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Ancient bacteria might lurk beneath Mars’ surface

October 25, 2022

When Mars’ first samples return to Earth, scientists should be on the lookout for ancient sleeping bacteria, a new study has found.

In a first-of-its-kind study, a research team, including Northwestern University’s Brian Hoffman and Ajay Sharma, found that ancient bacteria could survive close to the surface on Mars much longer than previously assumed. And — when the bacteria are buried and, thus, shielded from galactic cosmic radiation and solar protons — they can survive much longer.

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