The hunt for life on Mars: new findings on rock 'chimneys' 'could hold key to success

Alexander Brasier, David Wacey, Mike Rogerson

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The search for life on Mars has taken a step forward with the NASA Curiosity rover’s discovery of organic matter on the bottom of what was once a lake. It may once have been part of an alien life form or it might have a non-biological origin – either way this carbon would have provided a food source for any organic living thing in the vicinity.

The discovery adds extra intrigue to NASA’s search for extra-terrestrial life forms themselves. When hunting remotely with one car-sized machine, the question is where best to focus your efforts. It makes sense to look for the same types of places we expect to find fossilised microorganisms on Earth. This is complicated by the fact that these fossils are measured in microns – mere millionths of a metre.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2018


  • NASA
  • Mars
  • Bacteria
  • Astrobiology
  • Fossils
  • California
  • Microbes
  • Biofilm
  • Alien life
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Curiosity Rover
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Los Angeles
  • Limestone
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Extraterrestrial
  • Stromatolites
  • Calcite
  • blue green algae


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