Finding Life On Mars: Key Could Be In Ancient Australian Rocks

There is a theory that life on Earth may have begun in freshwater hot springs environments, and there are scientists that think that just such a beginning for living organism may have begun the same way on Mars. Researchers are now looking at some 3.48-billion-year-old Australian rocks with biosignatures in the fossil record that might prove the theory to be true. If so, the discovery could help in the search for life, or at least the possible evidence of now extinct life, on Mars. Scientists in Australia have found ancient rocks in the Outback, according to NPR, that contain biological signatures and also indicate the presence of a hot spring. The finding appears to support the theory that Earth’s earliest life might have had its origin in freshwater hot springs on land — as opposed to originating in deep-sea hydrothermal vents. University of New South Wales scientist Tara Djokic, who collected samples of the Australian rocks, said the ancient stone was a “smoking gun,” pointing to the area as once being host to a volcanic hot springs system. The telltale was the the presence of geyserite, a mineral found only in a hot springs environment. Scientists also uncovered what they referred to as “a suite of microbial biosignatures indicative of the earliest life on land.” According to Djokic, the discovery was “a geological perspective saying actually, really early on we’re already seeing life on land. So it just lends weight potentially to an argument suggesting that the origin of life on land might be something to consider.” The findings could help in searching for the presence of life on Mars. “If you’re going to look for life on Mars, we know it was preserved on hot springs here on the ancient earth,” Djokic said. “So there’s a good chance if it ever developed on Mars, then it would probably be preserved in hot springs there, too.” [Featured Image by Aphelleon/Shutterstock]

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