The high doses of radiation, lack of moisture and extreme temperature and pressure on the surface of Mars make the development of life difficult. Within this hostile environment, scientists are searching for “friendlier” niches that could encourage life. One of the candidate niches is the salt deposits.
A team from the Center of Astrobiology (CAB, INTA-CSIC) has analyzed this kind of environment on Earth: the salt deposits associated to a mineral with sulphur and iron named natrojarosite. It can be found in the Río Tinto basin in Huelva and is very similar to one detected on Mars: jarosite. Its presence reveals the past or present existence of water.
“The salt deposits are good ‘hosts’ for biological remains and even life itself in extreme circumstances,” as outlined to SINC by Felipe Gómez, coauthor of the study published in the journal Planetary and Space Science.