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(CNN.com) - New research has confirmed that the bacteria known as methanogens are capable of surviving in simulated Martian conditions. This bodes extremely well for terraforming, as these most basic of organisms get their name from producing methane, a greenhouse gas. The researchers noted that all Mars would need would be water and hydrogen, which other research suggests is present in low to high quantity on the surface and underground. While simple methanogens may not be the best route to terraforming, modified versions of these organisms are among the top contenders for the best method to terraform the red planet.
In addition, the new research increases the possibility that life may still be present on Mars from its theorized earlier, Earth-like days. After all, since evidence suggests that Mars may have been Earth-like in the past, and thus contained life, it seems reasonable that the organisms that filled the niches that methanogens on Earth fill today on Mars survived to the present. As always, further research will be required on all fronts.
- posted by Brian @ 15:43 EST