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Signs of life found beneath Antarctic tundra


Posted on Wednesday, 29 April, 2015 | Comment icon 5 comments

The briny aquifer was discovered during a survey of the valley. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Richard Burt
A unique ecosystem discovered 1,000ft underground may increase the odds of finding life on other worlds.
Lower Taylor Valley in Antarctica might seem like a cold, dry and inhospitable place, yet deep down below the frozen tundra there is now believed to lie an extensive ecosystem consisting of a briny aquifer that stretches over a distance of 11 miles.

The find bears a close resemblance to the thin subsurface layer of briny liquid recently discovered by the Curiosity rover on Mars and might also have implications for life on other worlds too.
"The subsurface aquifers that we’ve been looking at are potential analogs to understanding Mars systems," said lead researcher Jill Mikucki. "We still have a lot to learn about these dry valley aquifer systems, but they appear to be related to climate changes."

The scientists are now planning to expand their survey efforts of the Antarctic subsurface using a helicopter to scan the frozen wastes with a device known as a transient electromagnetic sensor which produces a ground-penetrating magnetic field capable of identifying subsurface materials.

"One of the big questions now is - is this finding regionally specific, or are there many locations in Antarctica where we have conditions that have created these subsurface environments for life," said ecosystem ecologist Ross Virginia.

Source: Discovery News | Comments (5)


Tags: Antarctica, Life


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by DieChecker on 29 April, 2015, 16:13
That is very interesting. I think it does show that life can be found in strange and unexpected places.
Comment icon #2 Posted by DieChecker on 29 April, 2015, 16:17
A unique ecosystem discovered 1,000ft underground may increase the odds of finding life on other worlds. Read More: http://www.unexplain...ntarctic-tundra From the link: “It suggests that this ecosystem is extensive and connected. There could be a very, very large subsurface habitable environment throughout the Antarctic regions,” Ross Virginia, an ecosystem ecologist at Dartmouth College, told Discovery News. That is because of all those tunnels the Old Ones dug to connect their subterranean cities. But those ways are only haunted by the shoggoths now.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Jacker on 29 April, 2015, 22:58
Now this is something I was talking about for ages. Life on other worlds doesn't necessarily need exact same conditions for life like we do here on Earth. Perhaps somewhere life developed in a much warmer, or much colder world than our's. We still don't know **** haha - Jacker Now this is something I was talking about for ages. Life on other worlds doesn't necessarily need exact same conditions for life like we do here on Earth. Perhaps somewhere life developed in a much warmer, or much colder world than our's. We still don't know **** haha - Jacker
Comment icon #4 Posted by Sundew on 30 April, 2015, 2:39
Earth may have habitats that mimic the subsoil or other areas of Mars, but that does not necessarily mean Mars has or ever had life. Some sort of deep drilling device in a suitable area of Mars might be able to settle this. The fact that Earth life seems to exist just about everywhere and every habitat we look at is encouraging in our search for alien life forms.
Comment icon #5 Posted by lightly on 12 May, 2015, 23:28
life is amazingly tenacious .. and opportunistic ?


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