A team of undergraduates from Stanford and Brown Universities are busy applying synthetic biology to space exploration, outfitting microbes to survive extreme Martian conditions and produce resources needed to sustain a human colony.
Though Mars is potentially a place where life may have survived at some point, it is not an especially friendly environment, and thriving there will not be easy — for humans or microbes. The average surface temperature of Mars is minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the almost-nonexistent atmosphere is 95 percent carbon dioxide. Although water exists in Mars’ ice caps and there’s some evidence that giant oceans once covered the planet, today it’s essentially a deep-frozen desert. Colonising Mars would be challenging and pricey.