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Hardy bacteria thrive under hot desert rocks (JUNE 1, 2015)

Titre : Hardy bacteria thrive under hot desert rocks

Beneath the rocks scarring California’s Mojave Desert are colonies of cyanobacteria, tiny creatures thought to be some of the first on Earth to convert light from the Sun into energy in the process known as photosynthesis. By studying how these creatures adapt to life in the hot, dry desert, biologists hope to glean insight into how microbial life of some sort might fare on Mars. (JUNE 1, 2015)

Cyanobacteria, often called blue-green algae, were one of the first life forms to pop up on Earth about 3.5 billion years ago. These microscopic organisms dramatically changed Earth’s atmosphere by producing enough oxygen to fuel the evolution of complex life forms and the biodiversity we see today. At that ancient time in Earth’s history, Mars was also a different place and a far cry from its barran, frigid deserts of today. Scientists speculate that the Red Planet could have also been hospitable to life.

Chroococcidiopsis is one of the most primitive cyanobacteria, thriving in a wide range of extreme environments across Earth. In the past, it has been suggested as an organism that could help to change the Martian dirt into a more arable soil that humans could farm during long-term colonization. One reason they thrive might have to do with how they respond to the different waves of light that pass through the edges of each rock. Rather than remaining stagnant, the cyanobacteria were able to change the types of light they required for photosynthesis based on what was available.

Source  : Nola Taylor Redd, Astrobiology Magazine,

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Page publiée le 29 juin 2021