alexa Microbialites at Gusev Crater, Mars.
ISSN: 2332-2519

Journal of Astrobiology & Outreach
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Research Article

Microbialites at Gusev Crater, Mars.

Giorgio Bianciardi1,2*, Vincenzo Rizzo2, Maria Eugenia Farias3 and Nicola Cantasano4
1Department of Medical Biotechnologies, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
2National Research Council-retired, Via Repaci 22, Rende, Cosenza, Italy
3Laboratorio de Investigaciones Microbiológicas de Lagunas Andinas (LIMLA), Planta Piloto de Procesos Industriales Microbiológicos (PROIMI), CCT, CONICET, Tucumán, Argentina
4National Research Council, Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems in the Mediterranean, Rende Research Unit, Cosenza, Italy
Corresponding Author : Giorgio Bianciardi
Department of Medical Biotechnologies
University of Siena, Siena, Italy
Tel: +39 348 2650891
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: September 28, 2015; Accepted: October 31, 2015; Published: November 03, 2015
Citation: Bianciardi G, Rizzo V, Farias ME, Cantasano N (2015) Microbialites at Gusev Crater, Mars. Astrobiol Outreach 3:143. doi:10.4172/2332-2519.1000143
Copyright: © 2015 Bianciardi G, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Abstract

The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit investigated plains at Gusev crater, where sedimentary rocks are present. The Spirit rover’s Athena morphological investigation shows microstructures organized in intertwined filaments of microspherules: a texture we have also found on samples of terrestrial stromatolites and other microbialites. We performed a quantitative image analysis to compare 45 microbialites samplings with 50 rover’s ones (approximately 25,000/20,000 microstructures). Contours were extracted and morphometric indexes obtained: geometric and algorithmic complexities, entropy, tortuosity, minimum and maximum diameters. Terrestrial and Martian textures resulted multifractals, while terrestrial abiogenic minerals showed a simple fractal structure. Mean values and confidence intervals from the Martian images overlapped perfectly with those from terrestrial samples. The probability of this occurring by chance was less than 1/28, p<0.004. Our work show the presumptive evidence of microbialites in the Martian outcroppings explored by “Spirit”, confirming our previous results concerning the Martian outcroppings explored by Opportunity at Meridiani Planum: unicellular life was widespread on the ancient Mars.

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