There has been a recent study that shows methanogen lifeforms can survive under conditions that are similar to that of the planet Mars, the discovery not only represents a small boost for the chances of life on Mars but also demonstrates that if the red planet turns out to be sterile it would be relatively easy for us to terraform it. In the quest for life on Mars it is often assumed that if simple forms of life were to evolve on Mars they would just need water and salts to survive. However Rebecca Mickol, a PhD student, pointed out that the low surface pressure of Mars is one condition that any extant life that is on the surface would have to endure. The pressure on Mars is an issue, we know how much of an issue this is because there is places on Earth like Mount Everest that have too much pressure and no life form is able to get used to living under the conditions.
Even though Mickol knew this she still wanted to see whether the pressure would be a problem for a single celled organism to adapt to. Rebecca chose four organisms that turn hydrogen and carbon dioxide into methane, they are collectively known as methanogens, and she tested their ability to survive under water pressures as low as 6 mbar. All four species survived the ordeal, demonstrating that low pressures are not an inherent obstacle to life, or is it? In my opinion this does not prove things clearly as it is only evidence for single celled organisms and not for complex organisms such as humans! The downside to this discovery is that the organisms that sneak on board robotic missions to Mars may actually flourish there, whether it is intended or not, which emphasises the need to thoroughly sterilize whatever is sent to Mars, this may not seem like a big issue but if these organisms where to flourish on Mars they would affect the data about life forms found on Mars. As long as everything is sterilised that is sent to Mars and they ensure there is no organisms on board then there should be no issues that could alter the data that is being collected on Mars.