Can Earth life survive on Mars?

Can Earth life survive on Mars?
Barren landscape on the planet Mars. Credit: ImageMostphotos/Simon Alvinge

Is there life on Mars, and can life from Earth survive there—or on other space bodies? The international BIOMEX research team, which includes researchers from many countries and space organizations, including Natuschka Lee at Umeå University, Sweden, has made biological experiments under space conditions. An overview of their results has now been published.

Life on Mars is a research topic that employs many researchers around the world. The international BIOMEX research team (BIOlogy and Mars Experiment) has done a preliminary study into how from Earth can survive under Mars-like conditions.

The purpose of the BIOMEX project was to investigate how different biological samples (including various microbes, fungi, lavor, mosses and various biochemical substances and minerals) can survive under various conditions.

This was a long-lasting project where the researchers first studied the samples in space simulation laboratories on Earth to identify the most stress-tolerant organisms. Then they were sent to the International Space Station ISS to be exposed to real space conditions for about 1.5 years, before being sent back to Earth and the various research laboratories for different surveys.

"The first results have now been published and they have shown that although different types of stress reactions could be observed, a number of organisms showed surprising survival strategies," says Natuschka Lee, researcher at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences at Umeå University.

Explore further

Can organisms survive on Mars, and can we identify them?

More information: Jean-Pierre de Vera et al. Limits of Life and the Habitability of Mars: The ESA Space Experiment BIOMEX on the ISS, Astrobiology (2019). DOI: 10.1089/ast.2018.1897
Journal information: Astrobiology

Provided by Umea University
Citation: Can Earth life survive on Mars? (2019, July 24) retrieved 23 September 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jul 24, 2019
"Can Earth life survive on Mars?"
The simple answer? No, not without continuous and never ending support, from Earth.
When that support dries up, it's just a matter of time until any life related to Earth will die.

Jul 25, 2019
Earth life that is embedded in rocks, in caves or water systems deep underground could easily survive and thrive on Mars. Most likely, when we start digging there, we will find life is still viable and active.

Jul 25, 2019
taylor. i generally agree with your assessment of the difficulties we will face on Mars or any other small, rocky world

we shouldn't assume any definitive conclusions of what we opinionate we know of Mars
until we send a fleet of robot prospectors & drillers to multiple locations on that planet's surface

& we have not yet proven that Earth Biology can even survive, reproduce, thrive over multiple generations away from the protective influences of the Mother Earth

jeff, i could have guardedly agreed with some of your claims
however "easily"really wrecks your comment
you try living in those deep Earth cave environments & then let's hear how well that went

there were billions of years of "root hog or die!" to get to today's survivable environments
^ most of those biomes are only cozy habitats for slime

before any of us can congratulate ourselves for the conquest?
before we celebrate the "certain" victory with parades?
first, we have ti show up for the battle!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more