​400-Year-Old Plants To Help Human Life On Mars​​

By:
June 3, 2021

Some 400-year-old moss from plants could help humans survive and colonize on Mars, according to University of Alberta biologist Catherine La Farge.

400-Year-Old Plants

Proceedings of the plants were presented at the National Academy of Science research that she and her team found moss that was embedded in the ice of the Teardrop glacier in northern Canada’s Ellesmere Island after it melted away.

In an experiment, La Farge found that the moss was able to revive itself even though it had been frozen since the Little Ice Age (1550-1850). It started with a small observation she made when she brought the original sample back to the lab in 2009. La Farge noticed a part of the moss still had a tiny green stem.
 
After putting the plant in petri dishes, La Farge found that it started to grow after about four or six weeks.

“Either it kept its color under the glacier or it grew after the moss emerged 400 years later,” she told the Edmonton Journal.

“Now we have to think there may be populations of land plants that survived that freezing,” she said. “It makes you wonder what’s under the big ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctic and alpine glaciers. And we have a 400-year-old lineage of genetic material.”

They benefits for colonization is amazing.

“The finding amplifies the critical role of bryophytes (little cells in plants) in polar environments and has implications for all permafrost regions of the globe,” La Farge said. She added that bryophytes “play a vital role in the establishment, colonization and maintenance of polar ecostyems.
That’s not all though.

The 400-year-old discovery can even be used in space travel before sending colonies of humans to Mars to see if the plants survive the cold dry climate there.