astroengine writes "The only time we've ever directly looked for life on Mars was during the 1970's when NASA's Viking landers attempted to make direct measurements of Martian microbes metabolizing. Even today, the results of these groundbreaking experiments are hotly debated. Although the Viking experiments were often considered premature, a team of scientists hope to refine the next life-searching experiment to be sent to the Red Planet by building a Mars habitat on Earth. Imagine a Mars environment "goldfish bowl" complete with UV radiation, dust, chilly temperatures, and an extremely low atmospheric pressure. So what have they done with this micro-Mars environment? They've been torturing various terrestrial microbes to see how they enjoy stints on the Martian surface. Their results have shown that even Earth microorganisms have a trick or two up their sleeves to survive in this alien environment."
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