A place has been found on Earth where even bacteria do not live

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A place has been found on Earth where even bacteria do not live
A place has been found on Earth where even bacteria do not live

Earth is the only planet known to science where life exists. Even in the most unfavorable places to live, you can find thriving groups of bacteria. For example, in the vents of hot volcanoes and in the depths of the oceans, it is easy to find extremophiles who are adapted to life in the harshest places. But recently, a group of microbiologists led by researcher Noah Fierer found a place on Earth where several difficult environmental conditions are concentrated at once: low air temperature and humidity, as well as high salinity. Scientists studied soil samples taken in this place and came to the conclusion that even the most persistent bacteria cannot survive in such a harsh place. Let's find out what point on our planet we are talking about and why the presence of a small piece of land without any life is very disturbing news for space lovers?

The harshest place on earth

The study conducted by microbiologists and its results were reported in Science News. In search of the most lifeless place on Earth, scientists went to Antarctica. And it was quite an obvious choice, because in this icy place, the chances of finding a thriving life in any case are extremely small. Of course, there are various microbes and some of them even have signs of alien creatures, but they are still very few in comparison with all the rest of the living creatures on our planet.

Noah Firer is a tough microbiologist. Earlier, he and his team found out that 9 thousand species of microbes live in house dust.

The most lifeless place in Antarctica turned out to be the Shackleton Glacier. The glacier, more than 96 kilometers long, was discovered during the Antarctic expedition of 1939-1941. It got its name from Ernest Shackleton, who is known as the Anglo-Irish explorer of Antarctica. This glacier somehow concentrated the three most unfavorable conditions for life: cold, dryness and high salinity. According to researcher Nick Dragone, the combination of several adverse environmental conditions makes life more difficult than either one alone.

Bird's eye view of Shackleton Glacier

In the course of scientific work, the researchers took about 200 samples of the surface of the Shackleton Glacier. In most of them, they were able to find and even identify different types of bacteria, but 20% of the samples were completely empty. Someone might say that scientists are clearly exaggerating, calling this glacier the most lifeless place on Earth. But there really is no such low concentration of living organisms - at least, scientists have not yet found a more devastated place.

Searching for life in space

If you dream that someday scientists will announce the discovery of alien life, finding a lifeless place on Earth is bad news for you. The fact is that scientists in the near future do not even hope to find "green men" in space. There is only hope that microscopic creatures will be found in the soil of Mars or another planet close to us. At the moment, the Perseverance rover and the Chinese research apparatus Chzhuzhong are engaged in the search for life on the Red Planet.

Even if bacteria do not exist even in terrestrial "harsh conditions", is there any hope for the discovery of life on Mars? Conditions across most of the planet are much worse than the Shackleton Glacier mentioned above. The surface of Mars contains even more salts, in addition to which there are other substances dangerous for the existence of life. The only hope is that there are bacteria or other forms of life unknown to science on Mars that are adapted to such a harsh environment.Well, or we just find there traces of long-extinct animals - there are reasons to believe that once upon a time Mars was a good place to live.

But let's look at the possibility of life on Mars from the other side. Indeed, this planet cannot be called hospitable - if you send people or animals there without special equipment, they will die very quickly. But there are clear signs of the existence of something alive on Mars. The Curiosity rover recently discovered the approximate location of a methane source. This gas is usually produced by microbes, so there is still a chance of detecting life. You can read more about methane on Mars at this link.

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