Lot of articles, news showing that life on mars is not possible based on a research done by Jennifer Wadsworth and Charles Cockell, both astrobiologists at the University of Edinburgh. As per the study found that perchlorate can also be activated by ultraviolet (UV) light, without heat. Those conditions reflect the Martian surface. And bacteria exposed to UV-activated perchlorate were killed within minutes.
This doesn’t mean no life on Mars for two reasons,
– Just like Earth Mars might have diversified landscape. Which means there would be lot of area without perchlorate we should be able to use to grow plants. Other approach can be processing the soil to remove perchlorate content then use that to grow plants. While Perchlorate is required to keep water in liquid form and even for oxygen but it is not required to grow the plants itself.
– As per study UV lights can activate perchlorate killing bacteria within minutes. As we know while UV-A can be helpful for us, UV-B are not good and nature protects us from such rays though ozone layer. When human is on Mars he/she must protect them self from such harmful rays. Similarly, the plants we would grow on Mars must be protected from such harmful rays. If we grow plants on soil with perchlorate content but don’t expose it to UV rays, then no harm done.
No need to lose hope yet on Mars assuming its too toxic for microbial life yet. Actual study needs to be done on Mars to substantiate that.