24/7 Space News
Hidden biosphere discovered beneath world's driest hot desert
illustration only
Hidden biosphere discovered beneath world's driest hot desert
by Robert Schreiber
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Apr 24, 2024

Researchers exploring Earth's driest hot desert, the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, have uncovered a hidden microbial world 13 feet beneath the surface, shedding light on potential extraterrestrial life habitats.

Despite the harsh conditions, with scarce higher life forms, the hyper-arid soil rich in salts and sulfates nurtures bacteria. While the top 80 centimeters of soil offer some protection from UV light and a small amount of water, deeper layers reveal more.

Dirk Wagner and his team dug over four meters in a playa in the Yungay Valley to gather soil samples using an innovative extraction method that isolates DNA from living organisms. This process involved washing out loose DNA and extracting the DNA within intact cells for sequencing.

Analysis showed that while microbial communities in the top 80 cm of playa sediments were mainly Firmicutes, a distinct community dominated by Actinobacteria existed below 200 cm.

Genetic analysis linked some bacteria to species like Geodermatophilus pulveris and Modestobacter caceresii. The study suggests these microbes might have colonized the soil 19,000 years ago, before being covered by playa deposits, possibly extending further into the subsurface, indicating a previously unrecognized deep biosphere under hyper-arid desert soils.

The deep bacterial community may utilize gypsum as a water source, mirroring conditions that could support microbial life on Mars, given its similar gypsum deposits.

Persistent microbial communities in hyperarid subsurface habitats of the Atacama Desert: Research Report:Insights from intracellular DNA analysis

Related Links
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Desert soil microbes adapt to thrive in extreme dry conditions
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Apr 22, 2024
Scientists from the University of Vienna have shed light on how desert soil bacteria survive and thrive under the extreme conditions of prolonged droughts and intermittent heavy rainfall. Their findings, led by microbiologist Dagmar Woebken at the Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science (CeMESS), were recently detailed in Nature Communications. Covering over 46% of the Earth's terrestrial surface, drylands are critical ecosystems that are expanding due to climate change and unsus ... read more

Refining space mission interoperability: NASA unveils new trajectory sharing strategy

NASA and Industry Partners Enhance Space Station Missions with Crew and Cargo Deliveries

NASA announces new Stennis Space Center director

China floats space tourists for station visits

SpaceX ties record with 20th Falcon 9 booster re-use in Galileo L12 launch

Private firm advances with new liquid-fuel rocket development

Spaceport Company and Maritime Launch Collaborate on Tracking Systems for Nova Scotia Spaceport

Rocket Lab completes dual satellite deployment for KAIST and NASA

NASA Mars Analog Crew Approaches Mission Conclusion

NASA Scientists Gear Up for Solar Storms at Mars

China aims to retrieve Martian soil samples by 2030

Hera mission plans Mars flyby en route to asteroid study

China outlines objectives for Shenzhou XVIII space mission

Shenzhou XVIII astronauts enter space station

Scientific projects on China's space station yield significant results

Shenzhou XVIII crew takes command at Tiangong space station

ESA launches space innovation hub in Austria

Hughes launches new manufacturing hub and private 5G center in Maryland

European satellite giant SES to buy US rival Intelsat

SES's O3b mPOWER System Initiates Global High-Performance Connectivity Services

Astroscale Japan Advances to Next Stage in JAXA's Orbital Debris Removal Initiative

Redefining engineering practices across NASA

NASA's Optical Comms Demo Achieves Data Transmission Over 140 Million Miles

Asterra debuts groundbreaking L-band SAR API for commercial use

Study traces bioluminescence back 540 million years in octocorals

Hidden biosphere discovered beneath world's driest hot desert

Decaying orbits of exoplanets linked to stellar magnetic fields

LLNL Pandora SmallSat mission clears major NASA milestone on the path toward launch

Juno mission reveals volcanic landscapes on Io

Probing liquid water beyond Earth with advanced radar technology

Dating the Solar System's orbital changes with enstatite meteorites

Pluto's heart-shaped feature explained by international research team

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.