Plant Found Capable of Surviving on Mars

Scientists from China have discovered that the moss Syntrichia caninervis, which thrives in Antarctica and the Mojave Desert, potentially has the ability to withstand the harsh conditions on Mars. If biologists’ calculations are correct, this plant could be planted and grown directly on the surface of the Red Planet.

The atmosphere on Mars is 100 times less dense than that on Earth, composed of 95% carbon dioxide and less than 1% oxygen. Therefore, the most resilient plant species will be required to green the Martian surface, and Syntrichia caninervis appears to meet these criteria.

The moss can regenerate and survive for up to five years at temperatures down to -80°C. If the thermometer drops to -196°C, the plant can endure for about a month. Additionally, the moss can withstand gamma radiation doses of around 500 Gy.

To test their theory, the experiment’s authors simulated extreme conditions resembling the Martian environment. The desert moss survived five years at -44°C and even recovered after nearly complete dehydration. This discovery holds promise for future astronauts to make the Martian surface more habitable.

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