The land is home to the so-called underground autotrophic microbial ecosystems.
New studies show that in the ground early Mars probably could dwell organisms for hundreds of millions of years.
The energy to support microbial life, presumably, could occur during radiolysis, the process by which cosmic radiation breaks the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.
“The conditions in this residential area was similar to places on Earth where there is life underground,” suggests Jesse Tarnas, graduate student, brown University.
Without access to sunlight, these lithotrophy (“eating stones”) get their energy, “taking” electrons from the molecules of inorganic compounds: hydrogen sulfide, ammonium, metals of variable valency. Oxidizing agent, which transmitted electrons, can be either oxygen or other oxidized compounds: sulfate, nitrate, carbon dioxide and others. With the transfer of electrons from the energy of the substrate to the oxidizer and the required energy is released.
One of the most popular electron sources is dissolved hydrogen. Scientists estimate that in the soil of ancient Mars had enough hydrogen to fuel the entire bacterial colony.