In the journal FEMS Microbiology Ecology, the paper published last month argues that the “primary colonists” of the Red Planet must be “microorganisms” the microorganism, viruses, and fungi that support a lot of life’s processes here on Earth.
Jose Lopez proposes an approach to planetary colonization that begins with a plan on studying microbes that could support life in extraterrestrial environments.
The concept presented within the paper jettisons the strict no-contamination guidelines that NASA and all space programs have carefully adhered to for many years’ policies that exist for a good reason.
Relating to the equipment being sent to space, usually, everything is carefully sterilized and protected against germs and contaminants, similar to a hospital prepping its scalpels for surgery, as a result of we will not afford to corrupt the untouched environments we’re trying to learn more from there.
However, Lopez and colleagues argue that introducing helpful microbes might kick-start the method of terraforming Mars and sustaining life on the harsh environment of Red Planet.
Microorganisms are critical on the Earth to many of the processes that sustain life, similar to decomposition and digestion and Earth’s climate. The paper discusses that the best microbes for the job could be extremophiles organisms which might be hyper tolerant of probably the extreme environments, also even thrive in them, like tardigrades.
Planet Mars enthusiasts ready to pack their bags and move to “Planet B” should not hold their breath, although.
There’s still a lot of studies to be carried out before we start lobbing germs on the Red Planet. Biology might go haywire on Mars, where organisms can be exposed to excessive radiation, and human colonists would probably evolve at alarming rates to deal with the harsh environment of the planet.
Much of the paper is discussed for a change in attitude towards microbes in space, viewing them as helpful versus dangerous. However, researchers still do not know which bacteria would assist rather than hurt efforts to terraform Mars.
The decision whether or not to even expose microbes in the first place depends upon our end objective: if our mission is to colonize and terraform Mars that is Elon Musk’s plan, if you’re keeping score then Lopez says we should not be scared to introduce useful microorganisms that may assist in starting forming the foundation of biological life.