Deep Earth Life Excites Extraterrestrial Life Researchers
Earth is commonly associated with green forests, blue oceans and animals that live in both. However, there’s a possibility too that Earth hosts another biosphere. Tiny microbial organisms could be living below the surface. This could also be the same with extraterrestrial life.
In a recent study published in the journal Nature, geoscientist Barbara Sherwood Lollar says that deep-Earth life environment could be far vaster than previously thought.
The idea that alien life could also be the same has received a sudden impact with the NASA’s announcement that Mars Curiosity rover had discovered a plume of methane that spiked and then dissipated on the red planet, an indication of microbial life.
Geochemist Lisa Pratt says that the new study and the new NASA’s discovery of the red planet suggest that scientists should begin searching for something that is different than the conventional cellular life, which researchers used to seeing and studying on Earth.
In 2006, Sherwood Lollar and Pratt announced through a Science paper about the discovery of bacteria living deep in a gold mine in South Africa, completely isolated from sunlight. These microbes managed to live deep in Earth by deriving their energy from hydrogen gas produced by water and the surrounding rock reactions. These microbes are estimated to have lived between three million and twenty-five million years.
Just last year, Sherwood Lollar also part of a team that discovered similar environment. They analyzed water in a mine in Timmins, Ontario with similar chemistry to the mine in South Africa. The team estimated that the water found in the Timmins mine was billions of years old. The site is still subject for further study to know if there’s microbial life living in it.
So, scientists and ordinary people are now curious about how many similar places in the planet host life. Furthermore, the possibility of dark life in the red planet provides exciting stuff among scientists and researchers.