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November 2015
Lyall Winston Small

This booklet is an informal presentation of images illustrating

one aspect of my view that Mars has supported past and perhaps
extant microbial life similar to ours and that its signs exist in
several of the images sent back from that planet by Mars
Rovers, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity.
It compares images of Living Rocks on Earth with images of
Martian Stromatolite Like Rocks (MSLRs) from the MER and
MSL archives. It is concluded that there are enough similarities
between the images to indicate that they might have similar
functions and origins.
It is suggested that NASAs understandably strict protocols for
the definitive identification of life on Mars ensures that an
announcement of such a discovery will be long in coming even
though MSLRs might abound on Mars. In the interim, a visual
demonstration of the possible widespread existence of life on
Mars might help to underscore the urgency for refining space
exploration protocols to ensure that rigorous proactive
Planetary Protection Policies are in place for future missions
to Mars and other planetary bodies.

1: Introduction
2: Background.
3: The Stromatolite family of rocks
3.1: General morphological characteristics
3.2: Range of Earths Stromatolite Like rock types
3.3: Range of putative MSLRs on Mars
4: Comparing Earth and putative Mars MSLRs
5: Theyre all over Mars!
5.1: Some more images from Curiosity
5.2: Some more images from Opportunity
5.3: Some more images from Spirit
6: Fossils or Living Rocks?
7: Conclusions
Annex 1: Abbreviations and Definitions
Annex 2: Source URLs for illustrations.
Annex 3: Internet References.

Chapter One
My ebook, On Debris Flows, made a case for the
involvement of debris flows and veins in nurturing and
disseminating putative microbial life on Mars. This one
continues that theme but concentrates on showing visual
similarities between living rocks on Earth and certain rocks on
Mars but also suggests that some Martian rocks may indeed be
of themselves, Living Rocks.
The images used in this book come from two main sources,
the NASA/JPL/Caltech Internet archives of raw images taken
by the Mars Rovers and a miscellany of images of
Microbialites on Earth. All images were sourced from the
Internet and are acknowledged in Annex 2.
I processed the images from the Mars Rovers that are used in
the book. The Gimp image processing programme was used
to autoequalize or white balance most of them to produce results
that, imho, more closely matches with what the human eye
might see on Mars. Some images were also sharpened in Gimp
to bring out features that I considered needed to be highlighted.
Several of my images are 3D anaglyphs that require the reader
to use Red/Blue 3D anaglyph glasses. Those images were all
made using the StereoPhotomaker application.
The main argument against the validity of the major premise
of this book is that it is based on unproven visual similarities
only and that such similarities are more likely to be accidental
than meaningful and should therefore be ignored until adequate
proofs are available.

That would be a perfectly rational approach if current

capabilities of the Rovers allowed for quick, definitive actions
to prove or disprove any assertion that the MSLRs were the
same as Earths stromatolites.
It should be recognized, however, that if a visual similarity is
found in only one or very few places it should be deemed, if
not butressed by other considerations, to be purely accidental.
If it consistently recurs in several widely different places on
Mars surface and in widely different environments there I think
we should take a closer look at the phenomenon as it then
becomes meaningful. This book shows that MSLR's have been
found by all the Mars rovers in each of the extended areas they
examined. That alone should suggest that the resemblances are
probably meaningful and not necessarily accidental.
In addition, the Stromatolite "look alike phenomenon also
becomes meaningful if one takes into account a number of other
factors. One such factor is that Stromatolites are now
recognized as possibly the earliest form of life on Earth.
Therefore a finding that stromatolite look alikes are of
widespread occurrence on Mars should be of highly significant
importance as a pointer to early Life there and that such life
might be similar in some respects to ours. Research in this
area should therefore be treated with the priority intrinsic to
such a possibility occurring.
The Mars rovers are not now capable of definitively proving if
an MSLR was once living or not. They don't have the analytical
chemistry or geochemistry capability to do so. However, it
must be pointed out that the main study that found that Gale
crater had all the chemical elements that were characteristic of
Earth life as well as other prerequisites that suggested
habitability in the past, was carried out on samples taken from
an area replete with putative MSLRs.
In view of the above and that issues of planetary protection are
of paramount importance to the future of planetary exploration

I think that NASA cannot just dismiss the possibility of

meaningful resemblance in this case and deem the several
instances of similarity as accidental. They have to be treated
as having a fairly high probability of being meaningful.
If one extrapolates from Gil Levins findings in 1976. Life
exists on Mars right now just below the surface. For it to exist
there now means that it probably existed long ago in the past
and that the microbes involved in their production might still
exist on Mars' surface. That factor alone increases the
probability of resemblances between Stromatolites and MSLRs
being meaningful and not accidental.
It therefore seems likely that, if the search for life on Mars is
the unspoken goal of the current exploration of Mars, one thing
that the Relevant Authorities should be exploring there is the
presence of rocks that resemble stromatolites and examining
them as thoroughly as the capacities of the Rovers allow.
It is suggested that under ordinary situations it might be
unscientific to use looks like as an important feature of an
investigation. This case is different. It is currently the only
way to get a feel for if there is a distinct possibility that Mars
has Stromatolite like rocks on its surface or not. It should
therefore be embraced until more elegant 21st century methods
become available.
I decided to put together a simple illustrated ebook that could
be used by most persons interested in Mars to compare images
of rocks acquired by the Mars Rovers (which I term Martian
Stromatolite Like Rocks or MSLRs ) with typical
Stromatolites, the living rocks found on Earth.
I hope that this book will help to trigger a wider appreciation
of the possibility that fossil and perhaps even living
stromatolites, might exist in abundance on Mars.

A number of facts suggest that the possibility that there might

have been significant colonization of Mars surface by
Stromatolite types is not a novel one for the NASA/JPL/Caltech
Rover scientists. The naming of some sites for in-depth
observations is one of the main pointers to this. Such names
as the Pilbara target on Opportunity sol 88, very early in that
campaign, indicates that they were at least aware that there
might be a linkage of stromatolites with that target. Similarly
the Cercedilla and Wopmay names on Earth are closely linked
with stromatolites as well as the Pahrump name.
Another pointer is that NASA is pursuing active collaborations
with Universities around the world on the study of various
aspects of stromatolite growth in locations that are well known
for stromatolites or ancient living rocks. The existence of the
Evolutionary Research group, that trains Rover operators to
recognize Stromatolite like rocks on Mars, also suggests that
NASA is well aware of the possible and perhaps even likely
existence of fossil stromatolites on Mars.

