Research done on rocks in a chain of islands off the west coast of Scotland could prove that potential life on Mars has a very strange way of thriving, The Independent reports. The islands of Barra and Uist in the Outer Hebrides undergo earthquakes similar to “Marsquakes” on the red planet, and create hydrogen in the Earth’s crust. If such earthquakes are producing hydrogen on Earth, there is reason to believe Marsquakes do the same on Mars.
“Earthquakes cause friction, and our analysis of ancient rock in the Outer Hebrides has demonstrated how this creates hydrogen. Hydrogen is a fuel for simple microbes, so microbes could live off hydrogen created in the Earth’s subsurface as a result of seismic activity,” the lead researcher, Professor John Parnell, told The Independent. “This is a model that could apply to any other rocky planet, and on Mars there are so-called ‘Marsquakes’ that may produce hydrogen and therefore could feed life in the Martian sub-surface.”
NASA aims to record a Marsquake during its 2018 InSight mission to Mars.
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