Could the first life on Mars end due to climate change?

Although there is currently no water on the surface of Mars, which is located 4th from the sun in the solar system, it is believed to have been a water-covered planet in ancient times. In ancient Mars, where water was essential for the birth of life, the first life on Mars caused a change in climate, suggesting the possibility that the Martian environment would be so cold that life could not survive.

On October 10, a paper was published in the journal Nature Astronomy that the early habitation of Mars and the cooling of the entire planet were caused by hydrogen-based methanogenic microorganisms. According to this paper, the atmosphere of Mars 3.7 billion years ago was similar to that of Earth at the same time, but the first life on Mars, the microorganisms that use hydrogen and produce methane, cooled the atmosphere to the point where living things could not survive, so living things like today It has been transformed into an environment that does not exist.

The research team created a model to simulate a microorganism that uses hydrogen to produce methane. As a result, Earth becomes a star full of life and Mars becomes a non-living star due to the difference in gas composition between Earth and Mars and the relative distance from the Sun.

As Mars is further away from the sun than Earth, it relies heavily on a layer of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen. However, microorganisms that use hydrogen to produce methane use hydrogen, a powerful greenhouse gas, and produce methane, a greenhouse gas that is worse than hydrogen. As a result, Mars slowly lost its ability to trap heat in its atmosphere, eventually turning Mars into a rather cold, complex, life-developing planet.

Simulations show that when the surface temperature of Mars drops from 14 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit to -70 degrees Fahrenheit, microbes flee to the warmer crust. After that, if the cooling phenomenon continues, it will penetrate to a depth of more than 1 km underground in just a few hundred million years. The team examines traces of micro-organisms to prove that this reasoning is correct. No traces of microorganisms have been found at this time, but in 2021, NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity detected a sudden increase in methane gas. So methane-producing microorganisms on Mars could still survive.

An official from IBENS, one of the research teams, the National Institute of Advanced Normal Biology in Paris, France, said that the components of life are ubiquitous in the universe. Life disappears quickly because it is difficult to do, and it’ the study shows that even primitive creatures can have self-destructive effects on the environment. Relevant information can be found here.

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