Slovak Astrobiologist Member of Simulated Mars Mission

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Michaela Musilova (Photo by TASR)

Trencin, April 21 (TASR) – Slovak astrobiologist Michaela Musilova, appearing at Trencin Robots Days on Thursday, says she wants to fertilise soil on the planet Mars through the use of organisms living in extreme conditions.She offered her project to a non-profit organisation called Mars Society – collaborating with NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) – and was chosen for a three-week simulated mission to Mars in a Utah desert recently.

“In a remote part of the desert, they built a cylinder-shaped station with a diameter of about eight meters where six people had to co-exist. Moreover, there was a robot and a cameraman who monitored our stay. We had a limited amount of water, electricity, food, and we had to live totally isolated from the world,” said Musilova during her lecture at Robots Days (April 20-21) at Trencin Expo Center.

She added that conditions were close to those on Mars – the desert had similar red sand and the mission took place in winter in low temperatures.

Musilova was an officer of a six-member simulated expedition and her task was to grow plants for the crew in specific conditions and experiment with microorganisms capable of fertilising soil. “In my experiment I was mixing Martian soil with extreme organisms and I found out that under specific conditions, as well as Martian conditions, these microbes can fertilise soil. Thus, theoretically, it could be used for soil fertilising on the Red Planet,” added Musilova.

Michaela Musilova studied Planetary Science and Astrobiology in England and later in the United States, where she received a scholarship and worked for NASA.