Earth’s microbes could temporarily survive on Mars: study

Earth's microbes could temporarily survive on Mars: study

While not all of the microbes survived the trip, a microbe already detected on the International Space Station, the black mold Aspergillus niger, could be revived after returning home.

Some microbes found on Earth could temporarily survive on the surface of Mars, according to a study that could be vital for the success of future missions to the Red Planet.

Researchers from NASA and the German Aerospace Center tested the endurance of microorganisms to Martian conditions by launching them into the stratosphere, the second major layer of Earth’s atmosphere that closely represents key conditions on Mars.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, paves the way for understanding not only the threat of microbes to space missions, but also the opportunities for resource independence from Earth.

“We have successfully tested a new way of exposing bacteria and fungi to Mars-like conditions by using a science balloon to fly our experimental equipment to Earth’s stratosphere,” said Marta Filipa Cortesao, first co-author of the German Aerospace Center study. “Some microbes, especially the spores of the black mold fungus, may have survived the trip, even when…

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