Chapter Two
Wikipedia gives a succinct and clear treatment on the subject
of Stromatolites. Below is a summary of the essential points
in their treatment of the topic.
Stromatolites are layered bio-chemical accretionary structures
formed in shallow water by the trapping, binding and
cementation of sedimentary grains by microbial mats of such
microorganisms as cyanobacteria sp. Lichen stromatolites are
another proposed mechanism of formation of some kinds of
layered rock structure that is formed above water, where rock
meets air, by repeated colonization of the rock by endolithic
lichens. It has only been recently been recognized that Taphoni
rocks have an intimate formative relationship with Bacteria.
Several rocks that resemble Taphoni have been imaged by
Curiosity and possibly the other Rovers as well.
A variety of stromatolite morphologies exists, including
conical, stratiform, branching, domal, and columnar types.
While features of some stromatolites are suggestive of
biological activity, others might be abiotic.
Stromatolitic bacteria bind sediment grains together by their
excretions, forming layers that correspond to periods of high
activity. This results in sometimes elaborate structures
providing shelter and protection from a harsh environment.
Stromatolites are a major constituent of the fossil record of the
first forms of life on earth. Their earliest fossils date to 3.5
billion years ago with a peak in abundance about 1.25 billion
years ago.

Cyanobacteria use water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight to create

their food. A layer of mucus often forms over mats of
cyanobacterial cells. In modern microbial mats, debris from the
surrounding habitat can become trapped within the mucus,
which can be cemented together by the calcium carbonate to
grow thin laminations of limestone. These successive
laminations accrete over time, resulting in the banded pattern
common to stromatolites. The domal morphology of biological
stromatolites is postulated as the result of the vertical growth
necessary for the continued infiltration of sunlight to the
organisms for photosynthesis. Layered spherical growth
structures termed oncolites are similar to stromatolites.
Thrombolites are poorly laminated or non-laminated clotted
structures formed by cyanobacteria.
Modern stromatolites are mostly found in hypersaline lakes and
marine lagoons where extreme conditions exists. Some
examples of these are Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve,
Shark Bay in Western Australia and "Salty Lake", Brazil.
Inland stromatolites can be found in saline waters in Cuatro
Cinegas and in Lake Alchichica in Mexico. The only open
marine environment where modern stromatolites are known to
prosper is the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Modern
Microbialite towers exist in Pavilion Lake, British Columbia
as well as Laguna Bacalar in Mexico's southern Yucatn
Peninsula where an extensive formation of living giant
microbialites (that is, stromatolites or thrombolites) exist.
Freshwater stromatolites are found in Lake Salda in southern
Turkey and at Pavilion and Kelly Lakes in British Columbia,
Canada. Pavilion Lake has the largest known freshwater
stromatolites and has been researched by NASA. NASA, the

Canadian Space Agency and numerous universities from

around the world are collaborating on a project centered around
studying microbialite life in the lakes. Called the "Pavilion Lake
Research Project" (PLRP). The end goal of that project is to
better understand what conditions would be likely to harbor life
on other planets.
Modern living Microbialites have been discovered in an open
pit pond at an abandoned asbestos mine near Clinton Creek,
Yukon, Canada. These microbialites are extremely young and
began forming soon after the mine closed in 1978.
A rare type of non-lake dwelling stromatolite lives in the Nettle
Cave at Jenolan Caves, NSW, Australia. The cyanobacteria
there live on the surface of the limestone and are sustained by
the calcium rich dripping water.
My 2012 book, in search of life on Mars, as well as my most
recent one in September 2015, on Debris Flows and Veins
identified Stromatolites as one of the likely examples of life on
In looking over the last book I realized that there was a need
for more clearly promoting Stromatolites, fossil or otherwise,
as arguably the most important example of putative life on
I had been collecting images from the Mars rovers since 2004
so I thought that it should be easy to compare images of Earth
stromatolites with what I thought would be only a few putative
Mars Stromatolite Like Rocks (MSLRs) imaged by the MER
and Curiosity rovers. I was surprised to discover that I had
actually collected hundreds of images from the image archives
which could be classed as MSLRs and that it appears that

NASA/JPL/Caltech had itself done quite a lot of detailed work

on several of the MSLRs that its rovers had encountered at
Meridiani, Gusev and Gale. Indeed, it might even be
considered that some priority had been given to them in terms
of detailed treatment in that many of the chemistry
breakthroughs so far have come from analyses of MSLRs.
While assembling the comparisons it occurred to me that there
were underlying constants associated with most of the MSLRs.
These were the presence of debris flows or a dark staining of
the soil at their bases and sometimes the nearby presence of
mineral veins. In addition, there were some images at a few
sites (most notable being the Garden City site at Pahrump)
where there was a phenomenon of veined objects (special
MSLRs) that showed a consistent association between layers
of dark muddy strips with small veins anastamosing within the
dark layer which separated the pale nodular layers that
appeared to consist primarily of mineral vein materials.
The presence of fresh mud in some of these images suggested
to me that these might be contemporary growths and not just
snapshots of frozen events from eons ago. Several images in
this book illustrate my speculation that current microbial
interactions on Mars might rationally explain many of the
observations that seem to be in conflict with the current
paradigm that there was, and is, no life on Mars.

Chapter Three
3.1 General morphological characteristics
The stromatolite family of rocks generally display the following
morphological characteristics.
1) Presence of lithified remnants of the microbial mats that
were involved in the formation of the rock. The remnants may
be in the form of thin or thick mats, or diffused crusts or may
sometimes not be evident because of mixture with the chemical
constituents of the rock which they precipitated. It is possible
that putative Martian mats might be even thinner than Earths
and may therefore not be visible at MSL resolutions.
2) The rocks often have a layered appearance with several fine
layers representative of periods of activity of the mats which
might be as short as a few days. The layers are therefore
usually much finer than typical geological layers.
3) The shapes of stromatolites may vary greatly between such
types as the laminar type; the domal type; the bumpy type which
consists of small objects cemented together by slime from the
microbial mats; spheroids; crusty types;veined types; indented
types; pinnacles; weathered types; mixed or combo types; and
thrombolites, a type that exhibits little interior differentiation.
The following sections presents images of common types of
Microbialites and compares them with images of MSLRs from
the Mars Rovers.

