There is no oxygen, the conditions are salty and alkaline. Yet, a long , thin bacterium Spirochaeta Americana, thrives in this environment. Does that mean, there could be life on Mars ? Scientists have found a new species of bacteria that survive in extreme conditions, similar to the conditions believed to be prevailing on Planet Mars. Appropriately called an "extremophile", this organism appears to know how to thrive in "extreme" conditions on Earth that were believed to be difficult for the sustenance of life.
Extremophiles are considered to be one of the most ancient living organisms found on Earth. They are found in harshest conditions such as volcanic lava, glaciers, nuclear reactor wastes, at high pressure and absolute darkness in deep-sea abysses and in rocks far beneath the Earth's crust in conditions that would be lethal to most other living things. Most important of all, they do not require oxygen. Since other planets lack oxygen, scientists wonder whether an organism such as S Americana could survive in other planets, such as Mars.
The study of such organisms which give us a clue to life in the Universe is a field called Astrobiology. An astrobiologist studies what creates life. He then studies the environment in the solar system. From the evidence that he gets, he is able to decide whether there can be any life in any other planet.