Cyanobacteria can grow on Mars, feeding on local resources

Cyanobacteria can grow on Mars, feeding on local resources

An interesting experiment, the results of which were at Frontiers in Microbiology, shows that oxygen-producing bacteria called cyanobacteria can theoretically survive on Mars using only local resources, particularly bioreactors.

Researchers used a special bioreactor built by scientists from the University of Bremen, specially designed to simulate Martian and partially terrestrial conditions, which is mandatory because the achievement of the same Earth conditions on Mars is too difficult, while the Martian conditions are characterized by atmospheric pressures that are too low to produce liquid water, while the partial nitrogen pressure is too low for metabolism of the same cyanobacteria.

These bioreactors, such as the one built by scientists from the German Institute, can allow cyanobacteria to grow and reproduce on Mars, where they can serve as the "base for biological life-support systems based on local materials", as researchers themselves report in the study's annotations, in the context of a possible long human mission to Mars.

During the experiment, researchers put the bacteria of Anabaena into a special bioreactor, gases that can be found in the atmosphere of Mars, and in the same environment within the bioreactor then kept the pressure below the Earth 10 times, and the cyanobacteria seemed to grow smoother and even better when scientists added an analogy of regolithics to a mixture of nitrogen and low-pressure carbon dioxide.


Cyanobacteria were then shredded, filtered and used as a substrate for the production of an intestinal stick, demonstrating that cyanobacteria colonies that eventually grew on Mars could be used as nutrients for other biological forms, in this case bacteria of another species, which are well known here on Earth in biotechnology.