3.2 Range of Earth types

The following is a number of images showing selected
stromatolites or thrombolites in various localities on Earth
viewed at 2 different levels of observation;
1) macro groupings of stromatolites identifiable as specific
2) individual stromatolites displaying characteristic diagnostic
The images were all sourced from Internet sites that are
acknowledged and indicated in Annex II.

Fig 3.2.1; P 1010469-Diffused mats, Evolutionary Research Stromatolite site

Fig 3.2.2; P1010298- thin mats, Evolutionary Research site

Fig 3.2.3; P1010456-thick mats, Evolutionary Research site

Fig 3.2.4, Mixed types - Fossil Forum

Fig 3.2.5, Pavilion Lake Microbialite Pinnacles

Fig 3.2.6; P1010460-thick crusts, Evolutionary Research site

Fig 3.2.7; Living bumpy Stromatolites from Shark Bay Australia

Fig 3.2.8;

Domal Stromatolites from Eastern Pilbara, Australia

Fig 3.2.9; Lake Thetis Thrombolites.

Fine features of Earths Stromatolites

Fig 3.2.10;

P1010007-Eroded traditional spheroid , from Evolutionary Research Site

Fig 3.2.11; P1010213-thick mats, from Evolutionary Research Site

Fig 3.2.12; P1010097-Diffused Mats, from Evolutionary Research Site

Fig 3.2.13;

P1010112-Thin mats from Evolutionary Research Site

Fig 3.2.14; P1010117-traditional spheroid forms, from Evolutionary Research Site

Fig 3.2.15; A-115-Weathered, veined and crusty, from Evolutionary Research Site

Fig 3.2.16; P1010214-Thick crusts and veined from Evolutionary Research Site

Fig 3.2.17 WPGR-107A-bumpy type, from Evolutionary Research Site

3.3 Range of putative MSLRs on Mars

I searched through the MER and MSL archives for images of
rocks which resembled the rocks given in the preceding section
and found several such rocks in all of the Rovers archives.
However they was a clear preponderance of classical laminar
and domal types followed perhaps by the bumpy stromatolite
Re. the bumpy types there were a few images, mainly from
Spirit, that, even though similar morphologically to the earth
types were probably vesiculated basalts. Two images of
vesiculated basalts are shown below in Figs 3.3.1 and 3.3.2.
Tafoni are a type of limestone or granitic rock that is relatively
common on Earth. These rocks were until recently considered
to be merely products of mechanical erosion by water.

Fig 3.3.1; MSL s522, Vesiculated basalt, not a Stromatolite

Fig 3.3.1a; Spirit s736 MI details of a vesiculated basalt

However microbial input in their formation has been recently

demonstrated and in fact a process of producing them for
dwellings using the microbe, bacillus pasteurii, is being
Several images of Tafoni from diverse environments on Earth
can be found on the Internet. Many of these have strong
similarities to some images of rocks in the Mars Rovers
archives. Below , Fig 3.3.2a is just one example of a Tafoni
rock on Earth compared with Fig 3.3.2b, a rock with similar
visual characteristics from MSL 1090 on Mars. Fig 3.3.2c is
a more typical Earth Tafoni rock compared with rocks from
Curiosity sol 0057 and sol 1003 in Fig 3.3.2d 3.3.2e.
A number of representative images of MSLRs from the archives
of the Mars Rovers are presented on the pages following.

Fig 3.3.2a; Tafoni from Digital Yak

Fig 3.3.2b; MSL 1090, Tafoni like shapes

Fig 3.3.2c; Typical Tafoni with lichens from Wikimedia commons

Fig 3.3.2d: MSL s57 Tafoni like rock

Fig 3.3.2e: MSL s1003; Holey rock resembling tafoni

Fig 3.3.3; Opportunity s259; domal stromatolite, Wopmay

Fig 3.3.3 b: Closeup of Wopmay surface textures typical of several examples of

Living stromatolites on Earth especially in Shark Bay, Australia.

Fig 3.3.4a; MSL s938, Line of MSLR pinnacles at Garden City, Pahrump hills

Fig 3.3.4; Opportunity s488; mixed bumpy and layered stromatolites

Fig 3.3.5; MSL s1063, Thin mats

Fig 3.3.6; MSL s1047; Domal mixed type

Fig 3.3.7; MSL s122; Eroded domal type or Thrombolite

Fig 3.3.8; Spirit s1141; Combo type bumpy and spheroid.

Fig 3.3.9; MSL s0744; Thrombolites

Fig 3.3.10; MSL s946; Mixed veined MSLR

Fig 3.3.11; MSL s1142; layers in MSLR.

Fig 3.3.12; MSL s514; Veins intertwined with rock matrix.

Fig 3.3.13; MSL s540; 3D anaglyph of Bumpy stromatolite

Fig 3.3.14; MSL s308 3D anaglyph of bumpy stromatolite

Fig 3.3.15; Opportunity s2716; Bumpy stromatolite

Fig 3.3.16; MSL s528, Thrombolite

Chapter Four

Fig 4.1; Delaminating stromatolite from Brazil

Fig 4.2; MSL s710; delaminating MSLRs

Fig 4.3; Section of Spheroid form P101286 from Evolutionary Research Site

Fig 4.4; MSL s901; Intact spheroid with pale crust on top.

Fig 4.5; Living thrombolite at Shark Bay, Australia

Fig 4.6; MSL s0308- Thrombolite look alike

Fig 4.7; Microbialites from Pavilion Lake, Canada.

Fig 4.8; Opportunity s88; Microbialites at Fram crater

Fig 4.9; Opportunity s4180; Microbialite 3D anaglyph

Fig 4.10; Domal type at Hamelin Pool, Australia.

Fig 4.11; Opportunity s1160, Fresh crater; Domal types.

Fig 4.12; \P1010080-veined-crusty stromatolite from Evolutionary Research Site

Fig 4.13; MSL s0930, 3D anaglyph of veined crusty MSLR

Fig 4.14; Mixed spheroid, Otago 070792

Fig 4.15; Spirit s491, mixed spheroid, layered

Fig 4.16; bumpy stromatolite WPGR-104, from Evolutionary Research site. Small
layers present with a corkscrew appearance.

Fig 4.17; Opportunity s2716, Bumpy MLSR

Fig 4.18; MSL s540 3D Bumpy MLSR, note corkscrew like layering.

