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Atmospheric Energy Limits on Subsurface Life on MarsIt has been suggested that the terrestrial biomass of subterranean organisms may equal or exceed that at the surface. Taken as a group, these organisms can live in heavily saline conditions at temperatures from 115 C to as low as -20 C. Such conditions might exist on Mars beneath the surface oxidant in an aquifer or hydrothermal system, where the surrounding rock would also protect against the solar ultraviolet radiation. The way that such systems could obtain energy and carbon is not completely clear, although it is believed that on Earth, energy flows from the interaction of highly reduced basalt with groundwater produce H2, while carbon is derived from CO2 dissolved in the groundwater. Another potential source is the Martian atmosphere, acting as a photochemical conduit of solar insolation.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Weiss, B. P. (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Yung, Y. L. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Nealson, K. H. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: The Fifth International Conference on Mars
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.