Desert Find Lends More Strength to Theories of Possible Life on Mars University of Arkansas

A University of Arkansas researcher has found methane-producing microorganisms in an unexpected place – arid desert soils. This finding strengthens the possibility that such microorganisms can exist under the conditions found on Mars and points the way to possible future experiments for detection of life on a distant planet. Tim Kral, professor of biological sciences in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, along with researchers from the University of Southern California reported their findings online in the journal Icarus. “You don’t commonly find organisms such as methanogens in dry areas,” said Kral. “But finding them in a dry area on Earth is especially significant because the surface of Mars is dry.”