Researchers are going to test if bacteria can survive a trip on spacecraft:
Some studies indicate bacteria living on Earth can survive a trip on a spacecraft into orbit, and scientists plan to test what impact space has on the bacteria over varying lengths of time.
It's already known that some bacteria can make the trip into space, but researchers are shifting their focus more towards what kind of changes take place in the cellular structure of the microorganism. It has been discovered some bacterial spores were able to survive on satellites even though they were in orbit more than six years.
"We are interested in understanding what types of damage are induced in cells and their DNA by exposure to space, what types of mutations may be induced, and how these mutations might drive evolutionary adaptation to the extreme selective environment on Mars," said Wayne Nicholson, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences astrobiologist.