UW scientists searching for life forms by studying earth rocks - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UW scientists searching for life forms by studying earth rocks

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MADISON (WKOW) -- University of Wisconsin scientists are studying ancient Earth rocks to find out what other life forms are in the universe.

The Wisconsin Astrobiology Research Consortium, a team of about 80 researchers from UW and other institutions, is conducting the study. The group studies ancient rocks in hopes of finding the secrets behind how life on Earth began, in order to look for information that can be used to find life on Mars.

Lead investigator Clark Johnson, a geoscientist at UW-Madison, said his team analyzes rocks in South America and Australia that are more than three billion years old.

The project is funded through NASA, which approved a $7 million, five-year grant that started in January. It was the group's second five-year, $7 million grant. 

According to Johnson, studies of prehistoric Earth will help find life forms on Mars when the United States eventually voyages to the Red Planet. The group is also conducting the studies to research Earth's history.

Johnson joined us on 27 News at 5 on Monday to talk about the study.

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