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  • 1.
    Azua-Bustos, Armando
    et al.
    Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Madrid, Spain. Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
    González-Silva, Carlos
    Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica, Chile.
    Fernández-Martínez, Miguel Ángel
    Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Madrid, Spain.
    Arenas-Fajardo, Cristián
    Atacama Biotech, Santiago, Chile.
    Fonseca, Ricardo
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Martin-Torres, Javier
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (UGR-CSIC), Armilla, Granada, Spain.
    Fernández-Sampedro, Maite
    Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Madrid, Spain.
    Fairén, Alberto G.
    Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Madrid, Spain. Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.
    Zorzano Mier, María-Paz
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Aeolian transport of viable microbial life across the Atacama Desert, Chile: Implications for Mars2019In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 9, article id 11024Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Here we inspect whether microbial life may disperse using dust transported by wind in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, a well-known Mars analog model. By setting a simple experiment across the hyperarid core of the Atacama we found that a number of viable bacteria and fungi are in fact able to traverse the driest and most UV irradiated desert on Earth unscathed using wind-transported dust, particularly in the later afternoon hours. This finding suggests that microbial life on Mars, extant or past, may have similarly benefited from aeolian transport to move across the planet and find suitable habitats to thrive and evolve.

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