Some forms of terrestrial life could temporarily survive on Mars

Researchers from NASA and the German Aerospace Center tested the resistance of some microbes in a probe sent to the Earth’s stratosphere

| 02/22/2021 | ionicons-v5-c12: 13 | . |

Science Writing.- Some life forms of the land could survive, at least temporarily, in Mars, as verified by an international team of scientists to send microbes to terrestrial stratosphere, where conditions are very similar to those of the Red planet.

Researchers of the POT and from German Aerospace Center they tested that resistance of some microbes in a probe sent to the stratosphere of the land with the aim of studying its potential and the possible threats of manned travel to Mars, and have published their findings in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

The researchers thus exposed, in a scientific globe, bacteria and fungi to conditions similar to those of Mars, and they saw how some could survive to the trip even when they were exposed to very high ultraviolet radiation, explained the researcher Marta Filipa Cortesão, from the German Aerospace Center, in the communication published by the aforementioned magazine.

Understand the resistance of microbes to the space travels is vital to the success of future missions, the researchers, which have influenced the fact that when looking for extraterrestrial life, one must be completely sure that whatever is discovered has not traveled from the land.

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« With long-term manned missions to Mars, we need to know how the microorganisms associated with humans would survive, since some may represent a risk to the health of astronauts « , explained researcher Katharina Siems, from the same center, and pointed out that some microbes could also be useful for producing food independently of the land.

Many features of the Martian surface environment cannot be easily replicated on the surface of the landBut above the ozone layer these conditions are remarkably similar.

The researchers threw into the stratosphere microbes inside a box (MarsBox) that was kept under « Martian pressure » and filled with artificial Martian atmosphere. Within it, they differentiated two layers, one of them protected from radiation and the other overexposed to that radiation.

And they found that, although not all microbes survived the trip, one of them, the black mold (Aspergillus niger), -which had already been previously detected on the International Space Station-, revived upon returning to the land.

The scientists who have participated in this work have underlined in the communication published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology that microorganisms are closely connected with humans, with their body, food or the environment, so it is impossible to rule them out in space travels.

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« Using analogies for the Martian environment, like the MarsBox balloon mission to the stratosphere, is a really important way to help us explore all the implications of the space travels in microbial life and how we can advance this knowledge towards amazing space discoveries « , have underlined the researchers.