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Mar 30 2015

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Testing extremophile bacteria in Mars-like conditions

SpaceWeather.com is carrying a report on Earth To Sky Calculus’ experiments with halobacteria on-board high-altitude balloons. They’ve already proven that the bacteria can survive flights up to 110,000 feet:

During the flight, onboard sensors registered temperatures as low as -60 C, air pressures of 1% sea level, and cosmic radiation levels 40 times Earth-normal. Those are conditions akin to the planet Mars. Two and a half hours after they were launched, the bacteria landed in the Death Valley National Park. This means they experienced a 100 C swing in temperature, a 100-fold change in air pressure, and a 40-fold surge of radiation.

Now they’re going to send the same samples of halobacteria on multiple flights to 110,000 ft to see if the colony can survive multiple extreme changes in living conditions.

Given that these bacteria can survive such extreme, Mars-like conditions, and combine that with the first post here today about evidence of ground water on Mars, well then I think it’s a safe bet that there is some kind of simple life on Mars. It will be interesting to see if there’s any kind of DNA link between life there and life here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/03/30/testing-extremophile-bacteria-in-mars-like-conditions/

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