On the surface of Mars life is impossible due to toxic substances perchlorates and ultraviolet light. They reinforce each other’s action, killing germs in just one minute.
According to Jennifer Wadsworth and Charles Cokell from the Scottish University of Edinburgh, after opening on the surface of the red planet perchlorate, scientists wondered how much they can influence the likely habitability of the planet. Under their irradiation with UV light starts the process of interaction with iron oxides which are in the soil, and cell death, compared to conventional ultraviolet radiation, is accelerated in tens times. Thus, the surface of the red planet is even less habitable than it was considered previously.
Head of the scientific group of the Rover Curiosity John grottsinger in November 2012, stated that Mars had made an epochal discovery, which should get to the pages of textbooks. A few weeks later when the message has grown the most incredible fantasies, planetary scientists from NASA spoke about the discovery in the soil of Mars primitive organic molecules of perchlorate.
It killed all hopes for the opening of the first traces of alien life. Molecules of this kind can be formed in the soil as a result of the interaction of other types of organic matter with ultraviolet light and cosmic rays, and «non-living» chemical reactions.
In addition, the perchlorates are very aggressive oxidizing agents. For this reason, many scientists began to doubt the possibility of detecting any traces of life, if they existed on the red planet, in the upper layers of the soil. Many planetary scientists actually doubted the suitability of Mars for life, as getting into ground water large quantities of perchlorate makes it toxic to almost all microbes.
Cockell, and Wadsworth decided to check it out, and spent the first experiment on the cultivation of normal microbes in the soil that completely mimics the Martian soil by exposure to ultraviolet light and chemical composition.
In the course of the study has found some unexpected things. Thus, in particular, in the absence of ultraviolet microbes can adapt to the level of perchlorates on Mars and live a long time, but with the appearance of ultraviolet microbes die almost instantly – the average life-expectancy in such conditions is less than 60 seconds.
After analysis of microbes scientists have found that the cause of their death is an unusual reaction between perchlorates, ultraviolet light, and contained in the soil of Mars and iron oxides. Their interaction provoked the saturation of the nutrient medium «bleach», the molecules of chlorine dioxide and chlorine is an extremely corrosive chemical compounds that kill microorganisms even in very small concentrations.
All this may indicate that the surface of the red planet, in principle, not capable of supporting life, because even small concentrations of perchlorate not exceeding 0.6 percent, enough to kill all microbes. This discovery indicates that traces of life can not meet at a great depth, which does not penetrate ultraviolet light. But on the surface, these traces look just not worth it.
The only positive thing about this discovery is that researchers now can not be afraid to contaminate the Martian surface with terrestrial microorganisms that can get there with the protective screens of the probes or Rovers. Even if the microbes managed to survive on the way to Mars, perchlorates and ultraviolet light will destroy them as soon as they are on the planet’s surface.