The serene shores of Lulworth Cove in Dorset may not seem the obvious place to hunt for alien life.
But scientists at Imperial College have discovered that the highly-acidic sulphur streams and pools which surround St Oswald’s Bay perfectly mimic conditions on Mars billions of years ago.
And the hardy organisms which live there could give a hint about the kind of life which may have evolved on the Red Planet, and where to look for it.
Crucially researchers found traces of fatty acids, the key building blocks of biological cells, in the streams as well as living and fossilised microbes in the nearby rock deposits.
When they applied their findings to the Martian environment, they concluded that…