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How are microbes on Mars to be able to survive in salty lakes on the Red Planet

Bacteria can survive on the surface of the Red Planet?

In extremely salty lakes similar to the ones found on Mars, bacteria are able to survive until they are completely dry, which suggests that the Red Planet may be more habitable than previously thought, according to a new study.

Since there is life virtually wherever there is water on the Earth, and the investigation of the question of whether Mars ever was capable of hosting life, and it’s still possible to host, it is usually focused on the past or current presence of liquid water on or below the surface. However, in the cold, thin atmosphere that Mars has now, it means liquid water is unlikely to exist on the surface for any length of time.

Still, just before dawn, the vaporization of the frost on the Martian surface, and drive humidity levels up to 100 per cent, says the study’s senior author, Mark Schneegurt, an astrobiologist at Wichita State University in Kansas. At its peak, the relative humidity on Mars can be similar to the drier areas of the Atacama Desert in Chile, the driest place on Earth apart from the poles, which, however, is the home of one’s life.

Related: Cold war, Hot Topic: Can the Bacteria Survive on Mars?

In addition, a variety of salts and minerals can often be found on the surface of Mars, it would be able to absorb the moisture. Because it is salt-laden moisture, which is the result of a lower freezing point than water, they are able to withstand the cold temperatures that prevail in the Red Planet’s surface, and may harbor life.

However, the relative humidity at the Martian surface, plummets during the day as the temperature rises. As well as any other microbial life on Mars, it would most likely have to deal with getting dehydrated.

In order to see if life on Mars could survive cycles of dehydration, researchers experimented with two species of bacteria was taken from two saline areas, Hot Lake, Washington, and the Great salt plains in Oklahoma. They grew them in the lab, a solution that is half water and half magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom salt, is a type of salt is common on the Martian surface.

The researchers will in addition to dried the small drops of this bacteria-laden solution with a water-absorbent substance under a vacuum, in order to simulate how the salt brine on the Martian surface can be avoided. Finally, they locked in the dried-up drops in a pot of regular water and salt water in the pot and fill with water.

Within a day, the scientists found that the dried drops are absorbed enough moisture from the air to the liquid in the brine solution, at which point the bacteria have breathed new life into it, and began to grow. Typically, more than one-half of the cells survived.

“We have the first evidence that the growth rate of the bacteria after drying and then rehydration due to humidity alone, in the presence of salt, which absorbs moisture from the air,” said Schneegurt Space.com.

These findings have to be able to expand what scholars consider to move in to, if it’s going to be dry and cold in the worlds, Schneegurt said. It can also be an indication that there is a higher risk than had previously been thought to be the Earth, the microbes are able to infect other worlds.

In the future, the researchers are investigating how bacteria perform in the colder temperatures typical of Mars, as well as other types of salts are found on the Martian surface, Schneegurt said.

The scientists detailed their findings on 21 June, at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, San Francisco, california.

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The original article Space.com.

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