Microbes Could Survive On Mars

Posted: Jan 24 2017, 5:21am CST | by , Updated: Jan 24 2017, 9:03pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

Microbes Could Survive on Mars
Photo Credit: Rebecca Mickol

New Research Study Proves Survival of Microbes on Mars

A new study reveals that microbes can survive on Mars. Microbes are the oldest organisms on earth and they can easily withstand the thin air of Mars.

Though at present, the Mars has cold and dry surface, but there were several evidence of flakes, rivers, and sea water on Mars several billion years ago. Water is a cause behind life on earth,that’s why scientists believe that Mars had life several billions years ago, and even life exists there now.

Earth has a variety of microorganisms, and we can’t believe that there are no organism on Mars, the moon and other planets, stated Rebecca Mickol, an astrobiologist at the Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and the lead author of the study.

The study was detailed in a paper titled, “Low Pressure Tolerance by Methanogens in an Aqueous Environment: Implications for Subsurface Life on Mars,” which got published in the journal Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres.

Past researchers also detected methane, an organic molecule on Mars. Methane is developed through abiotic ways, including volcanoes, and the colorless gas is created by cattle digesting food that’s a sign of life.

It was really exciting for the scientists to discover Methane on Mars. Methane develops on earth due to organisms, that shows that it also produced on Mars due to some organisms.

Methanogens produce methane on earth and methanogens are small microbes. Methane is also called natural gas. Methanogens are found in marshes, swamps, cattle’s guts, termites’ guts and in some herbivores in the form of decayed matter.

The microorganisms don’t need oxygen to live and they are the oldest on earth. They depend on hydrogen for energy and also use carbon dioxide to create organic molecules. All these facts show that methanogens can live in Martian surface.

To observe if methanogens can survive in Mars, the researchers took 4 species of methanogens and did experiment at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. The 4 species were Methanothermobacter wolfeii, Methanosarcina barkeri, Methanobacterium formicicum, and Methanococcus maripaludis.

The experiment lasted for 1 year and the research team grew microbes in test tubes with liquid around, like that flows under Martian aquifers. Microbes’ food was hydrogen gas and cotton swabs were used to cover the liquid, and the swabs were covered with dirt simulating that’s found on Mars. Each test tube was put under low pressures.

Under pressure when there was no oxygen, the microbes survived from 3 to 21 days at a pressure that was 6 thousand times below earth’s pressure. That showed that organisms could survive in low pressures.

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