Microbial Oasis Discovered Beneath the Atacama Desert
Microbial oasis discovered beneath the Atacama Desert
Two metres below the surface of the Atacama Desert there is an ‘oasis’ of microorganisms. Researchers from the Center of Astrobiology (Spain) and the Catholic University of the North in Chile have found it in hypersaline substrates thanks to SOLID, a detector for signs of life which could be used in environments similar to subsoil on Mars.
Life is bustling under the driest desert on Earth. A Spanish-Chilean team of scientists have found bacteria and archaea (primitive microorganisms) living two metres below the hypersaline substrates in the Atacama Desert in Chile, according to the journal Astrobiology.
Lessons for Mars
“If there are similar microbes on Mars or remains in similar conditions to the ones we have found in Atacama, we could detect them with instruments like SOLID” Parro highlighted.