When one imagines the first organic visitors from Earth to Mars (or any other planets for that matter, rarely does mold comes to mind.
An experiment conducted in 2009 on the International Space Station found that certain type of lichens and fungi are capable of surviving in even the harshest of environments. The experiment, done on the EXPOSE-E external platform facility of the ISS, have shown that certain
fungi and lichens that have acclimated to high altitudes and low temperatures have a sixty percent chance of surviving and multiplying in space conditions (i.e. no atmosphere, high doses of radiation, and rapid, extreme changes in temperatures). A 2014 follow-up to this experiment, the BIOMEX Program, will be completed in July of this year, and will give us more insight into the resiliency of microbes.
While the hardiness of micro-organic life is a great news for science, since it opens up the possibility of life forms on planetary bodies whose conditions were once thought to be lethal, for the average Earthling households and businesses molds that are hard to get rid off are not necessarily a good thing. Molds can cause skin irritation, infections, toxic reactions, and flu-like symptoms. While often found on spoiled produce and wet surfaces, one of the most invasive and widespread way for mold to spread throughout a home, office, restaurants, or other structures is through the air conditioning system. Unclean systems can release harmful airborne spores, causing health hazard and ruining the looks of a room. Fortunately, there are ways to fix these problems and minimize the risk of re-occurrence.
To read more on organic experiments, space flights, and other science topics, visit Discovery News website: news.discovery.com
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