Mars: Could microbes have survived for millions of years under the surface?

According to this study, we should therefore look for life and this evidence under the surface of the planet. There is no running water or significant water in the Martian atmosphere, so cells and spores dry out“, explains Brian Hoffman, in a press release. “The surface temperature on Mars is also known to be roughly similar to dry ice, so it is indeed deeply frozen.

Of all the bacteria studied under these conditions similar to those of Mars, Deinococcus radiodurans (nicknamed “Conan the bacterium”) emerged as the most adapted to Martian life. It is this bacterium which had already been identified as capable of interplanetary travel thereby, bring life to another planet. According to the study, Deinococcus can spend 1.5 million years just 10 centimeters below the surface, and about 280 million years at 10 meters deep, points out

We suggest that periodic melting could allow intermittent repopulation and dispersal. Moreover, if Martian life existed, even if viable life forms are not present on Mars, their macromolecules and viruses would survive much, much longer. This reinforces the likelihood that, if life ever evolved on Mars, it would show up in future missions.“, concludes Michael Daly.

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