New research done on the International Space Station has found it might be possible to have bacteria from Earth colonize on Mars.
The International Business Times reports three separate studies examined what happened when different types of micro-organisms were sent into space.
According to The Space Reporter, any spacecraft headed toward Mars can't have more than a certain amount of micro-organisms on board — in order to prevent them from spreading elsewhere.
Many of the different micro-organisms, including bacteria, ended up faring well in the considerably harsh conditions. Techsonia notes some bacteria were able to survive 18 months in a spacecraft — showing resistance to the outer space environment.
These new findings have some scientists intrigued, but also worried about how easily some micro-organisms can survive in space and the potential problems they could cause. So, what's being done to make sure unwanted bacteria doesn't spread to other planets?
A researcher with NASA said in a statement, "If you are able to reduce the numbers to acceptable levels [of micro-organisms], a proxy for cleanliness, the assumption is that the life forms will not survive under harsh space conditions."
According to Tech Times, this new information could help cut down the chance of spreading the micro-organisms elsewhere: "By better understanding what organisms can survive in space or on the surfaces of other worlds, mission planners can learn which forms of microscopic life to concentrate on during the sanitation process."
Not only that. The research also found there's the possibility that even rocks in outer space could potentially help micro-organisms colonize on other planets like Mars.