Scientists have found traces of fatty acids – key building blocks of biological cells – in acidic waters in the UK, suggesting that life might have existed earlier on Mars. Researchers at Imperial College London in the UK concluded that there could be nearly 12,000 Olympic pelvic organic matter on Mars, which could be traces of past life. "Mars harbored water billions of years ago, which could mean that some form of life is thriving there," said Mark Sephton, head of the Imperial Department of Geosciences and Engineering.
"If life existed before the water dried up, it would probably leave I have leftovers preserved to this day in the Marsh Coat," Sephton said. Dorset, in the UK, is home to highly acidic sulfur streams that harbor bacteria that thrive in extreme conditions. Such an environment in the Bay of St. Oswald mimics conditions on Mars billions of years ago, researchers said. They treated the landscape as a template for Mars and studied the organic material that was conserved in the nearby rock deposits.
The iron-rich mineral goethite transforms into hematite, which is very common on Mars and gives the planet its red color. If these iron-rich minerals contain traces of life on Earth, they may contain clues to past microbial life on the red planet. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found that Goethit in St. Oswald's Bay harbors many microbes and traces of their fossilized organic remains.
The researchers used these results in a Martian environment. Depending on how much rock comes from an acidic environment on Mars, and assuming that the concentration of fatty acids in Mars sediments matches that of the Earth, up to 2.86 1
Scientists suspect that heat caused minerals to react with organic matter, so we have not found any traces of life yet. Heating Goethite or hematite, however, does not destroy organic matter, which means these minerals could be good targets for life. "We still have to find convincing traces of organic matter that indicate the past life on the red planet," said Septhon.