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January 15 2013

Life Surviving in Salty Spanish River Mimics Martians


The Tinto River in Spain provides little comfort for most life. The river is naturally similar to the toxic water leaking from old mines, known as acid mine drainage. However, within that harsh river, biologists identified pockets of salt that created an oasis for bacteria. Similar salt deposits on Mars could also provide refuge for life.

"The reason is that conditions in this environment [salt deposits] remain less adverse than those of their surroundings given that they provide protection from radiation, for example," said Felipe Gómez of Spainís Centro de Astrobiología in a press release, "and they keep moisture levels higher than outside.".

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