Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression is a window into another world

Danakil Depression
“If you stay outside for too long you start to burn. At times you have to put a mask on and avoid breathing in the toxic air,” Gómez says.

Last spring, scientists studied the Danakil Depression, in Ethiopia, in an attempt to understand how life could exist on Mars. It is one of the hottest and most inhospitable places on Earth, but Ethiopians continue a centuries-old industry of mining salt from the ground by hand. Temperatures average 34.5 degrees Celsius but have risen to over 50 degrees. Rocks are colored by minerals and algae.

Danakil Depression
“We identified the Danakil Depression as a very extreme environment where the conditions in which life could exist would be amazing,” explains researcher Felipe Gómez Gómez.
Danakil Depression
His team, researchers from the University of Bologna and the International Research School of Planetary Science, traveled to Danakil to study extremophiles, resilient organisms that can exist in harsh conditions.
Danakil Depression
This hypersaline lake, called Lake Afrera, can be seen in this image taken by the NASA Terra spacecraft.

Source: CNN

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