(ORDO NEWS) — Ancient microbial life on Mars may have destroyed the planet’s atmosphere due to climate change, eventually leading to its extinction, a new study has found.
The new theory is based on a climate modeling study that simulated hydrogen-consuming and methane-producing microbes that lived on Mars about 3.7 billion years ago.
At that time, atmospheric conditions were similar to those that existed on ancient Earth during the same period.
But instead of creating an environment that would help them thrive and develop, as happened on Earth, Martian microbes may have been doomed when they first started, according to a study published Oct. 10 in the journal Nature Astronomy.
The model suggests that the reason why life flourished on Earth and was doomed on Mars is due to the gas composition of the two planets and their relative distance from the Sun.
Farther from our star than Earth, Mars was more dependent on a powerful haze of heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen to maintain a favorable temperature for life.
Just like the ancient Martian microbes. feeding on hydrogen (a strong greenhouse gas) and producing methane (a significant greenhouse gas on Earth, but less powerful than hydrogen), they slowly ate into their planet’s heat-trapping blanket, eventually making Mars so cold that it could no longer develop.
As Martian surface temperatures dropped from the tolerable range of between 68 and 14 degrees (10 to 20 degrees Celsius) Fahrenheit to minus 70°F (minus 57°C), microbes escaped deeper and deeper into the planet’s warmer crust, burrowing on a depth of more than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) by only a few hundred. million years after the cold snap.
To find evidence of existence Following the theory, the researchers want to find out if any of these ancient microbes survived.
Traces of methane have been detected by satellites in the rarefied atmosphere of Mars, as well as “alien burps” detected by NASA’s Curiosity rover, which may indicate that microbes still exist.
Scientists. believe that their results suggest that life cannot be inherently self-sustaining in every favorable environment in which it appears, and that it can easily destroy itself by inadvertently destroying the foundations of its own existence.
“The ingredients of life are everywhere in the universe,” lead study author Boris Soterey, an astrobiologist at the Institute of Biology at the Ecole Normaleum in Paris, told Space.com.
“So it is quite possible that life regularly appears in the universe. But the inability of life to maintain habitable conditions on the surface of the planet leads to the fact that it dies out very quickly.
Our experiment goes one step further, as it shows that even a very primitive biosphere can have a completely independent life. -destructive effect.
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