Can these caves help scientists find life on
The SLIME team scientists study which microbes lived in these extreme cave
environments. Penny works with scientists from NASA to help answer the
question "What will life be like if we find it on Mars?" Here on Earth,
they look for possible energy sources like hydrogen sulfide, manganese,
and iron that microbes can use for food. Finding microbes that survive
only on chemical energy can help scientists know what to look for when
searching for subsurface life on other planets or moons.
Leslie asks "If we go to Mars, how do we recognize if a rock was formed
by a microbe?" To do this, the SLIME team scientists see how microbes
change rocks. They can then look for the same changes in rocks on Mars
and other planets too.
After studying the different caves like and the tiny creatures that lived
or live inside them, scientists can then look for similar conditions
on other planets that support life. If living creatures can survive in
such unworldy cave environments, maybe there is life beyond the reaches
of our own planet too!
Let's look at more life in caves! The next cave is
Cueva de Villa Luz.
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