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Some bacteria can survive Martian conditions

Some bacteria can survive Martian conditions

If there are permanent human settlements on Mars, our microbes will become residents of the Red Planet with us, and it is only a matter of time. In recent decades, there have been many experiments on this topic, which were partly about whether microbes operating according to biological principles similar to ours could exist on Mars, and partly about whether terrestrial microbes could survive in the harsh Martian conditions. . NASA, for example, has conducted studies High atmosphere On balloonsWhich could represent an “in space” test not only in terms of temperature, but also in terms of radiation exposure conditions. Even then, it can be guessed that there will be quite resistant microbes. In fact, we're not surprised that there are a lot of microbes traveling aboard the International Space Station.

Why is this an important question? If you want to know if there was life on Mars in the past, it is important to avoid contaminants that were brought there from Earth – during the analysis, these contaminants may appear as false information in the data. Additionally, the idea that a healthy astronaut on his way to Mars might contract a common and easily treatable infection on Earth that could not be treated under the conditions there is also troubling, because we were not prepared for that possibility. It is therefore advisable to be aware of what to expect.

Lately it is Astrobiology A German-Dutch research group published the results of research discussing this question in a journal, Research A Science News mentioned. The researchers conducted experiments in an environment similar to Mars, that is, in a closed laboratory site with cold atmospheric pressure, no water, strong ultraviolet rays, and soil filled with compounds toxic to life. The experiments studied common everyday microbes that are largely harmless to humans, but can also cause disease if the body is stressed (B).Orchholderia cepacia, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, And Serratia marcescens). Previous research has mostly only looked at people living in harsh Earth environments, whose chances of reaching Mars would be very low. However, screened individuals can easily make their way either onto equipment or onto people's bodies.

Although the soil contained, in principle, toxic components, bacteria not only lived in it, but some of them were able to reproduce: Pseudomonas aeruginosa It increased continuously for 3 weeks. It is not clear how he managed to do this. He may have found a kind of “small oases” between the dry soil grains, where there are enough water and nutrients, and he can also obtain protection from ultraviolet radiation. In addition, it will be necessary to know how astronauts' bodies interact with these microbes – perhaps space travel means enough stress for bacteria to become pathogenic.

However, it seems that it will be necessary to travel to Mars carrying a very large collection of antibiotics so that we can deal with different microbes. It cannot even be ruled out that these bacteria undergo mutations in Martian conditions. The researchers believe that it will be important to identify areas on Mars as quickly as possible where humans cannot set foot, and we can only get there with robotic vehicles, so that we can avoid contaminating the area with human microbes.

It is assumed that human knowledge and ingenuity will be able to overcome these potential problems, without which we have no chance of conquering the solar system.

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