The search for life on Mars is being targeted towards fallen meteorites, with comparable extraterrestrial specimens sourced from Australia’s Nullarbor Plain being examined by UQ researchers as substrates for initial colonisation of terrestrial rock-consuming microorganisms.

The unique habitat of these meteorites, which are initially sterile when they pass through the planet’s atmosphere, provide a refuge for microorganisms within a harsh outside environment. Probing for fallen meteorite with analogous microbial biomarkers can be used to detect life on Mars, and in turn, throughout the solar system.

Search for life on Mars.

Meteorite sample from Australia’s Nullarbor Plain. Microbial Populations of Stony Meteorites, Tait et al.


UQ researchers are contributing to an international collaboration analysing and mapping the distribution and concentration of dark matter situated throughout 26 million galaxies, with results supporting the theory that dark matter makes up 26% of the cosmos.

Preliminary results of the 5 year long Dark Energy Survey project, consisting of an international team of more than 400 scientists from 26 institutions, generated the most accurate large-scale structure map of the cosmos as it exists in the present day.

dark matter
Map of dark matter structure throughout 26 million galaxies using gravitational lensing measurements. Dark Energy Survey Year 1 Results [arXiv:1709.00992].

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