Life on Mars: Micro organism may survive on the Purple Planet for 280 million years

When the micro organism are dried and frozen, as they might probably be slightly below the floor of Mars, they will survive the extreme radiation that hits the Purple Planet for a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of years.


October 25, 2022

Photo of bacteria

This extremophilic bacterium can stand up to excessive radiation


Microorganisms may survive slightly below the floor of Mars for much longer than researchers thought. In a brand new set of experiments, the researchers discovered that the desiccated micro organism may keep alive in Mars-like circumstances for as much as 280 million years, bettering our probabilities of discovering proof for them. if Mars ever hosted life.

Extra earlier experiences To check whether or not microorganisms may survive the extreme radiation on Mars, micro organism hydrated at room temperature had been used – the longest of those had been thought to have the ability to survive for as much as round 1,000,000 years. Brian Hoffman at Northwestern College in Illinois and his colleagues took a distinct method, desiccating a wide range of micro organism and yeasts and freezing them earlier than subjecting them to radiation much like what a life kind buried on Mars would expertise and measuring the injury.

“There’s this phenomenal multiplication of resistance once you eliminate the water and funky every little thing down,” Hoffman says. It’s much like freeze drying meals to make it last more. Mars is dry and chilly, so it’s possible that micro organism can be discovered there as properly. The researchers’ samples had been so minimally broken by the radiation that they estimated the micro organism may survive for as much as round 280 million years.

If the freeze-dried micro organism had been warmed up and uncovered to water throughout this time, they might come out of their dormant state. “It opens up some potentialities for revitalization if a meteor with water descends and splashes on the floor, it may regenerate,” says Hoffman. “The chance that he is nonetheless alive now has gone from zero to the smallest factor you may think about – it is not zero, nevertheless it’s actually not nice.” It’s estimated that Mars has dried up about 3 billion years in the past, so even the hardest micro organism are in all probability lifeless by now.

This longevity would possibly make it simpler for us to search out preserved proof of any micro organism that lived on Mars, nevertheless it additionally implies that if we contaminate it with terrestrial organisms, that contamination can be just about everlasting.

“If we contaminate the world we land in, how do we all know if what we discover was there earlier than we arrived or if it is one thing we dropped off?” stated Hoffman. “If we will not inform what’s ours and what’s theirs, so to talk, then it is unattainable to inform if there was life there.”

Journal reference: Astrobiology, DOI: 10.1089/ast.2022.0065

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