“Planted” on the casing of the International space station (ISS) bacteria-the extremophiles could survive for 533 days under irradiation of solar ultraviolet radiation and extreme temperature changes. This experiment proves the possibility of life on Mars, reported in an article in Astrobiology, as well as on the website of the German aerospace center (DLR).
Among all the planets of the Solar system, Mars is perhaps the most likely candidate for a planet capable of supporting life. But it is a very inhospitable place – the conditions are dusty, dry, with a very small amount of oxygen, there is reduced gravity, and the surface is subjected to constant solar radiation because the atmosphere is discharged. There is very cold and very hot. But dust storms often cover the whole earth, plunging all into darkness.
Life on Mars we haven’t found yet, but scientists are conducting experiments aimed at understanding the potential of her possible presence on the red planet. So, for example, recently completed an experiment BIOMEX held by the German aerospace centre with a variety of living organisms, which were sent to the ISS and were proud one and a half in a very unsuitable, as it seemed at first glance, conditions.
“Some types of organisms and biomolecules that we studied, was incredibly resistant to radiation, and they returned to Earth in quite living condition. Of course, this does not mean that similar microbes exist on Mars. On the other hand, we now have even more reason to look for it in subsequent missions,” comments Jean-Pierre de Vera from the Institute of planetological studies of DLR in Berlin.
The study of extremophiles on ISS were conducted over 18 months from October 2014 to June 2016. After that, the samples of life was brought back to Earth for analysis.
All the capsules, which were living organisms were arranged in such a way. For example, some bacteria and other organisms in them “directly” in contact with cosmic radiation, and other microbes were inside a kind of environment that simulates the Martian or lunar soil. So scientists wanted to see if spores of the bacteria or archaea or active colony to survive in the real soil of Mars and where to find them.
The experiment as expected showed that most of algae and microbes can’t survive on the surface of Mars due to ultraviolet radiation. But some of them were incredibly resistant to the action of cosmic radiation, and other extreme influences, which, at least in theory, suggests the possibility of their very comfortable existence in the surface layers of the soil of the red planet.
“For example, we have studied archaea, found in permafrost in the Arctic. They not only survived space travel, but they can be detected in soil using the methods that we created in the framework of the BIOMEX project. Such unicellular organisms can be found on the real Mars,” adds Jean-Pierre de Vera.
Scientists hope that the data collected will help the Rover “Rosalind Franklin” the European space Agency to detect the traces of existing or even extinct life, as well as to find hints that will indicate the possibility of its existence on some other planets of the Solar system.
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