- Recently, researchers simulated the harsh ionising radiation on Mars in a new study where they found that ancient bacteria could potentially survive close to the surface of the planet much longer than previously thought.
- A new study shatters that record, finding the hearty bacterium could survive 280 million years if buried. This means evidence of life could still be dormant and buried below Mars’ surface.
About Deinococcus radiodurans
- Many of the terrestrial microorganisms proved that they might be able to survive on Mars, but one particular microbe called Deinococcus radiodurans seemed particularly well-suited to living on the planet.
- The researchers nicknamed the bacteria “Conan the bacterium” for its ability to survive massive amounts of radiation while frozen.
- This means that scientists might even find bacteria and bacteria remains when the first samples from Mars come back to our planet.
- To understand whether any life forms could survive the harsh climatic conditions on Mars, the research team exposed six different terrestrial bacteria and fungi under conditions similar to life on the red planet.
- They did this by freezing the microbes and hitting them with gamma rays and protons.