|Tardigrade or Water Bear|
The Russian mission, called Phobus-Grunt (the Russian word for soil is grunt), will take 10 months to reach Mars and will then spend several more months in orbit round the planet before landing on Phobos. It will collect a sample of its soil and blast back to Earth, along with the Life capsule. These few scoops of material will become the first sample of extraterrestrial soil to be brought to Earth since the lunar missions of the 1970s...The Phobos-Grunt mission will last for 34 months and will carry its samples of Earth's humbler life forms in a three-inch-diameter titanium case. These will include the bacterium deinococcus radiodurans, whose ability to survive intense radiation has earned it the scientific nickname Conan the Bacterium.
Other life forms will include thale cress; tiny water creature tardigrade - or water bear - which can also survive extraordinary extremes of temperature and pressure; samples of brewer's yeast, one of the most widely studied organisms on Earth; and some grains of permafrost from the Siberian Arctic. This last sample contains many different microbes and will be used to determine if a living colony of interdependent organisms are hardier and more resistant to radiation than a single microbial species.
|Conan the Bacterium|