View Full Version : Lichen survive in space. Perhaps also on Mars?

2005-Dec-08, 10:08 AM
Lichen Survives In Space.
"Leopoldo Sancho from the Complutense University of Madrid, indicate
that lichens have the capacity to resist full exposure to the harsh
space conditions, especially high levels of UV radiation. Analysis post
flight showed a full rate of survival and an unchanged ability for
photosynthesis. "

The algae in lichen rely on photosynthesis as plants do, therefore
metabolize CO2. Therefore they might be able to survive as well on
Mars. However, some photosynthetic organisms require oxygen as well.
It's unclear if the species tested could survive in a largely CO2
atmosphere, though Mars does contain small amounts of oxygen in its

Gil Levin argued that some patches on rocks at the Viking landing sites
gave the appearance of lichen:

Color and Feature Changes at
Mars Viking Lander Site.
J. Theor. Biol. (1978) 75, 381-390

Bob Clark