FWD: [UASR] Scientists sustain life form in Mars-like setting
- Posted by : Ndunlks@...
Scientists sustain life form in Mars-like setting
CHICAGO, June 2 (Reuters) - Scientists said on Wednesday they have been able
to keep microbes, among the earth's most primitive life forms, growing in
harsh conditions similar to those on Mars.
The development could provide clues to what kind of life might exist on the
red planet, the report said, though it's still a matter of guesswork.
``There's nothing from Mars for us to work with, so you have to play the game
from the standpoint of Earth,'' said Tim Kral of the University of Arkansas.
Kral and graduate student Curtis Bekkum, in a report released at a meeting of
the American Society for Microbiology, said they tried to replicate Martian
conditions by using ash from Hawaiian volcanoes known to share
characteristics with Martian soil.
Adding carbon dioxide, hydrogen and water, they placed microbes called
methanogens in the mix. The methane-producing microbes, found deep in the
ocean and in the earth's crust, are believed to be among the most primitive
life forms on earth.
The microbes grew successfully, obtaining the minerals they needed to
survive, the report said.
Scientists have said that while Mars does not appear to have liquid water on
its surface, there may be small amounts of liquid below the surface. Kral
said the methanogens in the experiment grew even with a limited water supply.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or
redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is
expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters
shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any
actions taken in reliance thereon. All active hyperlinks have been inserted