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Extremophiles, Archaeans, Biogenic Stromatolites, and Mars

21 Nov 2012, 04:23 UTC
Extremophiles, Archaeans, Biogenic Stromatolites, and Mars
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When a scientist teases the whole world about an "earth-shaking" discovery on Mars, you just can't help but think what it might be. In the age of social media, you can't help but tweet about it. I was going to tweet about extremophiles on impulse but I decided to dig (no pun intended) a little bit further to be more more specific. For some reason, the word "Stromatolites" came up in my head. But "Archaean Stromatolites" are the better deal. But now i think "Biogenic Stromatolites" is way much better.

Some Archaeans are extremophiles and this gives me a good reason to post about it here (because I love extremophiles!) In turn stromatolites are sedimentary structures produced by the activities of microorganisms (such as archaeans) in shallow water. Specifically, they precipitate calcium carbonate or limestone when they metabolize. Putting together the clues that I know, such as the evidence that water once flowed on Mars, I would think that these early hardy single-celled archaeans must have formed mats of stromatolites or calcites and their signature became fossilized and then eons later this badass curiosity rover came along and scooped up some of it and unpacked the chemical evidence with its ...

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