Geo-microbiologist Yohey Suzuki says clay minerals can be considered 'magic material on Earth' one can always find microbes living in them.
NASA’s Curiosity rover is digging on Mars to explore possibilities of life there, and the American space agency NASA’s scientists have long tried to unravel its secrets, but despite all their efforts, it is actually a study conducted on Earth that has given humanity the best chance of cracking the Red Planet’s code! CNET.com reports that a geo-microbiologist from the University of Tokyo, Yohey Suzuki, has spent years studying the ancient volcanic rocks lying in deep seabeds in search of elusive bacterial life. His decades-long search finally bore fruit recently when he looked “through the cracks”. Suzuki was quoted as saying that watching the rich microbial life in rocks was like a dream for him.
Suzuki and his team had tried breaking and grinding basalt rocks from the Pacific Ocean bed that had formed between 13.5 million and 104 million years ago due to undersea volcanic activity. When their attempts failed, they first stabilized the rocks with epoxy and then sliced thin sheets off them that could be viewed under the microscope.
And to it, the team of scientists from the University of Tokyo then added a certain dye that makes DNA pop out, and the whole thing came to life. In these slices, Suzuki and his team then noticed bacteria that were densely packed into these tiny cracks filled with clay minerals.
Suzuki was quoted saying that clay minerals can be considered ‘magic material on Earth’ because every time one finds clay minerals they can be sure of finding microbes living in them. He added that the cracks in rocks are an extremely friendly place for life to thrive.
Johnson Space Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is now teaming up with Suzuki to explore ways in which this technology could be used to study rocks on Mars. And Suzuki says that he now almost “over expects” the possibility of finding life on Mars. His findings have been published in the journal of Communications Biology.