Desert moss found to survive on Mars

A desert moss that can withstand extreme drought and cold on Earth could help us make Mars a green and habitable planet, according to new research from China.

Although Matt Damon relied on potatoes grown in the crew’s biological waste to survive in The Martian, a simple desert moss could be the key to humanity’s ability to live on Mars. According to new research from China, a desert moss that can withstand extreme drought and cold could survive on Mars.

This moss could survive on Mars

Chinese scientists have found that the moss Syntrichia caninervis, found in regions such as Antarctica and the Mojave desert, can withstand Mars-like conditions such as drought, high radiation and extreme cold. The study discovered that the moss grows by entering a type of hibernation that can last for years in places like Antarctica.

According to the study, published in the peer-reviewed journal The Innovation, the moss can revive quickly when rewatered after losing almost all of its cellular water or after 5 years in a freezer at -80 degrees Celsius. When a small amount of water is added, the moss comes back to life within seconds, resuming photosynthesis and converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. It can also provide the carbohydrates necessary for humanity to survive on a planet. In addition, Syntrichia caninervis can survive in extreme conditions such as -196 degrees Celsius for up to 30 days, even after being exposed to gamma rays.

The team says their study is the first to examine the survival of whole plants in such an environment, while also focusing on the potential for growing plants on the planet’s surface instead of in greenhouses. In their study of Syntrichia caninervis, the team also created a setup that simulates the Martian environment. The moss was found to survive in this environment for a week.

Experts say it is too early to say anything definitive about terraforming Mars with this moss or other candidate pioneer plants until real field tests are conducted. However, there is a place for Syntrichia caninervis in greenhouse plant cultivation.

Ece Nagihan

Hi, I'm Ece. I am a writer for Expat Guide Turkey and I strive to create the best content for you. To contact me, you can send an e-mail to Happy reading!

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