Discovery of chemicals deals life on Mars blow

Spill Response Expo blog post 1

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have claimed that chemicals discovered on Mars’ surface could make the prospect of humans one day inhabiting the Red Planet an impossibility.

The behaviour of the dangerous Mars-based chemical compounds, known as perchlorates, has been analysed by the scientists; who have revealed that the perchlorates can quickly kill off Bacillus subtilis bacteria from Earth - a basic life form that is often present in both soil and rocks.

The study suggests that the combination of oxidants, iron oxides, perchlorates and UV energy found on the Martian surface and in the environment would be seriously damaging to living cells.

Lead author of the research paper, Jennifer Wadsworth, said that the findings need to be considered when future missions to Mars are designed.

She also stated that while perchlorates are usually in a stable state at room temperature - only becoming active at high heat - the new study found that the chemical compound is also activated by the presence of UV light, without heat, in conditions matching those on the surface of Mars.