60,000-year-old microbes present in Mexican mine: NASA scientist

60,000-year-old microbes found in Mexican mine
NASA scientists have found dwelling microorganisms trapped inside crystals for so long as 60,000 years in a mine in Mexico.

These unusual historical microbes have apparently advanced to allow them to survive on a eating regimen of sulfite, manganese and copper oxide, stated Penelope Boston of NASA´s Astrobiology Institute in a presentation over the weekend at a convention of the American Affiliation for the Development of Science.

“This has profound results on how we attempt to perceive the evolutionary historical past of microbial life on this planet,” she stated.

They had been found within the Naica mine, a working lead, zinc and silver mine within the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua.

The mine is legendary for its big crystals, some so long as 50 ft (15 meters).

The invention has not but been revealed in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, but it surely has led Boston to consider that dwelling organisms may additionally have survived within the excessive environments of different planets and moons in our photo voltaic system.

She stated about 100 totally different sorts of microorganisms — most of them micro organism — have been discovered locked in Naica crystals for durations starting from 10,000 to 60,000 years.

Ninety % of them have by no means been noticed prior to now, she stated.

The invention of those ultra-hardy microorganisms has been a windfall for researchers but in addition a supply of concern for astrobiologists interested by bringing again samples collected on house missions within the photo voltaic system.

The intense situations below which these microbes have survived raises the likelihood that harmful extraterrestrial organisms might by accident hitch a trip to Earth on a returning spaceship.

Astrobiologists additionally fear in regards to the danger that Earth organisms might contaminate different planets in the midst of missions to locations like Mars, which has already been visited by a number of US robots.

NASA sterilizes its spacecraft and gear earlier than launching them into house. However there may be all the time a danger that ultra-resistant microorganisms will survive.

“How can we be certain that life-detection missions are going to detect true Mars life or life from icy worlds somewhat than our life?” requested Boston.

The issues usually are not new. Through the Apollo missions of the 1960s and ´70s, astronauts coming back from the moon had been quarantined.

The microorganisms discovered within the Naica mine usually are not even the oldest found up to now.

A number of years in the past scientists reported discovering microbes in ice and salt that had been as much as 500,000 years outdated.

 

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