Microbial life can survive on Mars after all
A new study has added weight to the idea that microbes can survive in the harsh conditions on Mars.
The Red Planet may appear to be little more than a barren, lifeless desert, but according to a team of astrobiologists at the University of Arkansas, microorganisms known as methanogens may have what it takes to eke out an existence there.
The study involved growing microbes in a liquid solution that was intended to represent the fluid believed to exist just beneath the planet's surface. The microbes were exposed to freezing cold temperatures and low atmospheric pressures to simulate the actual conditions on Mars.
Impressively, several of the samples were found to have survived for up to 21 days.
So could there really be microbes living on Mars right now ? It's certainly possible, especially given the unexpected detection of methane in its atmosphere which has yet to be fully explained.
"On Earth, most methane is produced biologically by past or present organisms," said study lead author Rebecca Mickol. "The same could possibly be true for Mars."
"Of course, there are a lot of possible alternatives to the methane on Mars and it is still considered controversial. But that just adds to the excitement.