Surface of Mars Hostile to Microbes

Latest lab tests show salt minerals on Mars kill basic life form bacteria implying the'Red Planet is more uninhabitable than

Perchlorates are found on the red planet in 2008, when the lander "Phoenix" has analysed the chemical composition of Martian soil. This hypothesis was backed up by the observation that low temperatures, which slow down chemical reactions, extended the lifespan of the bacteria in the perchlorates but still resulted in them dying.

Further tests found that the UV rays broke down the perchlorate into other chemicals, namely hypochlorite and chlorite, and it is these that appear to be so destructive to the bacteria.

Researchers from that institution imitated the Martian conditions in an Earth laboratory setting, finding that the combination of perchlorates and UV light killed Bacillus subtilis, which is common in soils, on rocks and on spacecraft, the university explained.

The researchers also suggest that two other components on the Martian surface - iron oxides and hydrogen peroxide - may act alongside the perchlorates resulting in a 10 times increase in bacteria death.

It turns out that these perchlorates are actually highly toxic to life when bathed in UV radiation that pummels Mars.




Scientists might have finally lain to rest the eternal question: "Is there life on Mars?". The briny patches would be likely to concentrate perchlorates, making the streaks even more toxic than the surrounding soil. "I can't speak for life in the past", co-author Jennifer Wadsworth tells Sample. But a recent study seems to prove otherwise.

Future missions will have to dig deep underground to find past or present life if it lurks there, the researchers said. "This should greatly reduce planetary protection concerns as well as any concerns about infection of astronauts", he said.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have now confirmed that when you pair the compounds with intense ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, things become grim for any life forms. Some argue that perchlorates are a strong indication of the likelihood of life on the Red Planet. This makes the surface "microbe-killers".

M - Chances that life exists on the surface of Mars are dwindling, according to a report released Thursday, which shows that the planet is coated with toxic chemicals that can wipe out living organisms, rendering it "more uninhabitable than previously thought". Although we have our own problems with perchlorate here on Earth - too much of it can mess with the thyroid gland - the new paper suggests that perchlorate is particularly nasty on Mars.

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