Fig 4.19; Classical domal stromatolites from Pilbara

Fig 4.20: MSL s906; Domal MSLR with similar layering

Fig 4.21; Spheroid types from iron eating microbes

Fig 4.22; Opportunity s3064; 1M400199078; Newberries

Fig 4.23; WPGR-105A-bumpy, from Evolutionary Research Site

Fig 4.24; Spirit s0075; Mixed type

Fig 4.25; from P1010213-thick mats, Evolutionary Research site

Fig 4.26; MSL s1031 Veined and thick mats under rock overhang

Fig 4.27; from P1010089-crusty mixed stromatolite, Evolutionary Research Site

Fig 4.28; MSL s544; mixed crusty MSLR type,

Chapter Five
5.1: Some more images from Curiosity
Below are some images of rocks resembling the Stromatolite
family of rocks that were posted on the NASA/JPL/Caltech raw
images websites for MSL images. Because of space limitations
I chose only three of the images in my collection that I have
not already used in this ebook for the named rover. The image
below in Fig 5.1.1 is of a John Klien MSLR. Fig 5.1.2 shows
an intruiging image of a rock that appears to be sitting on a big
debris flow emanating from what looks like a small cave. Fig
5.1.3 is a 3D anaglyph of a MAHLI image of an outgrowth on
a rock resembling a microbialite.

Fig 5.1.1; MSL s186, Domal mixed types

Fig 5.1.2; MSL s0781; Combo type MSLR and debris flows

Fig 5.1.3; MSL s0758; 3D anaglyph of MSLRs resembling microbialite pinnacle

5.2: Some more images from Opportunity

The next three images were taken from the Opportunity raw
image resources. Fig 5.2.1, below is of a rock from MERb sol
1178 that arguably shows internal layering with some
differential colouring that might indicate microbial action.
Fig 5.2.2 shows rocks that mimics a combo crusty laminar
Fig 5.2.3 shows a collection of rocks that display some
characteristics of a typical domal stromatolite.
The Opportunity archive of images was not as fully subscribed
with examples of possible stromatolites as was the Curiosity

Fig 5.2.1; Opportunity s1178; Domal type. Colours suggestive of mats

Fig 5.2.2; Opportunity s3067, Mixed bumpy and domed type

Fig 5.2.3; Opportunity s1097; Domal type

5.3: Some more images from Spirit

Spirit provided less images that might be examples of
stromatolitic rocks, than did Opportunity. Below, in fig 5.3.1,
is an example of layered types which might be examples of
induration of debris flows. Fig 5.3.2 shows a typical domed
stromatolite from sol 78. Fig 5.3.3 appears to be primarily a
layered type from sol 488.
There are a number of other examples of rocks from Spirit
which bear some morphological similarity to Earths
stromatolites. Some of them are on my smugmug picture site.

Fig 5.3.1; Spirit s1146; Layered types and debris flows

Fig 5.3.2; Spirit s0078; domal type

Fig 5.3.3; Spirit s488; Mixed bumpy and domal types

Fossils or Living Rocks?
It is quite possible, indeed even likely, that many of the images
of rocks on Mars that I have presented as Martian Stromatolite
Like Rocks (MSLRs) are merely fossils or even just rocks.
However, It is my contention that some of them or parts of them
might be actually living at this time. My rationale for this
comes from the following considerations.
1) Gil Levins LR experiment in 1976 identified chemical
reactions in soil on Mars that were most likely the result of
metabolic reactions by living microbes. If he was right then
such microbes must be ubiquitous and must be leaving tell tale
signs over much of Mars landscape.
2) It has recently been announced that the RSLs on Mars are
likely to be the result of transient flows of brines down crater
walls. It is likely that these brines carry microbial life.
3) If RSLs are powered by brines it is also likely that the
visually similar Debris Flows, captured in many images by
the three Rovers on Mars, are also powered by flows of brines.
If so there is some likelihood that the brines also carry
microbes, one type of which might be martian cyanobacteria
analogues that live in the subsurface and assist in the
development of martian stromatolites and other rocks from the
subsurface rather than from immersion in shallow water as is
usually the case on Earth. Indeed, it may be that the Stromatolite
model on Mars might be similar to the Lichen stromatolites on
Earth which mineralize rocks from a damp environment on the
base of the rocks.

4) Several of the images of degraded rock surfaces are observed

to have a blue - green colour which might indicate the presence
of chlorophyll or of activity by Cyanobacteria analogues.
5) Several images of rocks broken by Rover wheels show an
eruption of soil from the subsurface that looks like
characteristically friable earth soil and often appears to be
damp. Thus closed conditions might exist in the subsurface that
would support significant bacterial life.
6) A large preponderance of rocks that resemble stromatolites
are associated with current debris flows and with veins in a
manner that is visually similar to some living Earth stromatolites.
7) Exposed undersurfaces of rocks often display veins that
appear to be quite fresh running on their surfaces. I think this
is suggestive of contemporary growth.
8) In certain areas Veins are a major component of rock types
that totally mimic the appearance of some living Earth
stromatolites. Such areas are also rich in clays.
9) There is therefore a likelihood that many of the veins
associated with some stromatolites are currently active and
10) Several images of the undersurfaces of rocks dislodged by
Rover action are smeared with fresh mud-like soil that looks
friable and damp. This process is probably a current one related
to the build up of the contiguous mudstone layers.
11) Several images, especially from Curiosity, suggest that a
mumber of stromatolitic features are currently being produced
from soil lying below overhangs of eroding layered rock.

12) A number of images taken in the shadows below some rock

overhangs also show fragile structures arising from the soil
and seemingly currently active and not merely fossilized
13) A number of pale coverings have been imaged on rocks
(mainly by Curiosity) that were most likely laid down after the
rock was formed. Some of these coatings have textures that
appear identical to those of some living rocks on Earth
14) Some MSLRs, imaged by the Rovers, show rinds or
coverings that resemble the crusts on living stromatolites at
Pilbara in Australia.
15) The undersurface of some rocks show structures
reminiscent of hollow chambers which might indicate former
subsurface activity. These overturned rocks are often
associated with debris flows.
16) Several images suggest that a process is underway on the
sides of slopes that results in the current development of thin
layers of rock. These layers appear to be developing from
ongoing accumulation of debris flows emanating from under
rocks higher up the slopes. There might be microbial facilitation
of this process modelled on tafoni type microbe interactions.
17) The ubiquitous presence of heavily delaminated layers,
especially at Gale crater, suggests that something more than
straightforward wind erosion is responsible. Much of this
delamination might be due to the activities of rock eating
lithotrophic microbes.
18) A number of images show some surfaces of MSLRs
smeared with what appears to be fresh mud. This is almost

