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How Do Modern Extreme Hydrothermal Environments Inform the Identification of Martian Habitability? The Case of the El Tatio Geyser Field

Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali, Università di Bologna, Via Zamboni 67, 40126 Bologna, Italy
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Challenges 2014, 5(2), 430-443; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe5020430
Received: 26 August 2014 / Revised: 27 October 2014 / Accepted: 3 November 2014 / Published: 13 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Astrobiology)
Despite the success in knowledge gained by the Mars missions in the last two decades, the search for traces of life on Mars is still in progress. The reconstruction of (paleo-) environments on Mars have seen a dramatic increase, in particular with regard to the potentially habitable conditions, and it is now possible to recognize a significant role to subaerial hydrothermal processes. For this reason, and because the conditions of the primordial Earth—when these extreme environments had to be common—probably resembled Mars during its most suitable time to host life, research on terrestrial extreme hydrothermal habitats may assist in understanding how to recognize life on Mars. A number of geological and environmental reasons, and logistics opportunities, make the geothermal field of El Tatio, in the Chilean Andes an ideal location to study. View Full-Text
Keywords: El Tatio geyser field; microbial life; martian life traces detection; mars analog habitats El Tatio geyser field; microbial life; martian life traces detection; mars analog habitats
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Barbieri, R.; Cavalazzi, B. How Do Modern Extreme Hydrothermal Environments Inform the Identification of Martian Habitability? The Case of the El Tatio Geyser Field. Challenges 2014, 5, 430-443.

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