For the last few decades NASA has been leaving few stones on the surface of Mars unturned—quite literally in some cases—in the search for extraterrestrial life within our own Solar System. But now an international team of researchers has found what may be a biosignature in the atmosphere of the
Researchers have discovered the presence of significant numbers of living microorganisms–mostly bacteria–in the middle and upper troposphere, the part of the atmosphere four to six miles above the Earth’s surface. In other words, the clouds are filled with germs! Do they fall to Earth when it rains? (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this incredible show).
They haven’t yet figured out whether these microorganisms routinely inhabit this portion of the atmosphere or whether they were simply lofted there from the Earth’s surface.
NASA satellites are capturing incredible images of some of our strangest clouds, which are increasing in frequency and extent.
In BBC News, Jonathan Amos quotes NASA scientist James Russell as saying, “These clouds are getting brighter with time, they’re seen more often and also they’re being seen at lower latitudes. These are things we don’t understand and they all suggest a possible connection to global change; and we need to understand that connection and what it means for the whole atmosphere.”
Amos quotes eteorologist Gary Thomas as saying, “There are rings in the clouds that appear quite frequently. They’re extremely variable. In just a few minutes, these holes are gone and others can appear. And some of these rings are huge?300-400 miles across.”