unexplainable under the conditions that we consider obtain on

present day Mars. It is explainable however, if one considers
that mud might be generated in the debris flows in the
subsurface and that this muddy medium carries the microbes
which facilitate the conditions and reactions that produce the
mineral layers. Perhaps the veins that can be seen
anastomozing through most of the images are involved in this
process also. The muds then become one of the most important
aspects of the ecosystem producing and maintaining the MSLRs.
19) Fresh broken rocks from Fresh Craters: The rovers
appear to have a policy of studious avoidance of fresh craters
and have generally only provided cursory long distance images
of the rocks at their edges when a thorough examination of the
rocks near or in those craters would seem to have been a better
method to produce the data on habitability that is the stated goal
of the mission. Despite this however, at least 2 looks at fresh
craters have been made that have produced images which
suggest that some MSLRs from the subsurface in Meridiani
planum and Gale crater might be still alive.
20) Rotten rocks; Similarly, few instances of clumps of small
pebbles that appear to have disintegrated in situ have been
studied by the Rovers and such imaging is usually from a
distance. The Rovers appear to avoid them on most occasions
and move on to other sites. I wonder however, if thorough
examination of such occurrences might have led to the
development of chemical and image data that might suggest
that these phenomena are of contemporary origin where the
binding agents for the rocks might have been metabolized by
certain putative chemolithotrophs and thereby caused the
deterioration and breaking up of such rocks.

21) I presented an object from around the soil near to the edge
of the youthful Fram crater as possible evidence of
multicellular life in my first book In search of life on Mars.
I now think that it is probably a microbialite and possibly not
just a fossil one, but perhaps a living rock unearthed by
Opportunitys wheels on sol 88 as indicated by the oozing light
coloured material visible around the crushed portions at the top
right side of the image. The wheel marks are clearly shown in
images taken around this time and support such a scenario.
The closeup images of Wopmay taken around sol 259, show
many textural similarities, including colour, to the sol 88 MSLR
and also to images of contemporary stromatolites at Hamelin
Pool, Australia. Could it be that Wopmay might be a part of
an older version of the sol 88 MSLR and that they may both
be very distantly related to the Hamelin Pool stromatolites.
The sol 88 MSLR is shown in Fig 4.8, The Wopmay close up
is in fig 3.3.3a and the Hamelin Pool stromatolites in Fig 4.10.
Look very closely at the sol 88 image in Fig 4.8 for the features
mentioned above.
I am speculating that there might be a range of microbes
currently living at or near the surface of Mars. They exist in a
number of ecosystems. The main ecosystem is in a normally
closed environment in the subsoil. Microbes assist in
maintaining this ecosystem as a damp briny one characterized
by the very fine and dark debris flows in three main ways;
1) by contributing to the maintenance of a relatively
impermeable crust that, if breached, allows the debris flows to
exude and flow out to the surface. 2) by facilitating the
precipitation of minerals at the rock / subsoil interface. 3) by
regulating Carbon Dioxide / Oxygen
ratios in that

environment, which, if the crust is breached, leads to the often

seen rapid loss of pressure and eruption of the debris flows.
Another ecosystem may be an aerial one between the
mineralized laminae of the MSLRs. Microbes there may live
in interstices between and within the rock laminae and might
be the main agents involved in the break down of laminar
binding agents there.
The main arguments against the above hand waving may be
that it is currently accepted that there is not enough water to
service such a system and that the environmental conditions
on Mars are totally inimical to the proliferation of life as we
know it.
I am however hypothesizing that the putative Life is not totally
dependant on external Martian atmospheric conditions, but
rather on a highly modified biosphere in the niches postulated
above. MSL scientists have found different Redox states for
some chemicals, eg sulphates and sulphides, coexisting in some
Gale rocks. This could provide the potentials for energizing
metabolic reactions by certain microbes. Fixed Nitrogen has
also been demonstrated. Sunlight above ground may also
provide energy for some microbes but there just might be
enough fuel available for the metabolism of the putative subsoil
This series started with my accepting that Gil Levin found life
on Mars in 1976. If he did, the presence of MSLRs is
explainable. If he didnt, the images of MSLRs on the
following pages are an extreme but widespread anomaly
signifying a waste of structure unconnected with past or present
functionality .

Debris Flows near putative stromatolites

By far the majority of the MSLRs in images from the MER and
MSL rovers appear to be associated with dark debris flows
directly or appear to be sitting on top of a dark matrix
underneath which is the debris flows.
This series of images shows a few examples of this observation.
The first image show a situation where Curiosity s drilling of
two holes in one of the putative MLSR appears to have
precipitated a spreading debris flow that moved far from the
rock that was drilled.
Figs 6.1, 6.2, 6.2b, and 6.3 show other examples where the
MSLRs are all closely associated with debris flows.

Fig 6.1: MSL s627; laminae and spectacular debris flows after drilling

Debris Flows near putative stromatolites II

Fig 6..2; MSL s938; structures made up of veins and mudstone in debris flows
Fig 6.2 b; MSL s919; debris flows from around MSLRs

Fig 6.3: MSL s1031; spectacular debris flows, veins and laminated MSLRs

Microbial Mats between or within layers or clumps of

One essential feature of the Stromatolite family of rocks is that
they are laid down around pieces or layers of microbial mats
usually of the cyanobacteria family. The presence of microbial
mats in MSLRs is generally not as clearcut as can be ascertained
in Earths stromatolites and often needs to be inferred from
various aspects of the Rover images.
Fig 6.4 below is an example of differential laminar colouring
of a number of MSLRs that suggests to me that there was a
laminar presence of microbial mats which might be still active.
Figs 6.5, 6.6 and 6.7 show peeks by the MAHLI imager in the
shadows between laminae on MSL sols 1063 and 0998

Fig 6.4; Spirit s749;

Fig 6.5, below, is a 3D anaglyph of the areas between the

laminae of an eroding MSLR. Of note is the dark uniform fine
dust of the Debris flows that is evident between several of the
laminar sheets and also that the laminae appear to consist of a
light coloured material wedged between layers of loose granular
appearing material. Could this material be remnants of a long
expired microbial mat? Or could it be still active?
Fig 6.6 is of an MSL sol 1063 situation that shows a similar
disposition of the essential components of the laminar system.
Fig 6.7 shows (through the small, dislodged portions of a
damaged layer) that the lamina edge is composed largely of the
loose, grey material mentioned above. The material is well
packed in one of the dislodged portions while it is loose in the
intact weathering rock.

