Scientists said Wednesday they had found life-giving chemicals in water at least 1.5 billion years old, which they are now combing for signs of microscopic organisms surviving from a prehistoric age.
The water, isolated in pockets deep underground for billions of years, is now pouring out of boreholes from a mine 2.4 kilometres (1.5 miles) beneath Ontario, Canada, they wrote in the journal Nature.
“This water could be some of the oldest on the planet and may even contain life,” the team said in a statement.
Not only that — the similarity between the rocks that trapped the fluid and those found on Mars raised hopes that similar life-sustaining water could be buried deep inside the Red Planet, they said.
“The findings… may force us to rethink which parts of our planet are fit for life,” they added.
The British and Canadian researchers analysed the water and found it was rich in dissolved gases like hydrogen and methane that are able to sustain microscopic life not exposed to the sun for billions of years, as is the case on the ocean floor.
The rocks around the water were dated about 2.7 billion years old, “but no one thought the water could be the same age, until now,” the team said.
Analysing the water’s composition in the lab, the team estimated that it was at least 1.5 billion years old, possibly more.
“Our finding is of huge interest to researchers who want to understand how microbes evolve in isolation, and is central to the whole question of the origin of life, the sustainability of life, and life in extreme environments and on other planets,” said Manchester University researcher and study co-author Chris Ballentine.
Before this discovery, the only other water from this age had been found trapped in tiny bubbles in rock, incapable of supporting life.
The Canadian water has characteristics similar to much younger water flowing from a mine 2.8 kilometres below ground in South Africa, which is known to support microbes.
“Our Canadian colleagues are trying to find out if the (Ontario) water contains life,” said lead author Greg Holland of Lancaster University.
“What we can be sure of is that we have identified a way in which planets can create and preserve an environment friendly to microbial life for billions of years.
“This is regardless of how inhospitable the surface might be, opening up the possibility of similar environments in the subsurface of Mars.”
[“Stock Photo: Man In Yoga Posture Outdoors In The Forest On A River.” on Shutterstock]
‘Peter Navarro is a lunatic’: Trump advisor roasted for ‘insane’ MSNBC interview
White House advisor Peter Navarro was roasted on Friday after a bizarre interview on MSNBC where he pushed multiple conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic while attempting to deflect blame from the president.
Navarro serves as the director of trade and manufacturing policy and the National Defense Production Act policy coordinator.
Here's some of what people were saying about Navarro's interview with Ali Velshi:
Trump impersonator hilariously previews the president’s Mount Rushmore speech
On Friday, musician and Trump impersonator J-L Cauvin posted a video satirically previewing the president's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore.
"The Democrats want you to wear masks, but we don't need masks," said Cauvin, impersonating Trump's New York accent. "Everybody's feeling great — stop coughing! Everybody's feeling great. So healthy. Such great health."
"Democrats want to kill you and silence you," he continued.
He then delivered a parody rant against removing statues, which sources report Trump will make a central point of his speech. "Thomas Jefferson, that's another one they hate. Everyone makes mistakes, but he had African-American girlfriends!"
Texas GOP will proceed with in-person state convention in Houston this month
In light of the decision to go forward with an in-person convention with a new mask requirement, two sponsors announced they would drop out. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he was hopeful that the organization would still reconsider.
The Texas GOP's executive committee voted Thursday night to proceed with plans to hold the party’s in-person convention in Houston later this month.
The State Republican Executive Committee, a 64-member body that serves as the governing board of the state party, voted 40-20 to approve the resolution supporting the in-person gathering. Thursday’s vote comes as the state grapples with a surge of coronavirus cases, with Houston serving as one of the country’s hot spots for the virus.