Compared to Earth, the moon is a desolate place. The moon is a desolate place, devoid of water flowing, wispy cloud, or signs of life. NASA scientists think there is more to the Moon than what meets the eye.
Prabal Saxena, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center, said microbial life could exist in harsh environments like those on the moon.
“There may be potentially habitable niches for such life in relatively protected areas on some airless bodies,” said Prabal Saxena, Space.com reported.
These moon microbes – if they do exist – likely came from Earth on a Lunar Lander.
Saxena studies where alien life might exist outside our solar system but, recently, he’s been working with a team that has its sights closer to home — the lunar south pole.
The lunar south pole has craters of ice and possible microbial life
Some regions of the craters are permanently dark, always in shadow. As a result, the sun’s harmful radiation never reaches these lunar pockets, and it could be a safe haven for extreme microbes.
“Importantly, recent research on the survivability of microbes exposed to conditions like those on parts of the lunar surface indicate surprising resilience of numerous microorganisms to such conditions,” Saxena stated in recent work, according to Leonard David for Inside Outer Space.
For example, researchers found that a bacterium called Deinococcus radiodurans survived on the outside of the International Space Station for a year. Tardigrades have also survived outside the ISS, exposed to the extreme conditions in space.
“We’re currently working on understanding which specific organisms may be most suited for surviving in such regions,” Saxena told Space.com.
Even though microbes may not exist at the moment on the surface of our moon, it is almost certain that they will once humans begin to walk on it. And if Saxena and his team are right, those microbes could not only survive, but potentially grow and thrive, in these permanently-shrouded craters, per Space.com.
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