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Geologists working in northern Chile have found resemblances between hot spring silica pledges on Earth and deposits snapped on Mars nine years ago – and they consider they could be indication of past life on the Mars. These types of pledges on Earth naturally comprise microorganism fossils, and though NASA's Spirit rover could not look for proof of life back in 2007, the research could ready another rover visit to the Home Plate plateau on Mars.

Arizona State University

The team from Arizona State University exited looking for silica structures in El Tatio alike to those snapped on Mars, and say the closest matches were those created by a mixture of biological and non-biological developments – hot spring pledges formed with the help of small organisms. "The fact that microbes play a role in creating the typical silica structures at El Tatio promotions the option that the Martian silica structures designed in a similar manner," as says one of the scholars Steve Ruff. "With the support of bacteria those were lively at the time." The idea that hot springs had formed the Home Plate pledges was elevated when they were first snapped, but the discoveries in Chile give the hypothesis more reliability. That is partly because the atmosphere at El Tatio is so Mars-like: freezing temperatures at night, abundantly of ultraviolet light from the Sun, and thin, dry air.

"Such circumstances deliver a better environmental equivalent for Mars, than those of Yellowstone National Park (USA) and other famous geothermal places on our planet," as written by the Ruff and his partner Jack Farmer in the Nature.

Researchers do not rule out the option that the silica pledges on Mars were formed through non-biological procedures, but they also say the fingerlike designs in Chile are "among the most Mars-like of any silica pledges on planet Earth".

Founded on what we know about Mars up to now, it is expected that the only antique fossils we're going to find will be microscopic ones. The problem identifies where to look, which is where the new study can help. If we need to take additional pass at this part of Martian land, the next NASA rover to head to the Red Planet is due to takeoff in 2020. Unfortunately, Spirit was discharged in 2011 after getting jammed in soft soil. Even then, we might necessity to return Martian rocks to workrooms on Earth before we can finally say life once occurred on the planet – but we're getting nearer all the time.

NASA is still deciding where its 2020 rover should wander, but the Home Plate site is currently 2nd on a list of eight options, and Ruff and Farmer are support its enclosure in the final list of four. "This is a known hydrothermal pledge," says Ruff. "We know exactly where to land and where to go collect samples, and the silica arrangements found by Spirit fulfill the definition of a potential bio signature."

Spot difference (Mars on the left while Chile on the right):

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