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Science

NASA says some Earth organisms could temporarily survive on Mars – Engadget

We might unknowingly contaminate Mars and some other world we’re exploring sooner or later with microorganisms from our planet. Scientists from NASA and the German Aerospace Heart launched a number of fungal and bacterial organisms to the stratosphere again in 2019 as a part of the MARSBOx experiment. The stratosphere, the second main layer of the Earth’s ambiance positioned above the ozone layer, has circumstances that carefully resemble the Pink Planet and is ideal place to ship samples to with a purpose to work out in the event that they’d survive on Mars. Now, the scientists have published a paper on their findings, the place they mentioned how the spores of black mould survived the journey. 

The microorganism might solely stay on the floor of Mars briefly to be exact, however the researchers discovered that the spores could possibly be revived after they returned residence. The crew positioned fungal spores of Aspergillus niger and Salinisphaera shabanensis, Staphylococcus capitis subsp. capitis and Buttiauxella sp. MASE-IM-9 bacterial cells contained in the MARSBOx (or Microbes in Ambiance for Radiation, Survival, and Organic Outcomes Experiment) aluminum container. There have been two pattern layers contained in the container, with the underside one being shielded from radiation so NASA can separate the results of radiation from the results of different environmental circumstances. A NASA balloon carried the container to the stratosphere, the place the samples had been topic to Martian-like circumstances and uncovered to UV radiation over a thousand instances greater than the degrees that trigger sunburn.

So, what does Aspergillus niger surviving the journey imply for house journey? As Katharina Siems, a crew member from the German Aerospace Heart, stated: 

“With crewed long-term missions to Mars, we have to know the way human-associated microorganisms would survive on the Pink Planet, as some could pose a well being threat to astronauts. As well as, some microbes could possibly be invaluable for house exploration. They may assist us produce meals and materials provides independently from Earth, which might be essential when far-off from residence.” 

Final yr, NASA updated its insurance policies to replicate its stronger dedication to stopping the Moon and Mars from human contamination. The company needs to ensure it does not unknowingly take organisms or different contaminants from Earth to different worlds, since that might compromise the seek for extraterrestrial life. Bringing them residence from different worlds might additionally negatively have an effect on the environment. Siems defined that experiments just like the MARSBOx mission “is a extremely essential means to assist us discover all of the implications of house journey on microbial life and the way we will drive this information in the direction of wonderful house discoveries.”

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