The Atacama Desert in northern Chile has long been utilized by astrobiologists as an analog environment for ancient Mars. Here, even bacteria have a hard time surviving. In the second in a series of reports, field research editor Henry Bortman recounts a day of research activities at Salar de Navidad. This area of the Atacama is covered in places by vast fields of small, knobby salt rocks, some of which are colonized by microbes.
Last Updated: 22 July 2011