There is water, but there is no life. The discovery made in the north-east of Ethiopia, inside Dallol's volcanic crater, could revolutionize or at least modify the hypotheses advanced so far by scientists on the search for extraterrestrial life forms.The water-life combination on other planets seems to be no longer objectively valid, if the water conditions were like those found in Ethiopia: boiling water (over 45 ° in winter), super saline, hyperacid. Conditions that made the survival of microorganisms (present in the desert area near the crater) impossible, as demonstrated by the study conducted by researchers at the French National Center, the CNRS, and published in the scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
"After analyzing many more samples than the previous works with adequate controls to avoid contaminating them and calibrating the methodology better," commented Purificacion Lopez Garcia, head of the research, "we have verified that there is no microbial life in these salt pools, hot and hyperacid or in adjacent magnesium-rich salt lakes ".
The crater of Dallol, due to its inhospitable characteristics, had been compared to Mars, which is why it has become the object of study, which however in the light of the facts forces us to reshape hypotheses on alien life forms. The coordinator of the Cnrs also specifies "Dallol sources are sterile even if they contain liquid water, so the presence of water on a planet does not necessarily mean that it has life forms".
In fact, the researchers subjected the samples of water taken to a series of analyzes, genetic markers, chemical compositions, X-ray spectroscopy and electron microscopy tests, but the outcome on possible forms of terrestrial life was always negative. Even the culture of microorganisms in the laboratory has not had a chance. More than enough reasons for the project coordinator, according to whom "we should not expect to find life forms in similar environments on other planets".
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