalite deposits in the Rio River Basin in Spain (see green material)
Recently, a team of researchers at the Astrobiology Center of the National Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (INTA-CSIC) in Spain did analyze a similar environment on Earth: a deposit of mineral salts containing sulfur and iron, of which The mineral is called alumite. This environment exists in the Rio Tinto river basin in the Huelva region, and is very similar to the environment found on Mars-the sediment layer on Mars contains jarosite. The presence of this mineral indicates that water existed in the past or present.
"In extreme environments, this salt deposit is the ideal place for biological remains, even life itself," Gomez explained. The reason is that if this environment provides protection from radiation hazards, then the conditions in it will be more favorable than the surrounding environment and will maintain a higher humidity than the outside environment. With the help of microscopy and molecular biology techniques, the research team discovered a layer of bacteria and algae living in a salty microhabitat, which are invisible to the naked eye. The microorganisms discovered this time have up to five different forms, belonging to Dunaliella salina and red algae.
The sedimentary layer of this analysis is a multi-layer structure, and the thickness of each layer is only a few millimeters. For the peculiar environment of the Rio Tinto River basin, these sedimentary layers constitute a completely different ecosystem. "These deposited minerals can only be formed in an acidic environment like this, where even developing microbial communities are still living. In other words, the microbial communities have found the ideal environment here," Gomez said , "In places like the Rio River on Earth, a protected micro-niche similar to Mars was discovered, which is an important step towards assessing the habitability of Mars."
What is certain is that the Mars Global Probe of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has discovered alluvial fan-shaped salty structures on the surface of Mars; and scientists believe that microorganisms can exist in Jupiter â€™s moon, Europa â€™s frozen ocean. under.
"From a subjective point of view, salt deposits are extremely important, and should be considered in the space exploration missions to find extraterrestrial life, such as the current" curiosity "Mars exploration mission. In fact, at a distance" curiosity " "The detector is not far away, and has already found salt deposits of astrobiological significance," Gomez said.
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