Extremophiles and Their Future in Space

Codi Sandefur


Missions to Mars is soon set to increase, followed by manned-missions to Mars. In preparation for determining if life-existed or can exist on Mars, experiments are being conducted using microorganisms of Earth to test their persistence in simulated space conditions here on Earth. One experiment in particular, “Extremophiles Survival to Simulated Space Conditions: An Astrobiology Model Study,” exposed extremophilic microorganisms of both Archaea and Bacteria to the extreme conditions space and Mars has to offer (Mastascusa et al. 2014). The extremophiles picked for the study were used to determine their potential for future astrobiology experiments. Since the publication of this study, further research using other microorganisms have been conducted in hopes of identifying life on Mars. The major problem the astrobiology field faces is experimenting in outer space. Most experiments are either simulated or conducted on the International Space Station.

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