Movile Cave – A Corner Of Mars On Earth

Romania boasts many unusual places, and the Movile Cave (pestera Movile) is definitely one of these. The story began in 1986, when a group of Romanian researchers discovered the cave in Mangalia, a town near the Black Sea Coast. After a more detailed study, they observed that the cave was inhabited by some unusual organisms.

Movile Cave Spider
Photo courtesy turismland.ro

The real reason why Movile Cave has shocked the entire scientific world was in fact the weird ecosystem found inside. Several animal species, of which 33 were completely new, have been found in this absolutely independent bionetwork.

The novelty resides in the discovery of the first ecosystem on Earth whose life is based on chemosynthesis (life without oxygen). According to scientists, this procedure was supposed to be possible only on Mars, Europa and other planets, but never on Earth.

Among the creatures found inside the Movile Cave there were two pseudo scorpions, a 10 cm millipede whose bite is venomous and extremely dangerous, a very unusual water scorpion, four spiders and a new species of leech. All the underground residents are characterized by a pale color, total lack of vision and giant antennas used to move in the dark.

It is believed that these living fossils have survived for millions of years, their refuge in the Movile Cave beginning taking place during the Ice Age.

Larry Lemke, a prominent researcher at NASA whose main preoccupation is to investigate the existence of life on Mars, has compared Movile Cave’s living conditions with those on Mars.

Moreover, the Romanian cave has also inspired the production of “The Cave (2005)”, directed by Bruce Hunt.