Alien clues.The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), civilian agency of the U.S. federal government with the mission of conducting research and developing operational programs in the areas of space exploration, artificial satellites (see satellite, artificial), (NASA) has sent top researchers to the Chihuahuan Desert to look for clues in their search for extraterrestrial life, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Scientists from NASA's Astrobiology astrobiology: see exobiology. Institute are in the Cuatro cuat·ro
n. pl. cuat·ros
A small guitarlike instrument of Latin America, usually having four or five pairs of strings.
[Spanish, from Latin quattuor, four; see quatrain.] Cienegas area studying an archipelago of 170 lagoons where ancient formations called stromalites are found. Stromalites are rock structures formed by layers of algae algae (ăl`jē) [plural of Lat. alga=seaweed], a large and diverse group of primarily aquatic plantlike organisms. These organisms were previously classified as a primitive subkingdom of the plant kingdom, the thallophytes (plants that that trap silt. Conditions within the stromalites "are similar to those that prevailed on Earth for more than 2 billion years before the dinosaurs evolved," the Union-Tribune reported.
NASA believes studying these organisms can "help identify the unique atmospheric conditions created by primitive life on planets orbiting nearby stars and help settle the question of whether we are alone in the universe."