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Is the best place to find life on Mars under the surface?


That’s what a team of astrobiologists suggests:

Water is a key ingredient to many chemical processes. Some of those processes release energy when they occur. Radiolysis occurs when rocks break apart water that is trapped in their porous structure and then bombarded with radiation from the decay of radioactive isotopes in the rock formation. The broken water molecules release elemental oxygen and hydrogen.

Dr. Tarnas’ team was interested in whether the materials needed to support that radiolysis process would be present in the Martian subsurface. Three of the main ingredients they were looking for were radioactive elements such as thorium or potassium, sulfides that could be converted into sulfate with the addition of oxygen, and porous rocks that could trap the water for long enough for the radiolysis process to take effect.

Andy Tomaswick , “Universe Today” at Mars has the Right Conditions for Life Just Under the Surface

They did find such ingredients in Martian meteorites.

Who knows, maybe this will pan out too…

Normally, we could dismiss all this as wishful thinking — except there are the extremophiles on Earth, representing every domain of life:

The paper is closed access.

See also: Is intelligent life found in oceans inside planets and moons? The Ocean Planets Hypothesis is that intelligent beings may flourish in the interior oceans of the moons of gas giant planets — or within exoplanets — but they are trapped there. If intelligent life forms are trapped in the interior oceans of rocky moons and planets, Earth is a special planet—much better suited to space exploration.

Relying on radiation seems like a "rarified" way to get electrolysis. There are several chemical ways to make it happen, and a water column between dissimilar metals will electrolyze and react. polistra

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