UK Centre for Astrobiology


Mars Analogues for Space Exploration

MASE was a collaborative, four-year research project supported by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). and run by the UKCA. The project started in January 2014 and its main objectives were to perform experimental studies to investigate how selected anaerobic microorganisms collected from Mars analogue sites on Earth respond to stress and fossilization. We analyzed Mars analogue biotopes, which are studied with respect to their chemical, physical characteristics and their indigenous microbial life, resemble either Early or Present Mars conditions, and exhibit usually a number of typical parameters, such as:

  • low water activity,
  • low temperature,
  • restricted availability of (complex, organic) nutrients,
  • oxygen limitation and
  • other stressors for microbial survival (i.e. high salinity, high acidity, radiation) from various, nutrient-poor, anoxic Early and Present Mars.

You can read the papers that resulted from this project in our Publications section.