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Rio Tinto 2

RIO TINTO: Cloudy with particulates and flowing along terraces made of iron oxides, the Rio Tinto in southwestern Spain stretches for over 100km before reaching the Atlantic. Despite its acidic waters and high concentrations of iron and other heavy metals, the river supports an incredible diversity of extremophile microorganisms, including algae and fungi. Microbial biofilms colonize the riverbed and are covered with yellow iron oxide precipitates, seen here. Because of geological similarities with Mars, the Mars Astrobiology Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE) team tested equipment at Rio Tinto in 2005 for drilling on Mars in search of subsurface life. The drilling was accomplished entirely by remote control, and the team concluded that it’s feasible for a similar procedure to be successful on Mars. Image Credit: Jenn Macalady/Becky McCauley/Hiroshi Hamasaki
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tags: rio tinto