Ancient Mars microbes may have made their planet unlivable through climate change

Ancient microbes triggered a climate change on Mars that made the planet less habitable, which may have ultimately led to their extinction, a new climate modeling study suggests.

According to the study, simple microbes that feed on hydrogen and excrete methane could have thrived on Mars some 3.7 billion years ago, at about the same time that primitive life was taking hold in Earth‘s primordial oceans. But while on Earth the emergence of simple life gradually created an environment conducive to more complex life forms, the exact opposite happened on Mars, according to a team of scientists led by astrobiologist Boris Sauterey from the Institut de Biology de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure (IBENS) in Paris, France.

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