While some other material is needed, the findings represent a significant step towards cyanobacteria-based life support systems for human habitat when humans finally make it to the Red Planet.
“Here we show that cyanobacteria can use the gases available in the Martian atmosphere, at low total pressure, as a source of carbon and nitrogen,” said Cyprien Verseux, an astrobiologist from the University of Bremen in Germany. Science Alert, Wednesday (17/2/2021).
In these conditions, cyanobacteria retain their ability to grow in water containing only Mars-like dust and can still be used to feed other microbes.
These findings could help sustain long-term missions to Mars.
On Earth, cyanobacteria are not always the most compatible with other life.
These algae can be found in almost every habitat on Earth and sometimes produce powerful toxins that can kill other organisms.
However, humans might not be on Earth without it.
Scientists believe that the explosion of cyanobacteria 2.4 billion years ago, largely contributed to Earth’s current inhaled atmosphere.
When they explode, cyanobacteria pump up the atmosphere with oxygen and dramatically change the entire planet.