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Astrophysicists are exploring the possibility of life beneath the surface of Mars



Astrophysicist NYUAD is exploring the possibility of life beneath the surface of Mars

Rover Rossalind Franklin will be drilled 2 meters below the surface of Mars by the European Space Agency and Roscosmos to look for signs of life. Credit: NYU Abu Dhabi

Although no life has been found on the Martian surface, a new study by astrophysicist and researcher Dimitri Atri at the Center for Space Sciences in New York̵

7;s Abu Dhabi finds that conditions beneath the surface could potentially support it. The underground surface – less harsh and with traces of water – has never been studied. According to Atri, the constant shelling of penetrating galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) can provide the energy needed to catalyze organic activity there.

Atri studied the biological potential of galactic cosmic rays caused by radiation and chemical imbalances in the Martian surface; the results are published in a journal Scientific reports.

There is growing evidence of an aquatic environment on ancient Mars, which raises the question of the possibility of life support of the environment. The erosion of the Martian atmosphere has led to drastic changes in its climate: surface waters have disappeared, reducing living space on the planet, only a limited amount of water remained near the surface in the form of brines and water ice. Life, if it ever existed, would have to adapt to harsh modern conditions, which include low temperatures and surface pressure and high radiation.

There are traces of water on the bowels of Mars in the form of water ice and brine, and it is exposed to radiation-reducing chemistry. Using a combination of numerical models, space mission data, and deep-cave ecosystem research on Earth, Atri suggests mechanisms by which life, if it ever existed on Mars, could survive and be found in the future European ExoMars mission (2022). space agency and Roscosmos. He hypothesizes that galactic cosmic radiation, which can penetrate several meters below the surface, will cause chemical reactions that can be used for metabolic energy to existing life, and host organisms use mechanisms observed in similar chemical and radiation environments on Earth. .

Astrophysicist NYUAD is exploring the possibility of life beneath the surface of Mars

Radiation zones are located below the surface of Mars. Credit: NYU Abu Dhabi

“It’s fascinating to think that life could survive in such harsh conditions at least two meters below the surface of Mars,” Atri said. “When the Rosalind Franklin rover is launched in 2022 aboard the ExoMars mission (ESA and Roscosmos), equipped with a well for underground surfaces, it will be well-suited to detect existing microbial life and hopefully provide important information.”


Scientists are modeling the climate of Mars to understand the suitability


More information:
Dimitra Atri. Study of the biological potential of chemical imbalance caused by cosmic radiation in the Martian surface, Scientific reports (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-020-68715-7

Provided by the University of New York



Citation: Astrophysicists study the possibility of life under the surface of Mars (2020, July 28), obtained on July 28, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-07-astrophysicists-possibility-life-surface-mars.html

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