Geologists working in northern Chile have found similarities between hot spring silica deposits on Earth and deposits photographed on Mars nine years ago – and they think they could be evidence of past life on the Red Planet.
These types of deposits on Earth typically contain microorganism fossils, and though NASA’s Spirit rover couldn’t look for evidence of life back in 2007, the research could prompt another rover visit to the Home Plate plateau on Mars.
The team from Arizona State University went looking for silica structures in El Tatio similar to those snapped on Mars, and say the closest matches were those produced by a combination of biological and non-biological processes – hot spring deposits created with the help of tiny organisms.
“The fact that microbes play a role in producing the distinctive silica structures at El Tatio raises the possibility that the Martian silica structures formed in a comparable manner,” says …