Methane-Producing Bacteria May Have Thrived Beneath The Surface Of Ancient Mars

Methane-Producing Bacteria May Have Thrived Beneath The Surface Of Ancient Mars

The existence of life on Mars is still up for debate. Examining the Red Planet’s past and determining whether or not it ever had conditions favorable for life is one way to gain knowledge. According to a recent study, microbes that use hydrogen and emit methane were formerly able to live in the subsurface of Mars, and if they did, we might be in a very good position to uncover their remains.

Before 3.7 billion years ago, scientists looked at Mars. The Noachian age, in the geological history of the globe, is a challenging period. Olympus Mons, the tallest volcano in the solar system, and other features like it were developed prior to the significant volcanism.

It was anticipated that Mars’ surface would have been covered in rivers, oceans, and ice.

Water undoubtedly helps, but it doesn’t make a world habitable. The planet possessed the appropriate life circumstances, but simulations have shown only below the surface. The soil would be saturated with brine, supplying water and shielding microorganisms from cosmic and UV rays. Simple bacteria would have been able to live and thrive there, using molecular hydrogen and carbon dioxide to power themselves, according to computer simulations. Methane would be a byproduct of these creatures’ biological operations.

It is crucial to emphasize that the researchers examined if the conditions were suitable for life, not whether life existed. The team does, however, think that it is highly likely that the circumstances permitted the existence of bacteria. The size of the ice cover, which would have made living more challenging, is the main limiting factor.

If life had once existed there, organisms would have easily run the risk of going extinct by continuing to live. According to the team’s estimates, there may have been enough bacteria creating methane in the very distant past to rival what we had in the Earth’s own ocean, which is problematic for life itself.

The release of methane and the uptake of hydrogen can result in a global cooling event that causes the temperature to fall by tens of degrees. Even though early Mars may have had a mild environment in some areas, these microbes may have brought it well below the freezing point of water.