by Staff Writers
Edinburgh UK (SPX) Apr 24, 2012
Craters made by asteroid impacts may be the best place to look for signs of life on other planets, a study suggests. Tiny organisms have been discovered thriving deep underneath a site in the US where an asteroid crashed some 35 million years ago.
Scientists believe that the organisms are evidence that such craters provide refuge for microbes, sheltering them from the effects of the changing seasons and events such as global warming or ice ages.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh drilled almost 2km below one of the largest asteroid impact craters on Earth, in Chesapeake, US.
Samples from below ground showed that microbes are unevenly spread throughout the rock, suggesting that the environment is continuing to settle 35 million years after impact.
However, fractures to rocks deep below would enable water and nutrients to flow in and support life.
Some organisms grow by absorbing elements such as iron from rock.
The research was published in the journal Astrobiology.
The University of Edinburgh
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WSU astrobiologist proposes fleet of probes to seek life on Mars
Pullman, WA (SPX) Apr 24, 2012
A Washington State University astrobiologist is leading a group of 20 scientists in calling for a mission to Mars with "a strong and comprehensive life detection component." At the heart of their proposal is a small fleet of sensor packages that can punch into the Martian soil and run a range of tests for signs of ancient or existing life. They call the mission BOLD. It's both an acronym f ... read more
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