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In 2020, NASA and European-Russian missions will look for evidence of past life on Mars. But while volcanic, igneous rock predominates on the Red Planet, virtually the entire Earth fossil record comes from sedimentary rocks.

Addressing the problem in Frontiers in Earth Science, Swedish scientists have begun compiling evidence of fossilized microbes in underexplored igneous rock environments on Earth, to help guide where to search for a Martian fossil record -- and what to look for.

"We propose a 'volcanic microfossil atlas' to help select target sites for missions seeking evidence of extraterrestrial life, such as the NASA Mars mission 2020 and ExoMars," says lead author Dr. Magnus Ivarsson. "The atlas could also help us recognize what Mars microfossils might look like, by identifying biosignatures associated with different types of fossilized microbes."

To read more, click here.


Category: Science