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Life on Mars? Deep Thoughts

Craters created by asteroid impacts might be the best place to look for signs of life on other planets.

That’s the word from researchers from the University of Edinburgh, one results from drilling almost 2 kilometers below one of the largest asteroid impact craters on Earth – in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia.

Tiny organisms have been discovered thriving deep underneath that site where an asteroid crashed some 35 million years ago. Those organisms, scientists think, are evidence that such craters provide refuge for microbes, sheltering them from the effects of the changing seasons and events such as global warming or ice ages.

What’s the tie to Mars?

“The deeply fractured areas around impact craters can provide a safe haven in which microbes can flourish for long periods of time,” said Charles Cockell of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

“Our findings suggest that the subsurface of craters on Mars might be a promising place to search for evidence of life,” Cockell said in a press statement.

By Leonard David


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