November 02, 2022
That's when the bacteria dry out and freeze, as they most likely will be under the surface of Mars.
So they can survive the intense radiation hitting the Red Planet for millions of years.
Microorganisms may be able to survive beneath the surface of Mars for much longer than researchers thought.
In a new set of experiments, researchers found that dried bacteria can survive in Mars-like conditions for up to 280 million years.
Most previous experiments have used hydrated bacteria at room temperature to test whether microorganisms can survive intense radiation on Mars.
Brian Hoffman and his colleagues at Northwestern University in Illinois took a different approach, destroying different types of bacteria and yeast.
There's this phenomenal multiplication of resistance when you get rid of the water and you cool everything down," Hoffman says.
The researchers' samples were so little damaged by radiation that they estimated the bacteria could live for about 280 million years.
If freeze-dried bacteria are heated and exposed to water during that time, they come out of their dormant state.
It opens up the possibility that if the meteor comes down with some water and splashes onto the surface, it could regenerate," Hoffman says.