Meteorites Could Actually Be Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner For Space Microbes

Meteorites Could Actually Be Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner For Space Microbes

The very word meteorites may sound destructive and nonbeneficial, but these could be food for a few strange microbes. The creature’s rare eating habits could help solve mysteries concerning early life forms survival in harsh conditions on Earth. The researchers have found the highly resilient microbe Metallosphaera sedula that can withstand the temperature changes and acidic environment to survive on space rocks. The new study focuses on the organisms’ survival tactics on planets as it could help unravel certain facts about early life on Earth. The life forms on Earth may have survived by making use of the nutrients offered by the deep space. The M. sedula species have a taste for minerals and metals.

According to the University of Vienna scientists, the organisms’ dependency on the space rock for its feast could be investigated through the 120-kilogram iron-rich meteorite that was found in 2000 in Africa. The meteorite known as NWA 1172 was applied with the microbes and the researchers are studying the metal ions released while feeding on the space rocks. Space rock-fed microbes showed excellent growth compared to the terrestrial mineral-fed ones. The researchers also found M. sedula to have the ability to survive on Mars-like soil.

In a similar context, a study showed the International Space Station (ISS) to have a robust population of bacteria and fungi just like that on the Earth. The bacterial population mostly comprised of Staphylococcus, Bacillus, and Pantoea. The activities of these bacteria are being tested whether they will be active when in space just like that on the Earth. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is studying the specific group of microbes as the immunity of the space crew is altered and they also do not have access to any medical interventions while in space. The types of microbes in the closed space system like the ISS and their impact on health & survival are being scrutinized.

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