Meteorite ALH84001 Article Science Magazine Phoenix & PerchloratesMars Society Switzerland
A paper published in Science this month by Liebensteiner et al.: establishes that, on Earth, an archaea named "Archaeoglobus fulgidus," thrives on perchlorates. We already found that some bacteria can "breathe" (reduce) perchlorate but they did so only as an alternative to breathing oxygen. This particular archaea thrives only on perchlorate and also reduces sulfates (NB: archaea together with bacteria and eukaryotes, are one of the three branches of known living beings).
Life
So here we are in the presence of a living being perfectly adapted to the Martian environment: virtually no free oxygen and plenty of perchlorates and sulfates. We also note that, on Earth, this type of living being must have preceded all others, users of photosynthesis and oxygen breathers. The Martian environment is therefore once again demonstrated to be the ideal laboratory for early Earth research. We must now examine whether, on Mars, life has gone up to that point or not. The abundance of perchlorates could be an indicator. Less perchlorates in some areas, all other environmental data being equal, would indicate that life could have reduced them, just as it did on Earth. Now, it is also possible that life on Mars, if it ever started the process we experienced on Earth, never came this far. Only further exploration will tell, but the track is clearer. Pierre Brisson April 7th 2013
Halobacteria, size 5 micrometers
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