Fig 6.5; MSL s842; MAHLI imaging of between the laminae of eroding layers, 3D.

Microbial Mats between or within layers of rock II

Fig 6.6; MSL s1063; fine structure of layers 1

Fig 6.7; MSL s0998; Fine structure of layers 2

Mud on surface of MSLRs

Fig 6.8: MSL s935; Fresh mud on surface of veined MSLR

Fig 6.9: MSL s932; fresh mud layer on veined mudstone type, Garden city

Blue green colours on delaminated layers of MSLRs

Are these indicative of microbial activity?

Fig 6.10: MSL s903, green geometrically aligned dust on laminae, 3D anaglyph

Fig 6.11: MSL s1047; green laminae, effects of current microbes?

Soil exuding from subsurface ruptured by Rover wheels

Fig 6.12: MSL s1039; damp appearance and mud stuck on rock surfaces

Fig 6.13: MSL s1108; 3D anaglyph of soil coating exposed rocks.

Veins traversing upturned rocks whose exposed surface

was in subsurface soil.

Fig 6.14: S160 MSL,underside of damaged rock

. A= context image, B= 3D x-eyed image, C= Anaglyph

Objects which appear to have grown from soil under rock


Fig 6.15: MSL s840; Objects apparently growing out of the dark soil on the floor of an
overhang with veins connecting them

Fig 6.16: MSL s840, 3D anaglyph showing luminescent veins proliferating in

protected soil surface

Pale coatings on exposed surfaces of rocks

Fig 6.17: MSL s1100, showing coating on outcrop

Fig 6.18: MSL s1049, 3D anaglyph of induration from former Debris Flows

Scabs or crusts on rocks resembling stromatolites

Fig 6.19: MSL s1151; thick scabs on outcrop MSRL

Fig 6.20:Oppy s2145; Fresh blue-green rind on rock surface at Conception crater

Repeating features on undersides of overturned rocks

Fig 6.21: MSL s141; 3D anaglyph showing highly structured supports under rock.

Fig 6.22: MSL s796; similar chambers on overturned rock

Formation of new layers possibly associated with Debris


A: Fig 6.23: MSL s584; solidified debris flow constituents

B: Fig 6.24: MSL s0631; foreground accumulation of earlier debris flows?

Formation of new layers possibly associated with Debris

Flows and Veins II.

Fig 6.25: MSL s1059; 3D anaglyph of young pale lamina with patterned surface
Fig 6.26: MSL s1065; 3D of later stage in induration of laminae

Formation of new layers associated with Debris Flows

and Veins III.

Fig 6.27: MSL s1092, 3D anaglyph of another indurated debris flow

Fig 6.28: MSL s1151, Panorama of concentric close layering

Formation of layers associated with Debris Flows and

Veins IV.

Fig 6.29; MSL s1155; Early phase in direct induration process. Note morphology and
relativity of placement of former flows and new flows.

Fig 6.30; MSL s1153; MSLR with recent layers and flows downslope

Damaged MSLRs at edges of Fresh Craters

During the campaign of the three Rovers in which they passed
near to several small Fresh craters, they stopped to make
detailed investigations of just a few. Those examined included
one at Fram crater around Opportunity sol 88, and an unnamed
crater around Opportunity sol 1160. The image below (Fig
6.31) which Ive presented earlier to illustrate a different point,
is of an object at the edge of Fram crater which Opportunitys
wheels dislodged and partially damaged.
Look carefully at the image. It shows an MSLR resembling a
microbialite with the top right edges apparently squashed by
the rover wheels and apparently exuding what might be a liquid
flow. The inside of the object was a fresh light orange colour
contrasting with the mauve coloring of the rind.

Fig 6.31; MSL sol 88; MSLR resembling microbialite unearthed and damaged by
Rover whhels.

The sol 1160 image (Fig 6.32) is of a section of rocks at the

edge of a small very fresh crater. It shows several broken
MSLRs on the edge of that crater. Their variously coloured
pale interiors can be clearly seen as well as their reddish /violet
rinds. The interiors are comparable in colouration and texture
to the broken sections of the Fig 6.31 image. It is difficult to
understand why the assemblage of rocks in Fig, 6.32 did not
appear to have merited further in depth examination.
The RAD images were not available to the general public
around the time they were taken on April 29th 2007 so most of
the amateur Mars Rover followers would not have seen the
range of colours they exhibited and hence the possibilities that
they might have been a bit more complex than just rocks.

Fig 6.32; MSL sol 1160; Freshly deposited rocks at edge of Fresh crater.

Rotten Rocks

Fig 6.33; MSL s 368; Rotten rocks

The rotten rock syndrome was evident from the early days of
the MER campaign when Opportunity and Spirit took Navcam
images, usually from a distance, of piles of loose rocks that
seemed to be the result of the breakdown of the cementing agent
that had held the pieces of small sedimentary pebbles together.
As far as I am aware the Rovers always bypassed such
situations without attempting to investigate further.
Fig 6.33 is an example of the syndrome. Could it be that such
occurrences might have been due to a microbially induced
breakdown of the cementing agents thereby causing the
slumping of the components of the rocks into loose piles?
The images presented on the preceding pages are intended to
support my contention that there is a case for considering the
possibility that some of the MSLRs on Mars may be still alive.

I think the strongest indication of current life processes is in

the process of induration of debris flows that Ive highlighted.
That process is now being mimicked commercially on Earth in
the production of Tafoni structures utilizing Bacillus pasteuri
to produce hard rocks from sand. Maybe a B. Pasteuri analogue
is doing the same thing in certain niches on Mars.
Many of us who avidly follow the release of images from the
Mars rovers get the impression of a dynamic living surface
there, not a sterile one in which there was never any life
involved nor one in which putative past life was totally
obliterated long ago. The strong impression is rather that of a
current ongoing expression of Life on a Planet in recovery.
There are two special images which I think captured the essence
of the life that I think is still existing in Gale crater and at
Meridiani. Those images were captured on MSL sol 132 by
Curiosity and on MERb sol 1160 by Opportunity.
The Fig 6.34 image shows a fresh craters edge populated by
rocks, several of which have been split and now show very
fresh looking insides based on their pale dustless colours as
compared with the darker rinds, whose conformation is not
consistent with having originated from fracture fills.
The Fig 6.35 image of the MSLR from Fram crater shows a
veined boxwork stromatolite pattern and the familiar small
uniform black spheroids associated with flows in MSLRs. In
addition, there are a number of small, uniform, dark shapes, the
regularity and appearance of which suggest that they might be
related to some aspect of life. The overall morphology of the
object is similar in several respects to a combo Earth
stromatolite type.

