A2: Microbes in the News

Article: Balloon Experiment Reveals Earth Microbe’s Likely Fate on Mars

Link: SPACEREF MARS TODAY , https://astrobiology.com/2017/04/balloon-experiment-reveals-earth-microbes-likely-fate-on-mars.html

Summary: To know the limit of what microbes can stand is important for preventing contamination of Mars when our spacecraft arrive. In October 2015, a giant balloon launched to the sky, which is an altitude of 31 kilometers to find microbes which is contaminated and brought by human experiment. Another study found that almost all of bacteria will die within few days by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. David J. Smith of NASA’s Ames Research Center, conducted the experiment ,called the Exposing Microorganism in the Stratosphere(E-MIST), and this experiment brought samples, which is in the phase of endospore from the atmosphere. This result suggests that microbes which stick to a spacecraft to Mars can manage to survive the journey.

Connections: This topic is connected to the idea like “Microbes are everywhere’ even in the atmosphere.

Critical analysis: This article said microbes are dormant or endospores when they are in the atmosphere. However, if they find some microbes, it’s possibly from somewhere in the earth sticked to human made aircraft. Or, if microbes are in dormant or endospores and they are packed by meteorite, the shock is huge when they land on the surface on Mars. Therefore, even they have tolerance for UV, it’s difficult to survive in the space.

Question: How microbes can survive in the space when they are dormant or endospores?

1 Comment for “A2: Microbes in the News”



I thought this was a cool simulation for microbe survivability on mars. I imagine if they find bacteria that survive on mars, they’d have to have some sort of mechanisms for blocking UV radiation. If microbes thrive on a meteorite, I imagine a sufficiently large population will be decent enough to transfer even a small population of microbes after the shock of impact. I think microbes can easily survive in space in general so long as there is a sufficient nutrient source and the ability to survive the environment.