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Can bacteria survive on Mars ?


Posted on Monday, 17 December, 2012 | Comment icon 18 comments


Image credit: sxc.hu

 
Scientists have run an experiment to grow bacteria in conditions designed to simulate those on Mars.

While the search for alien life is mostly concerned with the search for conditions similar to those we see here on Earth, it is not a foregone conclusion that life couldn't exist in environments that we would normally consider inhospitable. NASA scientists have put this to the test by creating a low-atmospheric-pressure environment here on Earth in which to simulate the conditions on Mars.

The results indicated that even common bacteria were able to survive under the simulated conditions and that other microbes that have evolved to survive in extreme environments would fare even better. "Just because the planet doesn’t have a large atmosphere, we don’t have to dismiss it right away as non-habitable," said team leader Alexander Pavlov.

"Scientists have grown bacteria in a very low-atmospheric-pressure environment, similar to the surface of Mars."

  View: Full article |  Source: Wired

  Discuss: View comments (18)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by bison on 18 December, 2012, 2:52
I recall reading recently that, according to the Curiosity radiation instrument, the radiation on the surface of Mars is no worse than astronauts receive in Earth orbit, well inside earth's magnetic field. A rather surprising result, given the weak and fragmentary magnetic field on the Red Planet. Life appears to be almost incredibly adaptable. It's tempting to suspect that it will be found in a very wide range of planetary environments.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Leftcoastgal on 19 December, 2012, 2:05
More than bacteria can survive on Mars, apparently. Interested folks could view this video clip confirming the sky on Mars is blue, there are traces everywhere of former civilization and we've had a physical presence up there since the late 60's. Mars is pretty much comparable to an Arizona desert. Check it out: Name of clip: The Project Camelot TruTv pilot episode "Shadow Operations: The Mars Project".. Now, I'll sit back and wait for the thrashing I expect is coming. For some of you though....enjoy! Leftcoastgal
Comment icon #11 Posted by DieChecker on 19 December, 2012, 2:29
Personnally I think the sky of Mars in not blue. Since the pics showing blue sky have the rocks being an almost grey color, I think the color has been tampered with. The pics with the bright red surface show a reddish sky. And direct observation of Mars by anyone with a telescope shows that the surface is the same color of red. Thus, I think the red sky is the true sky. Plus, anything that bases a lot of its story on Richard Hoagland's expertise and opinion is just asking to be torn down.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 19 December, 2012, 13:54
Can we keep the conspiracy theories to the conspiracy section please?
Comment icon #13 Posted by Leftcoastgal on 19 December, 2012, 17:35
Apologies to those offended on the basis of conspiracy or my lack of citing chapter & verse spec that offers hard scientific 'proof', Anything else I can say would still fall into the area of my opinion so I won't proceed beyond this post. The clip was interesting to me as it resonated in several aspects with my current thinking about focus on Mars, not just U.S. attention. Believe it or not I'd never heard of Hoagland and his sidekick before I saw that clip. Project Camelot, yes, and MUFON, I enjoy and learn from some of their meetings, but .. that said, I'll close. Time will tell us all ... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by harvey72 on 14 January, 2013, 20:52
Firstly, of course we must simply consider earth-like environments for the possibility of assessing the possibility of alien life. This arisies from the simple fact that we have detectable and measurable life environments on earth which simply provides us with a starting platform. If we stretch out to envisage other forms of life then we simply enter the unscientific realms of science fiction and fantasy. There are 'extremophiles' on earth (only bacteria) which could perhaps easily survive on Mars, or the possible oceans of Europa (perhaps larger forms of life may exist here too). We have even... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by harvey72 on 14 January, 2013, 20:58
Regarding the colour of the Marsian sky: I believe it will generally appear redish given the dust that is often blown into the atmosphere. Dust will scatter the red end of the spectrum more than the blue end; hence the sky appearing reddish. However, on other occasions I would expect it to appear dark blue - same as Earth. This is due to the scattering of the blue end of the spectrum by the atmosphere; and dark as the atmosphere is so thin. In essence, the same atmospheric gas and dust behiour in scattering of light will equally apply to Mars as it does the Earth.
Comment icon #16 Posted by DieChecker on 15 January, 2013, 0:56
All this suggests life may be very common, but first we must try and locate environments with which we are familiar; otherwise no government is going to invest in expensive exploration! I think that is probably wrong, because the only way that funding would be collected is if a exploration mission was relatively near by... inside our solar system. So, I think even if the 3 other closest stars were shown to have Earth exact like planets, we'd not send probes there till we got our feet dirty looking in our own yard first. We have to do with what we have, and Mars and Europa are what we have. Thu... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 January, 2013, 1:18
But, my observation that the one pic was tampered with is still probably true, since the ground would still be a bright red, not a dull greyish color. This really is not the place for conspiracy theories and I have already asked that conspiracy theories be discussed in the correct place, but as you seem to wish to be made silly who am i to deny you your wish. You seem to be totally unaware of how these colour images are made, that they are not always true colour and what constitutes "true colour" colour is very subjective anyway. Colour images from Mars exploration rovers and landers are taken... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by DieChecker on 15 January, 2013, 1:42
Now if you wish to continue making silly accusations please do so in the conspiracies forum. OK. Thanks for the schooling... I'm big enough to admit when I am wrong. And you convincingly showed that any discussions of color here are probably wrong.


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