Microbes found in the driest desert on Earth could mean life on Mars

Until Elon Musk gets those colonies going on Mars, it might seem difficult to know exactly what the dusty terrain of the Red Planet feels like. Or is it?

There are plenty of deserts here on Earth — after all, Chile's Atacama Desert is known for being the driest in the world.

Now, a once-in-a-decade rain shower there has lead scientists to a remarkable discovery — the area is teeming with life.

In findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, head astrobiologist Dr. Dirk Schulze-Makuch discovered hidden microbes, bacteria and fungi lying dormant in the earth.

Once it rained, those bugs woke up and eventually returned to hibernation.

Scientists hope that if bugs here on earth can live in the aridest conditions, the same may be happening on Mars, where it hasn't rained in a few billion years.

So, when we get to Mars, we may have some otherworldly neighbors — just don’t expect to see Marvin the Martian.

RELATED: Scientists complete mock Mars mission in Negev desert: 

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Scientists complete mock Mars mission in Negev desert
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Scientists complete mock Mars mission in Negev desert
TOPSHOT - Israeli analog astronauts start their mission on the D-MARS Project on February 18, 2018, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency, which simulates life on Mars by performing several scientific experiments and staying in the D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) which is built in an isolated desert area south of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Israeli Negev desert, chosen for its similarities to Mars in terms of geology, aridity, and isolation. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli analog astronauts start their mission on the D-MARS Project on February 18, 2018, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency, which simulates life on Mars by performing several scientific experiments and staying in the D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) which is built in an isolated desert area south of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Israeli Negev desert, chosen for its similarities to Mars in terms of geology, aridity, and isolation. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Israeli analog astronauts start their mission on the D-MARS Project on February 18, 2018, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency, which simulates life on Mars by performing several scientific experiments and staying in the D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) which is built in an isolated desert area south of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Israeli Negev desert, chosen for its similarities to Mars in terms of geology, aridity, and isolation. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli analog astronauts start their mission on the D-MARS Project on February 18, 2018, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency, which simulates life on Mars by performing several scientific experiments and staying in the D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) which is built in an isolated desert area south of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Israeli Negev desert, chosen for its similarities to Mars in terms of geology, aridity, and isolation. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli analog astronauts start their mission on the D-MARS Project on February 18, 2018, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency, which simulates life on Mars by performing several scientific experiments and staying in the D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) which is built in an isolated desert area south of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Israeli Negev desert, chosen for its similarities to Mars in terms of geology, aridity, and isolation. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli analog astronauts start their mission on the D-MARS Project on February 18, 2018, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency, which simulates life on Mars by performing several scientific experiments and staying in the D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) which is built in an isolated desert area south of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Israeli Negev desert, chosen for its similarities to Mars in terms of geology, aridity, and isolation. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli analog astronauts start their mission on the D-MARS Project on February 18, 2018, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency, which simulates life on Mars by performing several scientific experiments and staying in the D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) which is built in an isolated desert area south of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Israeli Negev desert, chosen for its similarities to Mars in terms of geology, aridity, and isolation. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli analog astronauts start their mission on the D-MARS Project on February 18, 2018, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency, which simulates life on Mars by performing several scientific experiments and staying in the D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) which is built in an isolated desert area south of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Israeli Negev desert, chosen for its similarities to Mars in terms of geology, aridity, and isolation. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli analog astronauts start their mission on the D-MARS Project on February 18, 2018, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency, which simulates life on Mars by performing several scientific experiments and staying in the D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) which is built in an isolated desert area south of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Israeli Negev desert, chosen for its similarities to Mars in terms of geology, aridity, and isolation. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli analog astronauts start their mission on the D-MARS Project on February 18, 2018, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency, which simulates life on Mars by performing several scientific experiments and staying in the D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) which is built in an isolated desert area south of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Israeli Negev desert, chosen for its similarities to Mars in terms of geology, aridity, and isolation. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli analog astronauts start their mission on the D-MARS Project on February 18, 2018, in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency, which simulates life on Mars by performing several scientific experiments and staying in the D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) which is built in an isolated desert area south of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Israeli Negev desert, chosen for its similarities to Mars in terms of geology, aridity, and isolation. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
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