Researchers: Soil of Mars may be Toxic to Alien Life
According to the research carried out by Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, surface of Mars has chemical compounds called perchlorates that can wipe out living organisms.
The researchers have found that the chemical compounds found on the surface of Mars when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light can kill the bacteria which are commonly carried by spacecraft. This finding has given a blow to the hopes of finding alien life on the surface of the Mars.
The research has also suggested that the effect of perchlorates gets compounded by two other type of chemicals found on the Mars such as iron oxides and hydrogen peroxide. With the presence of all three chemicals, the scientists saw a more than 10-fold increase in death of bacteria cells when compared to those caused by the perchlorates alone.
Scientists carried out an investigation to study the potential reactivity of perchlorates and their effect on Bacillus subtilis, a bacterium which is commonly found on spacecraft and also on the soils and rocks. It was found out that when magnesium perchlorate was exposed to UV radiation as on Mars then it becomes capable of killing bacteria more effectively than UV light alone. In the presence of concentrations of perchlorate similar to those found on Mars, cells of B subtilis will quickly die.
The above study has concluded that the Martian surface may be highly damaging to living cells owing to a toxic mix of oxidants, iron oxides, perchlorates and UV energy.