Discovered form of life has spent in complete isolation 3,000 years


27/11/2012

She was in total darkness, in the lake, the salinity of the water which is seven times higher than the sea, and the temperature is 13 degrees below zero. Lake Vida in the east Antarctica during 2800 years was covered with a 20-meter layer of ice, which is still under the warmth of life.

Open an abundance of strange bacteria in a completely closed from the outside world, ice-bound lake, increases the probability of finding extraterrestrial life on planets such as Mars or Jupiter’s moon Europa.

"Lake view - it is a model of what happens when frozen lake, about the same as it happened with the once liquid lakes on Mars when it was cold snap," - said Peter Doran of the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is one of the leaders of the team working in the Dry Valleys in Antarctica, where it is the View. "All the water bodies of Mars had to pass through a stage of view, before being completely frozen, and contain evidence of the former ecosystem."

Bacteria of the species has been raised from drilled wells to a depth of 27 meters, and yet not be identified. It is, in all probability, survive by feeding on hydrogen, and nitrogen oxides, which abound in anoxic water views.

The second leader of the group, Alison Murray of the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, is currently conducting a further investigation by growing cells procured by them in the laboratory. "We can use these cultured organisms for a better understanding of the physical and chemical extremes, they are able to move, it can give an idea of the other icy worlds such as Europe," - she said.

Murray and her colleagues were surprised to find such a high concentration of hydrogen, nitrous oxide and carbon in the water. They suggest that these substances could be the result of reaction between the salt and mineral nitrogen in the surrounding rocks. Deprived for centuries of sunlight bacteria could develop during the evolution of complete independence from it, using these substances for the production of energy.

But the discovery of life in the lake view does not necessarily increase the probability of the existence of life in a much older and deeper lakes, which are also examined in Antarctica, such as the East and Ellsworth, located at a depth of 3 kilometers and were in isolation for millions, not thousands, years.

"On the basis of these data, it is impossible to make assumptions about life in the East or in Ellsworth, but it points out that in the over-salinity, life can exist," - said Martin Siegert from the University of Bristol, UK.

Original: Newscientist.com


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