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Microbes In Atacama Desert May Shed Light On Life On The Red Planet

As per a recent study carried out by scientists at Atacama Desert located in Northern Chile, microbial life on Mars planet could have been transported across it with the help of dust particles that are carried by wind. The details of findings by Armando A. B. and colleagues have been published in Scientific Reports. The researchers investigated the possibility of movement of microbial life across Atacama Desert with the help of dust particles driven by wind and tried to determine the place of origin of these microorganisms. That could have implications about existence of microbial life-form in extreme environment like desert.

To substantiate their claims researchers collected twenty three bacterial along with 8 species of fungiĀ  from3 sampling areas in a couple of regions of Atacama by traversing across its extremely arid core region which is known to have a very saline soil along with extremely severe UV radiation. As only 3 of the species were shared within transects it showed that there are varied ecosystems in different regions of the desert. The samples were a combination of both bacterial and fungal species. The samples comprised of OceanobacillusO which is a bacterium found in aquatic environment and Bacillus Simplex originating from plants.

This shows that microbes may have come to the core arid region of the desert from Coastal range and the P. Ocean. The samples of microbial cells that were collected in early hours of the day were from nearby regions while the ones found later in the day were from marine regions and comprised of microbial life on dust particles that was carried through wind from remove areas. These findings show that microbial life can move easily from driest regions of the earth to even UV irradiated deserts. Life of microbial life-form on Mars may also move around the planet in a similar way say authors of this report.

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