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 educated 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, which 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,” stated 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 might be utilized by scientists who’re planning missions on different planets like Mars, to assist them slender down the areas during which they need to be looking out. It may use information collected by orbiters which take pictures of a planet’s floor, then choose doubtless places from that information — and that would assist uncover indications if there was actually life on Mars tens of millions 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—regardless of how hidden or uncommon,” Warren-Rhodes stated.