Scientists have discovered biosignatures on Earth that look extremely similar to deposits seen on Mars – and may hint at past life on the Red Planet.
The tantalizing research was published last week in the journal Nature Communications, led by Steve Ruff and Jack Farmer of Arizona State University (ASU). They studied outflows from hot springs in El Tatio, Chile, near the edge of the Atacama Desert, one of the most Mars-like places on Earth.
These particular springs are among the highest on our planet, at an altitude of 4,300 meters (14,000 feet). But what had first piqued the scientists’ attention was a seemingly similar location on Mars explored by NASA’s Spirit rover in 2007.
This location is called Home Plate, located in the 3 to 4 billion-year-old Gusev Crater. Next to the Home Plate’s eastern edge, the rover uncovered silica deposits near what is thought to have been an ancient hot spring …