The colonization of the Red Planet was a subject of numerous movies, books and space lovers’ fantasy. And it might come true, after all, since astronauts discovered that life on Mars is possible. The potential lifeform that could thrive in the harsh conditions is fungi. While the tiny Antarctic fungi were only tested on the space station in conditions similar to those on the Red Planet, scientists are confident that life on Mars is possible.
The Cryptoendolithic Fungi Could Be the First Lifeform on Mars
According to the scientists, the Cryptoendolithic fungi could be the first lifeform on Mars. The tiny shroom is usually found in the Antarctic Land of Victoria in the Dry Valleys of McMurdo so it is used to live in very harsh environments.
In order to test if the life form could survive on the alien planet, European researchers collected a few samples and sent them to the International Space Station (ISS). After 18 months of exposure to an environment specially created to mimic the conditions on the Red Planet, the fungi was doing well.
Life on Mars is Possible
Rosa Noetzel de la Torre, a co-researcher in the Life on Mars project, and a member of the Aerospace Technology National Institute in Spain says that the endolithic communities’ cells remained intact prior to the exposure, their cellular DNA stability remaining high.
According to de la Torre, the next step is to plant the Cryptoendolithic fungi on the surface of the alien planet and see if life on Mars is possible or not.
After being relocated on the surface of the Red Planet the microorganism will continue to be studied, scientists focusing on its bioindicators, its stability on a long-term basis and, of course, its ability to survive in another world.
It’s A Small Step for the Fungi, But a Big Step for Humankind
This is a very important advancement in the research for Mars colonization. It is the first step towards bringing intelligent life on the Red Planet. A small step for the fungi, but a big step for humankind.
After discovering, last year, that there are salty water rivers flowing on the surface of the planet, the introduction of living microorganisms is the next logical step for the scientists.
But the survival skills of the Cryptoendolithic fungi is not just a clue that life on Mars is possible, but it may also mean that life on Mars was possible some time ago.
The Mars-Like Conditions Only Enhanced the Metabolic Activity of the Fungi
After 18 months of experiments, and different kinds of microorganism used and exposed to both space and Mars conditions, the results showed that the fungi that were exposed to space conditions did not fare well at all, but the Mars one showed a double metabolic activity level than the one they had on Earth. This only comes to strengthen the idea that life on Mars is possible.
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