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Sterile Antarctic valleys knock hopes for Martian life...

22 Jan 2016, 10:47 UTC
Sterile Antarctic valleys knock hopes for Martian life...
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....but not conclusively, so don't start with the wailing and gnashing of teeth just yet space fans: In a spot called University valley a team from the McGill University has been hunting for microbes. The reason why they chose University valley is because of it's extremely Mars-like conditions. The valley has been incredibly dry and stayed below freezing for roughly 150,000 years. As analogues for Mars go, it's as good as you'll get on Earth.Above: University Valley, Antarctica. Courtesy of Jackie GoordialAnd they found... nothing. No active microbes anywhere. A few traces that might have been dormant or slowly dying organisms.“If conditions are too cold and dry to support active microbial life on an analogous climate on Earth, then the colder dryer conditions in the near surface permafrost on Mars are unlikely to contain life.” Says Lyle Whyte,  supervisor on the project. “Additionally, if we cannot detect activity on Earth, in an environment which is teeming with microorganisms, it will be extremely unlikely and difficult to detect such activity on Mars.”So is that case closed, give up looking for traces of life on Mars? Well....I've kind of given away my thoughts on that at the beginning.The teams' results are not ...

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