Microbial growth in actual martian regolith in the form of Mars meteorite EETA79001OPEN ACCESS 

Neveda Naz, Bijan F. Harandi, Jacob Newmark & Samuel P. Kounaves

Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 4, Article number: 381


“Studies to understand the growth of organisms on Mars are hampered by the use of simulants to duplicate martian mineralogy and chemistry. Even though such materials are improving, no terrestrial simulant can replace a real martian sample. Here we report the use of actual martian regolith, in the form of Mars meteorite EETA79001 sawdust, to demonstrate its ability to support the growth of four microorganisms, E. coli. Eucapsis sp., Chr20-20201027-1, and P. halocryophilus, for up to 23 days under terrestrial conditions using regolith:water ratios from 4:1 to 1:10. If the EETA79001 sawdust is widely representative of regolith on the martian surface, our results imply that microbial life under appropriate conditions could have been present on Mars in the past and/or today in the subsurface, and that the regolith does not contain any bactericidal agents. The results of our study have implications not only for putative martian microbial life but also for building bio-sustainable human habitats on Mars.”