Researchers have discovered a moss that can grow on Mars

Her name is Syntrichia caninervis and it could well colonize Martian soil.While in the movie The Martian Matt Damon owed his survival to potatoes grown in biowaste, remember The Guardian, Researchers say that (this) humble moss could be a pioneer in establishing life on Mars.”

Syntrichia caninervis
Syntrichia caninervis Wikimedia commons

According to research conducted by a Chinese team and published in the journal The Innovationit is also to date the only plant capable of surviving the extreme conditions of the red planet. To prove it, the researchers installed it in a simulator with conditions “of pressures, temperatures, gas composition and radiation comparable to those of Mars,” indicates the British daily. It has withstood freezing temperatures (-80 °C for five years then -196 °C for a month) as well as suffocating heat, infernal pressures and harmful doses of gamma radiation (500 Gy). It must be said that it had not been chosen at random: it was already known that it was one of the few to survive in the most extreme places on the globe, such as the Mojave Desert or Antarctica.

Asked by The GuardianStuart McDaniel, a moss specialist at the University of Florida, points out that “Growing plants will be an important part of long-term space missions because they convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and carbohydrates – basically the food and air that humans need.”

The only thing left is the foam Syntrichia caninervis is not edible. However, it could “help enrich and transform the rocky soil of the Martian surface into soil where other plants could grow“, precise The Guardian.

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