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The search for evidence of life on Mars could be helped by fresh insights into ancient rocks on Earth.

Research which suggests that structures previously thought to be fossils may, in fact, be mineral deposits could save future Mars missions valuable time and resources.

Microscopic tubes and filaments that resemble the remains of tiny creatures may have been formed by chemical reactions involving iron-rich minerals, the study shows.

Previous research had suggested that such structures were among the oldest fossils on Earth.

The new findings could aid the search for extraterrestrial life during future missions to Mars by making it easier to distinguish between fossils and non-biological structures.

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Category: Science