Scott Milroy, a University of Southern Mississippi assistant professor, is embarking on a year long project to grow a form of blue-green algae in incubation chambers at the Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. Milroy hopes to mimic conditions that exist on the surface of Mars. NASA has provided funding for the research.
Milroy says the algae – known as cyanobacteria – is thought to be the first organism to have evolved the ability to photosynthesize and there are species which are capable of growing in the low light and frigid conditions in Antarctica.
Milroy says his research seeks to show that life “can exist on Mars” not that it does or ever did.