Research By U Of A Grad Student Published In Key Journal

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- For University of Arkansas graduate student, Rebecca Mickol, describing her work is pretty simple.

"Part of my research is testing methanogens, which are very small micro-organisms that produce methane, and seeing if they can live under Martian conditions," Mickol said.

Past research has already found that methane is present in the atmosphere on Mars.

Mickol's work found that methanogens, which are present on Earth, survive the extremely low atmospheric pressure of Mars.

"Methanogens can survive the low pressure," Mickol said. "It doesn't seem to be a factor that affects their survivability, and low pressure is known to cause water evaporation, which is one of the issues that we face."

Most methane on Earth is produced by organisms. Mickol said the same could be true for Mars, but it's still unclear, and controversial, according to her article.

As for what Mickol will be researching next, "Methanogens that can survive at much colder temperatures and see if they can survive and actually grow and produce methane under Martian conditions," she said.

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