Aeolian transport of viable microbial life across the Atacama Desert, Chile: Implications for Mars
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Here we inspect whether microbial life may disperse using dust transported by wind in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, a well-known Mars analog model. By setting a simple experiment across the hyperarid core of the Atacama we found that a number of viable bacteria and fungi are in fact able to traverse the driest and most UV irradiated desert on Earth unscathed using wind-transported dust, particularly in the later afternoon hours. This finding suggests that microbial life on Mars, extant or past, may have similarly benefited from aeolian transport to move across the planet and find suitable habitats to thrive and evolve. © 2019, The Author(s).
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Author Correction: Aeolian transport of viable microbial life across the Atacama Desert, Chile: Implications for Mars (Scientific Reports, (2019), 9, 1, (11024), 10.1038/s41598-019-47394-z) (2020) Azua-Bustos A.; González-Silva C.; Fernández-Martínez M.Á.; Arenas-Fajardo C.; Fonseca R.; Martín-Torres F.J.; Fernández-Sampedro M.; Fairén A.G.; Zorzano M.-P. (Nature Research, 2020)
Inhabited subsurface wet smectites in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert as an analog for the search for life on Mars (2020) Azua-Bustos, Armando; Fairén, Alberto G.; González Silva, Carlos; Carrizo, Daniel; Fernández-Martínez, Miguel Ángel; Arenas-Fajardo, Cristián; Fernández-Sampedro, Maite; Gil-Lozano, Carolina; Sánchez-García, Laura; Ascaso, Carmen; ... (Nature Research, 2020-12-01)The modern Martian surface is unlikely to be habitable due to its extreme aridity among other environmental factors. This is the reason why the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert has been studied as an analog for the ...
Author Correction: Unprecedented rains decimate surface microbial communities in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert (Scientific Reports, (2018), 8, 1, (16706), 10.1038/s41598-018-35051-w) (2020) Azua-Bustos A.; Fairén A.G.; González-Silva C.; Ascaso C.; Carrizo D.; Fernández-Martínez M.Á.; Fernández-Sampedro M.; García-Descalzo L.; García-Villadangos M.; Martin-Redondo M.P.; ... (Nature Publishing Group, 2019)