As scientists search for life on Mars, they should take a close look at rock varnish, according to a paper in the current issue of the "Journal of Geophysical Research."
The paper describes how a research team led by Kimberly R. Kuhlman, of the Tucson-based Planetary Science Institute, found bacteria associated with rock varnish in an area where the surrounding soils were essentially devoid of life. The study suggests that rock varnish could provide a niche habitat for microbial life on Mars and in other extraterrestrial environments devoid of liquid water.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Rock varnish: A promising habitat for Martian bacteria