‘Extremotolerant’ moss could grow on Mars


Scientists have discovered a species of moss that lives in Antarctica and the Mojave Desert, but is so strong and resilient it could grow on Mars.

Scientists have samples of Synticia caninervis (a type of snot nose) in a hostile range of conditions. The moss survived storage in -80°C freezers for more than three years, being submerged in liquid nitrogen at an icy -196°C for weeks, and being exposed to the levels of gamma radiation experienced on Mars. It survived with flying colours, even though its normal habitat, while challenging, was hardly as extreme.

At this point the researchers state that in an ecosystem that resembled that of Mars. aatmospheric pressure, UV radiation and low oxygen levels all reflected those on the Red Planet. Almost all of the moss, 98% of it, survived and revived then returned to a more hospitable environment.

“Our research shows that the resilience of the environment Syntrichia caninervis is superior to that of some of the highly stress-tolerant microorganisms,’ the researchers wrote in their study.

The ability of the moss to survive stressful conditions is not entirely shocking. Mosses are thought to be the first complex organism to colonize the Earth. Our primitive planet would have forced moss to adapt radically varying temperatures, extreme UV radiation and drought. It seems that this species retained such skills for millions of years by evolution.

When the extreme tension, the plant enters a “selective metabolic dormancy.” This means that it stores the essential nutrients and other substances the body needs for recovery.

This discovery could make Mars suitable for human habitation. There are two obvious steps for a successful Mars colony: arriving unharmed and surviving after landing. This means that people to grow their own food.

Synticia caninervis (a type of snot nose) could be the starting point. The moss would improve the water holding capacity and structural stability of the soil. It would also increase the nutritional value of the soil by nitrogen and carbon fixation. This humus could make it possible to grow crops.

“Although there is still a long way to go… we have realized the great potential of S. caninervis “As a pioneer plant for Mars,” the researchers said.

The next step is to send samples to the moon and Mars to see if the moss can survive field testing.

The mail ‘Extremotolerant’ moss could grow on Mars first appeared on Explorers Web.

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