The brand new analysis makes use of data from life present in inhospitable places on Earth just like the salt formations in Salar de Pajonales, a salt flat area within the Atacama desert in Chile. The researchers mapped life discovered right here, then skilled a machine studying mannequin on the distribution of life throughout the area to assist it acknowledge places for potential life to be discovered at different places.
This machine studying mannequin helped establish biosignature extra exactly, that means solely a smaller space needed to be searched.
“Our framework permits us to mix the facility of statistical ecology with machine studying to find and predict the patterns and guidelines by which nature survives and distributes itself within the harshest landscapes on Earth,” mentioned lead researcher Kim Warren-Rhodes of the SETI Institute. “We hope different astrobiology groups adapt our method to mapping different liveable environments and biosignatures.”
The long-term plan for this type of analysis is that it could possibly be utilized by scientists who’re planning missions on different planets like Mars, to assist them slim down the areas wherein they need to be looking. It may use knowledge collected by orbiters which take pictures of a planet’s floor, then choose possible places from that knowledge — and that might assist uncover indications if there was in reality life on Mars thousands and thousands of years in the past.
“With these fashions, we are able to design tailored roadmaps and algorithms to information rovers to locations with the best likelihood of harboring previous or current life—irrespective of how hidden or uncommon,” Warren-Rhodes mentioned.