Fig 6.34; Opportunity s1160. Fresh crater showing Broken MSLRs.

Fig 6.35; Curiosity sol 132. 3D anaglyph of a degraded stromatolite from under a
rock overhang showing several interesting features. Look at it at high magnification.

Chapter Seven
This book is the last in my trilogy of books which postulate
that Life exists on Mars right now. They all start from an
acceptance that Gil Levins LR experiment on two widely
separated Viking Landers in 1976 demonstrated that Life exists
just below the surface of Mars in all the samples tested and is
therefore likely to be ubiquitous near its surface.
In search of life on Mars demonstrated that it was likely that
such life existed by a close examination of signs in images
selected from the archives of the Opportunity and Spirit Rovers
that were suggestive of lifes involvement
The second book On debris flows and mineral veins explored
the possibility that life on the surface of Mars is carried on those
ubiquitous features of the surface of that planet.
This current book has tried to show that there is a strong
possibility that the surface of Mars is replete with rocks that
may be related to the Microbialites of Earth. I think it has
succeeded in that regard. But it goes even further and suggests
that some of the MSLRs on Mars may actually be alive from
the congruence of a number of facts related to the images.
I presented a number of images from the three Rovers, Spirit,
Opportunity and Curiosity and used them to show that, unlike
the usual interpretation of Mars surface as being a largely
monochromatic, lifeless construct, it was instead a technicolor
dynamic one, possessing what appears to be a friable soil as
observed when its protective crust is breached and that the
surface is dominated by the widespread presence of rocks that

mimic the morphological appearance of Earths Microbialites.

The book outlines how the apparent contradiction between our
current mainstream understanding of the Martian surface and
the images sent down by the rovers might be reconciled once
an intangible catalyst of widespread and diverse microbial life
and significant presence of water in debris flows is built into
our models of contemporary Mars.
I am speculating that certain niches on Mars are protective
ecosystems that conserves water in brines and that also allows
microbes to thrive and thus facilitates the development of the
MSLRs that can be seen in each geographical area that the
Mars rovers have visited so far.
The images used in this book are a very important aspect of the
presentation. I considered that in most cases the raw images
of the surface provided in the NASA/JPL/Caltech raw image
archives did not do adequate justice to what was demonstrably
there on the surface because of their relative lack of contrast.
Most of the images that I used were therefore enhanced in the
image editor Gimp to bring out the natural colours and
definition of the objects being examined. Indeed, it surprised
me that in some of the images, notably the close up Wopmay
images and some domal stromatolite analogues from Spirit,
that the Gimp processing actually produced characteristic violet
colours that were almost identical to those of images of living
stromatolite surfaces from Shark bay and Pilbara, Australia.
There are many ramifications flowing from the position I have
posited here. One major resultant would be how should the
authorities treat with the possibilities of cross contamination of
Earth and Mars microbes if microbially formed structures are

as widely spread on Mars as the images suggest and if there is

therefore a likelihood that much of the near subsurface may be
populated by living microbes. A simple policy of cut and
run when a Rover breaches the soil and finds some stones that
appear to be microbialites or disturbs damp friable soil, would
no longer be viable.
Due consideration should therefore be given to improving the
Global policies that would allow research on Mars to continue
governed by a rigorous sample return policy and rules of
engagement that would involve intermediate sites of return
outside Earth proper, perhaps on the Moon or on satellite
stations orbiting Earth. Such stringent policies would be
imperative for planetary protection in which precisely tailored
risk amelioration strategies are developed for mitigation of all
foreseeable risks involved.
I also think that consideration of the strong possibility that Earth
and Mars might share living rocks as well as a plethora of
microbes should lead us to research and reflect on what really
happened on Mars in the past and what will probably happen
in the future to our planet. Is the current Mars our past or our
Is the situation re. Life on Mars an early version of what has
happened on Earth or did that situation arise from something
that can happen to us in the future? What really caused the loss
of Mars atmosphere and possibly multicellular life? Was the
cause something that Man can avert or was it something
absolutely beyond our control? Is there any validity in the
Electric Earth hypotheses? Is Mars current state a harbinger
of ours in the near or distant future?

Whatever the likely questions, the continuation of in depth

research on Mars would quadruple in importance if microbial
life were found there and if that life was found to be similar in
some respects to ours. Such research would possibly need to
follow now undreamed of paths to answer other questions that
are now impossible to formulate.
My ideas here should be taken as being only working
hypotheses based on a set of limited observations which
suggests that there is a likelihood that extant microbial life
exists widely on Mars. The recent confirmation that significant
volumes of brines currently flow down crater slopes as RSLs,
starting from below rocks near the tops of such slopes
strengthens those observations.
Due consideration of these ideas might lead to significant
breakthroughs in a number of areas of astrobiology based not
on reliance on the tenets of the current paradigm, but on
recognizing its possible shortfalls and the possibilities for
paradigm change flowing from recent findings in Mars science.

Annex 1
NASA-JPL: NASA -Jet Propulsion Laboratory - US Government
MER: Mars Exploration Rovers, MerA (Spirit) and MerB (Opportunity)
MSL: Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity)
MAHLI: Mars Hand lens imager on Curiosity
MI: Microscopic Imager on MERS rovers
Meridiani planum: Location on Mars in which MerB (Opportunity) landed
Gale Crater: Location on Mars in which Curiosity landed
Gusev: Location on Mars in which MerA (Spirit) landed
Blueberries: Small grey-blue spheres dominating the landscape at Meridiani
RSL: Recurrent (formerly called Transient) Slope Lineae, Dark lines on crater slopes
LR: The Gil Levin 1976 Viking Labelled Release experiment
MSLRs: Martian Stromatolite Like Rocks.
Microchannels: Small channels in cracks between rocks, often mimicking fluid flows
Microbialite: A sedimentary body formed on the bed of a body of water from the remains of
benthic communities of algae and cyanobacteria.. It is a general term that includes
Stromatolites and Thrombolites.
Stromatolite: A calcareous mound built up of layers or crusts of lime-secreting cyanobacteria
and trapped sediment, found in Precambrian rocks as the earliest known fossils, and still being
formed in lagoons in Australia and other parts of the World.
Thrombolites: Structures built by cyanobacteria in calcareous, sublittoral facies. The Bacteria
deposit thin layers of silt and calcium that slowly grow into rounded rocks. The rocks have a
clotted microtexture and no internal laminae.


