Earthly Life Could Survive On Mars, New Studies Suggest

Mars is a beautiful uninspired planet. It is cold, it is dry, and it gets a lot of ultraviolet light on its surface. We do not know if there is life there – or if it was in the past. Two new independent studies show that we cannot rule out the possibility and we need to focus on what we send to the Red Planet. 

Life from Earth Could Deal With Martian Conditions

The first work published in Frontiers in Microbiology. Researchers working on the study have found that life forms from Earth may have survived temporarily Mars. Bacteria and fungi transported to the stratosphere in a balloon, where they kept in Martian atmospheric conditions and exposed to UV radiation from the sun. Not all microorganisms survived the trip, but some of them did. In particular, the black mold stops the complete destruction of seeds from Aspergillus niger and Salinisphaera shabanensis  bacteria. It should inform us how to protect Mars from germs that could inadvertently navigate our craft, as some of them may have survived on the Red Planet.

Earthly Life Could Survive On Mars, New Studies Suggest

Marta Filipa Cortesão, co-author of the study at the German Aerospace Center in Cologne, said, “We have successfully tested a new method of exposing bacteria and fungi on Mars using scientific balloons to fly our experimental equipment to the Earth’s surface.” , Germany said in a statement. “Some germs, especially the seeds obtained from the black mold fungus, were able to survive the trip despite being exposed to very high UV radiation.” “With long-term missions to Mars, we need to know how human-linked microorganisms will survive on the Red Planet, as some may pose a health risk to astronauts,” said Katharina Sims, co-author of the first German spaceflight, “Center in German space.”In addition, some germs can be invaluable for space exploration. They can help us to provide food and material individually from Earth, which is very important because we are far from home.”

Microbes Like Mars Soil Too

The second study, published in Nature Communications Earth and the Environment, is equally exciting, as the researchers found that soil from the Martian meteorite had used to grow bacteria in the soil. The team used Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, a piece of Mars about 4.5 billion years old. A few grams of it crushed and met chemolithotrophs, rock-eating microorganisms. The question they were trying to answer was that if such a creature existed on Mars, what sign could they follow? 

Tetyana Milojevic, the chief astronomer at the Space Biochemistry Group at the University of Vienna, said in a statement, “We can speculate that similar life to chemolithotrophs existed in the early years of the Red Planet.” The team discovered that these chemolithotrophs made mineral capsules made of iron, manganese, and aluminum phosphate. These were unique to the old Martian soils, and were not isolated on Earth by these germs – or even in experiments with carbon-rich meteorites without martins. In the future, it may be possible to find these mineral structures directly on Mars.