Get to know if life on Mars is even possible for humans after a new study reveals shocking information.
While perchlorates, which are composed of chlorine and oxygen, are toxic to humans, microbes typically love the stuff.
"This should be taken into account in designing missions to Mars", said Wadsworth.
Perchlorates, stable at room temperature, become active at high heat.
Experiments by researchers at Edinburgh University have found that when this combined with compounds found in the Martian soil, they turned into potent bactericides, effectively sterilising the upper layers of the landscape. Bacillus subtilis are among the commonest Earthly bacteria that can contaminate spacecraft before they leave the ground.
When exposed to ultraviolet light, perchlorates, the class of chemical compounds on Mars' surface, turn deadly for bacteria. But when the researchers added UV light to the mix, the test tube was completely sterilized within 30 seconds.
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When mixed with an oxidant called magnesium perchlorate and exposed to UV radiation - similar to the light which surrounds the red planet - the living organisms were destroyed twice as fast.
The study observed some #Perchlorates, believed to be brine streaks on the surface of the planet. With that in mind, the researchers also tested a scenario in which the microbes hung out on Mars "rock analogues" made out of silica. While there may be other microorganisms and life forms that can survive the activated perchlorates, the death of the B. subtilis could be a negative indication of how further research could pan out.
Mars once had water on the surface, much like our own planet, with the oceans, rivers and lakes.
"Although the toxic effects of oxidants on the Martian surface have been suspected for some time, our observations show that the surface of present-day Mars is highly deleterious to cells, caused by a toxic cocktail of oxidants, iron oxides, perchlorates and UV irradiation", the researchers write.
RG: Does this discovery rule out the possibility of life on Mars at present?
But there's also a positive.
WIKIMEDIA, Y TAMBELife is a daunting prospect on the surface of our nearest planetary neighbor, Mars.