Exploring the Limits of Life on Earth and Some Thoughts About Their Relevance to the Search for Life
WHENMay 18, 2021 5pmWHEREZoomWHOCenter for Space ScienceOpen to the Public
Life on Earth teaches us about amazing adaptations to a variety of environmental stresses. During the webinar, results will be presented from the international research group investigating the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert in Chile as an analog to Martian environmental conditions. Some of the discovered adaptations of microbial life to the encountered extreme dryness, high doses of UV irradiation, and scarcity of nutrients are to go through dormant and active cycles and by taking up water directly from the atmosphere.
The learned insights from the driest deserts on Earth inform us where to search for life on Mars. Especially promising in this regard are near-surface salt deposits. However, even more, enticing would be the discovery of complex life, which we would not expect on Mars, but on many exoplanets based on the Cosmic Zoo hypothesis, which states that if a planet stays habitable long enough, life will eventually take one of many evolutionary paths toward complexity.
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