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This Moss Can Tolerate Harsh Environments, And Could Be Grow On Mars As A Crop One Day

luchschenF - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only

Thanks to its ability to tolerate harsh environments, a desert moss could be grown as a crop on Mars one day.

Botanists and ecologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences tested the plant’s durability by exposing it to extreme conditions.

The desert moss, Syntrichia caninervis, can survive in habitats where most other life forms would struggle to remain alive.

It is known to be capable of withstanding drought, but a team of scientists wanted to push its limits even further to see just how much the moss can endure.

In a new study, the researchers simulated three conditions: freezing temperatures, lethal levels of gamma radiation, and the severe climate of Mars.

“Our study shows that the environmental resilience of S. caninervis is superior to that of some highly stress-tolerant microorganisms and tardigrades,” wrote the researchers in their paper.

S. caninervis is a promising candidate pioneer plant for colonizing extraterrestrial environments, laying the foundation for building biologically sustainable human habitats beyond Earth.”

The moss species is common in the desert environments of Tibet and Antarctica, as well as arid lands in the circumpolar regions. Its stem is covered with small, sharp leaves that aid in collecting and transferring water to its base.

Previously, studies have been conducted on algae, lichen, microorganisms, and plant spores to assess their ability to thrive in outer space or Mars, but whole plants have not been tested until now.

luchschenF – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

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