Life on Mars: How FETTUCCINE shaped rocks could be proof of alien bacteria on Mars

Life on Mars: How FETTUCCINE shaped rocks could be proof of alien bacteria on Mars

A -funded study of certain rock-forming bacteria here on Earth has produced an incredibly bizarre but likely candidate for life on Mars. The bacteria Sulfurihydrogenibium yellowstonense is a peculiar microbe, which thrives in extreme conditions such as hot springs. The busy little life-form, also known as Sulfuri, creates pasta-like strands of calcium carbonate rock, which look like fettuccine noodles. Because of this, study author Bruce Fouke at the University of Illinois said Sulfuri is a “prime candidate” for life on the Red Planet.

The geologist said: “These Sulfuri cables look amazingly like fettuccine pasta, while further downstream they look more like capellini pasta.”

Here on Earth, the bacteria are abundant in the bubbling and sulphurous hot springs of Yellowstone National Park in Northwest US.

The incredible microbes are believed to have developed before our planet’s environment became oxygen-rich about 2.35 billion years ago.

Sulfuri have adapted to extreme temperatures and fast-flowing and bubbling waters where they form unique strands.


The bacteria has also shown an incredible resistance to ultraviolet radiation and thrives in environments low in Oxygen – just like Mars.

Instead, the bacteria feed on sulphur and carbon dioxide for their energy.

Professor Fouke said: “Taken together, these traits make it a prime candidate for colonising Mars and other planets.”

The unique pasta-like shapes formed by the bacteria should make Sulfuri easy to spot for any Martian rover NASA sends to the Red Planet.


And these unusual shapes are the result of the bacterias’ lifestyle, according to Professor Fouke.

Found in fast-flowing waters, Sulfuri grab onto each other “and hang on for dear life” to survive.

The bacteria then form “tightly wound cables” that wave around in the water much like a flag.

The wave-like motion helps other bacteria attach to the strands and grow in strength.


The strands calcify over time, turning into a form of rock known as travertine rock.

Professor Fouke said: “If we see the deposition of this kind of extensive filamentous rock on other planets, we would know it’s a fingerprint of life.

“It’s big and it’s unique. No other rocks look like this.

“It would be definitive evidence of the presences of microbes.”

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