While the search for unknown life forms most often takes place in the vast reaches of space, there remain many undiscovered living things on Earth hiding in deep, dark places far beyond the reaches of humankind. While there has long been speculation that there could be underground races of aliens or mutated men living within the Earth, no evidence has ever been found to confirm such theories, However, a recent study by researchers from the University of Alberta has revealed that ancient underground water samples might contain unknown organisms unlike any other known living things on Earth.
According to their research published in Nature Communications, the geochemical and thermal conditions of these waters imply that any microbes found within might be biologically similar to the lifeforms we might find within, say, Martian soil, which has a similar composition:
The discovery of hydrogen-rich waters preserved below the Earth’s surface in Precambrian rocks worldwide expands our understanding of the habitability of the terrestrial subsurface. [These] findings have implications for planetary habitability and the exploration for evidence of life on Mars.
These water samples have been sealed off from the surface of our planet for over 2.7 billion years. The microbes found in these ancient water samples are believed to survive off of hydrogen and sulfates found in the subterranean water and surrounding rocks.
According to lead researcher Long Li, this same combination of elements and molecules is believed to be under the surface of Mars, implying that similar microbes might be found on the red planet:
Because this is a fairly common geological setting on modern Mars, we think that as long as the right minerals and liquid water are present, maybe kilometers below the Martian surface, they may interact and produce energy for life, if there is any.
I know what you’re thinking. You were hoping for green-skinned, bug-eyed aliens walking around zapping things with ray guns and what not. Still, microbes are cool, right? Any life we might find on Mars, however small, will open the possibility for more advanced lifeforms and show us that we’re not alone in this mysterious universe.