Brine-based salt-tolerant bacteria were found to revive even after the brine was put through a series of drying and rewetting. The current study was carried out so as to look for any possibilities of having life on Mars and also finding out if there are chances that Mars and other planetary bodies may get contaminated with terrestrial microbes. The study has been presented at ASM Microbe 2019. The major focus is how do the microbes survive and grow even after being dried and rewetted using humidity for a couple of times. According to Mark Schneegurt from Wichita State University, though Mars may look dry, it still has ample of sulfate salts of calcium, magnesium, and iron that form saturated brines even if the temperatures are harsh. The Red Planet’s surface could be compatible for terrestrial microorganisms and Martian microbes.
Mars’ extreme humidity and aridity has been found to be almost 80–100% during the nights and then slowly dip when it’s daytime as the temperature is found to escalate. The studies have shown that there are possibilities that the surface salts could have attracted enough water that led to the formation of brine, which supports microbial growth. The study can help reinvestigate the constituents of a habitable zone and also widen the search for life on other icy bodies as well. The researchers cultivated Halomonas and Marinococcus species obtained from the Hot Lake and Great Salt Plains as they contained 50% magnesium sulfate and 50% water.
The dry and rewetting followed by humidity helped the bacterial cells revive after forming liquid brine. The researchers concluded that liquid water is a source of life. Mars shows the presence of saturated salts in the liquid water, which may limit chances of life but help microbial population tolerate the salts and frigid temperatures. The understanding of microbial growth on Mars can help understand the chances of its or other celestial bodies’ contamination with organisms. Curiosity detects natural gas, methane, which shows potential signs of life on the planet. The presence of methane on Mars provides evidence that there may be measly life forms thriving on the planet.
Scot Gallegos pursued a Master’s Degree in Astrology from a US-based university. He manages to handle science-related topics, which specifically includes research activities in the field of Space and Science. His coverage over the recent space exploration is phenomenal. Scot is quite experienced in playing with words, while due to his good understanding regarding space and technology-related concepts, Daily Industry Updates news portal has offered him the post of Content Editor. During his spare time, he updates his knowledge regarding Space and the Universe by reading space journals and books. He has set up a separate books section in his living room.