The majority of the images here are sourced from the NASA/JPL/Caltech archives of
images from the MER and MSL missions. The sol numbers are indicated in the Fig.
description and the specific source image may be tracked by searching for the sol
number in the Midnight Planet website; [ ]
Several images of the Stromatolite family of rocks on Earth are sourced from the
diagnostic website of the NASA supported project identified below. The code
numbers for the individual images are indicated in my descriptions of each such figure
in the website of the EVOLUTIONARY RESEARCH Stromatolite Identification
Site. [ ]
A few other images were sourced from the virtual Fossil museum website below.
All other images of the stromatolite family of rocks on Earth were sourced from a
variety of websites which are identified in the text for the requisite Figure.
The URLs of the sources of the images for specific figures are indicated below.
Fig 3.2.4
Fig 3.2.5;
Fig 3.2.7;
Fig 3.2.8;
Fig 3.2.9;
Fig 3.3.1b;
Fig 3.3.3b:

Fig 4.1:

Fig 4.5:
Fig 4.7:
Fig 4.10:
Fig 4.14;

Fig 4.19;
Fig 4.21;


Marsroverblog forum website
Lyall Winston Smalls (LWS) smugmug photosite
In search of life on Mars book - Lyall Winston Small

On Debris Flows book - Lyall Winston Small
The living rocks of Mars
Harry Rabbs Life on Mars Visual web site
Hortonheardawhos Flickr photosite
MSL raw images website
The Midnight Planet Website
Research on Mars Papers by Gilbert V. Levin, Ph.D.

Ramifications of a sterile Mars- Gilbert Levin, 2011
Stromatolites, Wikipedia description
Microbial mats and modern stromatolites in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Golubic,
S.(Boston University, MA, United States); NASA Technical Reports Server NTRS
Opportunity Rovers image analysis: Microbialites on Mars? Giorgio Bianciardi,
Vincenzo Rizzo, Nicola Cantasano; Intl J. of Aeronautical & Space Sci. 15(4), 419
433 (2014)
Wrinkle structures on rocks with microbial coverings
Possible fatty acid detected on Mars, by Paul Rincon, Science editor, BBC News
website, The Woodlands, Texas

Life on Mars? by Harry Rabb, Kirkkonummi, Finland Last updated: 16th of

September 2015.
The pilbara rocks built by microbes - Biology online
Microbialites in antarctica

Science 343, (2014); A Habitable Fluvio-Lacustrine Environment at Yellowknife

Bay, Gale Crater, Mars; J.P. Grotzinger et al,
Calcite vein networks in Jessicas nature blog
3.43 billion-year-old stromatolite reef from the Pilbara Craton of Western Australia: EcosystemscaleinsightstoearlylifeonEarthAbigailC.Allwooda,b,* ,MalcolmR.Waltera,IanW.Burch
a,b, Balz S. Kamber c
groundwater-fed iron-rich microbial mats in a freshwater creek: growth cycles and
fossilization potential of microbial features. J. Schieber
eukaryote-dominated biofilms in extreme environments: overlooked sources of
information in the geologic record sandra s. brake and stephen t. hasiotis
Islands of Life - Part One by Henry Bortman; for Astrobiology Magazine
esprance: extreme aqueous alteration in fracture fills and coatings at matijevic hill,
mars. b. c. clark, r.gellert, r.e. arvidson, s.w. squyres et al.
Leak in Curiosity's Wet Chemistry Test Finds Organics;; MAR 17,
2015 06:00 by Irene Klotz.

Stromatolites - Geological park Brazil
Uluru - ayers rock is geobiology
The formation of antitaxial calcite veins with well-developed fibres, Oppaminda
Creek, South Australia; Paul D. Bons, Michael Montenari Journal of Structural
Geology 27 (2005) 231248
Endolithic cyanobacteria in soil gypsum: Occurrences in Atacama (Chile), Mojave
(United States), and Al-Jafr Basin (Jordan) Deserts. Authors; Hailiang Dong, Jason
A. Rech, Hongchen Jiang, Henry Sun, Brenda J. Buck
Formation of Sustainable Infrastructure Using Microbial Methods and Humanization
of Man-made Environment. Romuald Tarczewski

Sandstone-making microbes, tafoni - and an extraordinary design idea

Tafoni: Architecture by Nature


Spectral evidence for liquid water on Mars; 42nd LPSC (2011); N.O. Renna et al.
ScienceDaily (Sep. 9, 2010) Liquid water has interacted with the Martian surface
throughout Mars' history, measurements by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander suggest.

mapping the water content of the martian surface using mars express omega r. e.
milliken; lpsc 2005
Nature and origin of RSL: spectroscopy and detectability of liquid brines in the nearinfrared. M. Mass1, P. Beck et al
A potential habitable zone within the subsurface at the equatorial region on Mars -Based on mission observation, lab experiment, and terrestrial analog site study Alian
Wang (Washington University in St. Louis)
Chlorine and hydrogen contents from the first 90 sols of msl dan active measurements. C.
Hardgrove, , j. Moersch, , d. Drake et al, 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2013)
Spectral evidence for hydrated salts in recurring slope lineae on Mars. L Ojha et al.
Spectral Evidence for Hydrated Salts in Seasonal Brine Flows on Mars; Ojha L et al
Bacterial Life and Dinitrogen Fixation at a Gypsum Rock; Gudrun Boison, Alexander
Mergel, Helena Jolkver and Hermann Bothe
What Lurks in the martian Rocks and Soil? Investigations of Sulfates, Phosphates, and
Perchlorates; Gypsum in modern Kamchatka volcanic hot springs and the Lower
Cambrian black shale: Applied to the microbial-mediated precipitation of sulfates on
Marsk Min Tang1 , Anouk Ehreiser1,2 and Yi-Liang Li 1,* American Mineralogist,
Volume 99, pages 21262137, 2014

Scientists find fixed nitrogen in Martian sediments; Javier Martn-Torres, Professor of

Atmospheric Science at Lule University of Technology

Scientific Britain; An analysis of a rock sample collected by NASAs Curiosity rover

shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes