The first Martian life probably destroyed the planet through climate change and went extinct.

The bacteria might have produced a hostile world by inducing a reverse greenhouse effect.

According to recent research, ancient Martian microbial life may have caused climate change that degraded the planet’s atmosphere and ultimately caused its extinction.

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The new theory was developed from a climate modelling study that recreated bacteria that produced methane and consumed hydrogen when they lived on Mars some 3.7 billion years ago. Atmospheric conditions at the time were comparable to those on the old Earth at the time. However, the study, which was published on October 10 in the journal Nature Astronomy, suggests that Martian bacteria may have doomed themselves just as they were getting started, instead of establishing an environment that would have helped them survive and adapt, as happened on Earth. (new tab opens)

The hypothesis contends that the gas compositions of the two planets and their relative distances from the sun are what caused life to flourish on Earth while dying out on Mars. Mars was more dependent on a powerful fog of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen, to maintain habitable temperatures for life since it was further from our star than Earth. Therefore, as ancient Martian microbes consumed hydrogen, a potent greenhouse gas, and produced methane, a significant greenhouse gas on Earth but less potent than hydrogen, they gradually ate into the heat-trapping layer of their planet, making Mars eventually become too cold for complex life to evolve.

The microbes fled deeper and deeper into the warmer crust of the planet as the surface temperature of Mars dropped from a tolerable range of 68 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 20 degrees Celsius) to a punishing minus 70 F (minus 57 C), eventually burrowing more than 0.6 miles (1 kilometres) deep only a few hundred million years after the cooling event.

The researchers are interested in learning if any of these ancient bacteria survived in order to provide support for their theory. Satellites have found methane traces in Mars’ thin atmosphere, and NASA’s Curiosity rover has seen what appears to be “alien burps,” which could be proof that the bacteria are still present.

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According to the researchers, their results raise the possibility that life may not always be fundamentally self-sustaining in favourable environments and that it is capable of quickly wiping itself out by unintentionally damaging the basis for its own existence.

According to research lead author Boris Sauterey, an astrobiologist at the Institut de Biologie de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, France, “the building blocks of life are everywhere in the universe.” “So it’s feasible that life manifests itself frequently in the cosmos. However, life disappears quickly because it is unable to keep the planet’s surface in a habitable state. Our study goes a step farther by demonstrating the entire self-destruction potential of even the most rudimentary biosphere.”

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