Microorganisms from Earth can survive temporarily on Mars: study

While not all germs survived this journey, one was first discovered on the International Space Station, the black molded Aspergillus niger, it can be revived after coming back home.

Some germs found on Earth may survive temporarily on the surface of Mars, according to a study that may be critical to the success of future missions to the red planet.

Researchers at NASA and the German Aerospace Center tested the endurance of microorganisms for the position of Mars by launching into the stratosphere the second major layer of the Earth’s atmosphere that flatly represents critical conditions on Mars.

the studyPublished in the magazine Frontiers in Microbiology, Paves the way for space missions to understand not only the threat of microbes, but also the opportunity for resource independence from Earth.

Marta Philippa Cortesao, joint author of the study at the German Aerospace Center, said, “We have developed a new way of exposing bacteria and fungi to conditions such as Mars, using a scientific balloon to fly our experimental equipment to the Earth’s stratosphere.” Tested successfully. ” “Spores from some microbes, particularly black mold fungi, were able to keep the trip alive even when exposed to very high ultraviolet (UV) radiation”.

While searching for extra-terrestrial life, scientists need to make sure that whatever they discover is not just a trip from Earth.

“With the crew’s long-term mission on Mars, we need to know how human-caused microorganisms will survive on the red planet,” said Katharina Semmes, a joint first author based on German aerospace. center. “In addition, some microorganisms can be invaluable for space exploration. They can help us supply food and materials freely from Earth, which will be important when away from home.”

Many of the key features of the environment on the surface of Mars cannot be easily found on the surface of the Earth, but the conditions in the middle stratosphere are remarkably similar.

Corteso explained, “We launched MARSBOx (microbe into the atrosier for radiation, survival and biological outperformance) into the stratosphere inside MARSBOx, which was kept under Martian pressure and filled with artificial Martian environments throughout the mission. ” “The box took two sample layers, with the lower layer shielded by radiation.”

This allowed researchers to distinguish the effects of radiation from other test conditions: desiccation, atmosphere, and temperature fluctuations during flight.

He said that the top layer samples were exposed to UV radiation over a thousand times the level of sunburn on our skin.

“While not all microbes had survived the journey, one was first discovered on the International Space Station, black mold Aspergillus niger, It can be revived after returning home, “Symes explained.” Microorganisms are closely associated with us; Our body, our food, our environment, so it is impossible to exclude them from space travel.

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