Extreme spots on Earth may yield clues to life on Mars The Mercury News

Nathalie Cabrol will never get to Mars, but the 42-year-old NASA planetary scientist is doing the next best thing.
She’s climbed almost 20,000 feet into the thin air of an Andes mountain peak, dived into some of the world’s highest lakes and sent a robot across a windswept Chilean desert – all in a quest to learn how life once might have existed, or may still exist, on the Red Planet.
The French-born Cabrol is one of a growing flock of biologists and geologists – called “astrobiologists” – who are going to the ends of the Earth to find parallels to the cold, dry Martian environment.