A blueprint for life forms on Mars?

The habitat that most closely mimics some locations on Mars is that found beneath the permafrost at Lost Hammer Spring in Canada's High Arctic. It is extremely cold, heavily salinated, and nearly devoid of oxygen.

Therefore, this is a fantastic place to look if you want to understand more about the kinds of life forms that might have existed—or might still exist—on Mars in the past.

Researchers from McGill University have discovered previously unidentified bacteria after extensive investigation in very challenging circumstances.

Furthermore, they have learned more about their metabolisms thanks to cutting-edge genetic techniques.

One of the coldest and saltiest terrestrial springs ever found is Lost Hammer Spring, located in Nunavut in Canada's High Arctic.

The water that rises through 600 meters of permafrost to the surface is extremely salty (about 24 percent salinity), constantly below freezing (about 5 °C), and has a very low oxygen content (about 1 ppm dissolved oxygen).

The Lost Hammer spring maintains a liquid water habitat even in below-freezing conditions due to the extremely high salt concentrations.

Similar conditions can be found in some regions of Mars, where salt deposits are common and it's possible that frigid salt springs are present.

This is one of the very few investigations to detect bacteria alive and active, despite the fact that earlier studies have discovered signs of microbes in this type of Mars-like environment.