To breathe on Mars will help us cyanobacteria

Forget about all the cool options of the Martian dwellings, growing food and digging tunnels, which will allow us to protect ourselves from the dangerous levels of radiation. If we can’t find a way that will allow us to breathe on Mars, then what’s the point of all these plans for colonization? However, scientists believe that the hope of obtaining access to a source of fresh oxygen on the red planet we still are. And this hope that they place on a newly discovered cyanobacteria.

Feature of cyanobacteria is that they eat carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, while living in such harsh conditions on Earth that in complexity they can be compared with the Martian.

Last week, an international team of researchers published in the journal Science an article which makes the link between tiny organisms and the possibility of human life on Mars.

Remember photosynthesis? This is the process by which plants and other organisms convert sunlight into energy. Cyanobacteria also use photosynthesis as a source of energy, but at the same time able to support this process with the participation of a much smaller amount of sunlight is required for growing your tomatoes in the country. Scientists have discovered several species of cyanobacteria that live in the deepest ocean trenches.

Key role in photosynthesis is played by the chlorophyll, a special pigment, needed for energy production. Most of the plants and other organisms to convert visible light into energy using the chlorophyll-a. An international group of researchers in turn discovered that they found cyanobacteria uses a special type of chlorophyll – chlorophyll f — conversion of far-red/near infrared light into energy. And because of that these bacteria can survive in very dimly lit environments.

“This study allows you to override the minimum required level of energy in the form of light to support photosynthesis. This type of photosynthesis is quite possibly happening right now in your garden, under a stone, in the shade,” says co-author Jennifer Morton.

Scientists have found living bacteria in some of the driest and some of the coldest places on our planet, for example, in the Mojave desert, in Antarctica and even on the outside of the International space station. Thus, the researchers say, we could send cyanobacteria to Mars, where they will produce oxygen for the colonists.

“It may sound like science fiction, but space agencies and private companies around the world already interested in this opportunity and want to experience all the practice in the near future,” said another study co-author Elmars Krausz.

“Theoretically, the photosynthesis to produce oxygen on Mars, you can really start using this type of organisms”.

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