Ancient Martian germs could cause climate change that destroyed them

Ancient Martian germs could cause climate change that destroyed them

According to a study conducted by the Paris Institute of Biologie de l'Ecole Normal Subérieure using computer simulations, ancient microbes on Morse have made the planet less fit for life, which may have led to their own extinction due to climate change.

The study suggests that the simplest microorganisms that consumed hydrogen and produced carbon dioxide might well have flourished on Mars some 3.7 billion years ago, about the same time that primitive life began to develop in the Earth's oceans. However, if it had led to more complex life forms on Earth, Mars had developed in a more pessimistic scenario. If methane had gradually helped to warm the atmosphere on Earth, the temperature on Mars had gradually fallen, which could have "wrapped" microbes below and below the planet's surface until they were completely extinct.

According to French scientists, during the period in question, Mars could have been quite warm and damp, ranging from -10 to +20 degrees Celsius, with rivers, lakes and possibly oceans, but the atmosphere was very different from the Earth, and it was as dense but richer than carbon dioxide and hydrogen, both of which created a greenhouse effect on the planet.

However, ancient microbes could change the balance by producing methane, which made the climate on a planet remote from the sun ever colder and "unbelievable." The fact is that the combination of hydrogen and carbon dioxide interacting with each other in the atmosphere creates a special climate conducive to warming, which is not the case on Earth, because the local atmosphere is not as rich as Mars in its time.

As a result of the cooling, the water on the planet has become ice, and the surface temperature has dropped below -60 degrees Celsius, forcing the microbes to descend deeper into the planet ' s depths, where heat was stored.

The Institute has identified three sites where the traces of ancient microbes are most likely to remain under the surface of the planet — in the crater Ezero, where the perseverance marauder is now hunting samples, as well as in two low-lying plains, Ellad and Isida, the climate is usually much warmer than in the highlands, and this is where it would be easier to find possible traces of life.

Finally, researchers admit that microorganisms can still live in the cortex of the planet. It is allowed that the almost-disappeared atmosphere can no longer feed microorganisms, so they can switch to other sources, for example, some geological processes can provide them with energy to live like the same hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Modelling data also produced another, no doubt alarming result; perhaps life ever appears in space, and then simply destroys itself — the ingredients for it to develop in the universe — but even a primitive biosphere has proved to be capable of self-destructing in theory.

The results of the study were published on October 10 in Nature magazine.