The instinct for survival, that invisible feeling that let us remain hung up to the life with nails and teeth, isn’t not own only by the big living being, but even of the smaller ones. That conviction that nothing can survive to the inhospitable conditions of the deep space, especially nothing terrestrial, used to live on a lush planet, is surely wrong. An experiment made just outside the ISS‘ door, infact, demonstrated how amazing the life is and how much it can flourish even in the most extreme conditions. We are talking about the BIOMEX, BIOlogy and Mars EXperiment, the experiment that demonstrated that terrestrial organisms can survive on Mars, but even in the space.
The experiment was 513 days long, since the 2014 to the 2016, and it saw interested bacterias, algae, lichen, mushrooms and terrestrial organic substances. The organisms, placed in a specific habitat, were hocked outside the International Space Station. Anyway the experiment didn’t ask a direct monitoring, so no space walks to go seeing how they were going.
The Biomex was composed by a total of twelve rooms which contained the organisms. Some of them were put into a simulated martian soil. Others were left to deal with the vacuum of the space by themselves without even a little piece of Earth where being save. In the others were even been inserted a simulated martian atmosphere. The direct exposition to the space without the terrestrial atmosphere to protect them, therefore, is to add to all of it.
During the two years spent outside the station the organisms were able to experience the adverse conditions of the space: incredible temperature’s variations, which pass from the direct exposure to the sun to the crazy cold of the station shade, cosmic radations, solar wind, etc.
Back to Earth
The organisms, then, were brught back to the Earth and since there is ongoing a monitoring phase. A ten-year phase that checks the organisms every day, generation after generation, but that already brought to the publishing of 42 scientific articles about the experiment.
The planetary scientist Jean Pierre Paul De Vera, even though the studies will go on for years, already doesn’t have any doubt about the experiment’s results. “Some organisms and some molecules demonstrated to be able to survive really well in the space. At the moment we are focusing our attention on some classes of archaea, which are on the Earth since the dawn of life, and that as we can see could well survive to the current conditions on Mars”.
The will to survive demonstrated by those organisms in the experiment gives as the answer that we were looking for about a possible terraforming of Mars. It makes possible even the fact that the red planet might be currently populated by organisms or micro organisms. Furthermore, it’s a point even for the theory according to which the life as we know it on the planet Earth was brougth by an asteroid. Theory that until now could be disproved by the belief that no living beings could survive to a trip in the vacuum of space. Today, thanks to Biomex, we know that it’s wrong.
The future of the martial exploration
Now we know that looking for life on Mars isn’t madness and that before to think to colonize it we should be sure that it’s really uninhabited. If we will decide to share the planet with other organisms, we might know at least about which organisms we are talking about.
For this reason the next martian rover, which will land on our closest neighbour thanks to the mission ExoMars 2020, with the purpose of a future colonisation, will be equipped with advanced instruments for the searching of life.
It is a sensor that uses the Raman spectroscopy, that allows to analyse samples taken on the soil without destroy them, by recognising the presence of metabolic processes of the life inside them.
Biomex brings us to the conclusion of how much crazy is the assumption to be alone in the universe. The life will never stop to surprise us.
This post is also available in: Italiano