NASA's Artemis Astronauts Expect To Find Proof Of Life Hiding On The Moon

hero nasa artemis astronauts
NASA believes there is a very good chance of finding signs of life once it lands back on the Moon, beginning with its Artemis III mission. Current research by the space agency suggests that the most likely candidate for the existence of microbes on the moon to be from humans.

As NASA prepares for its upcoming return to the lunar surface, it is searching for the lunar South Pole for the best candidates for a landing. The team is currently considering 13 possible landing sites due to their proximity to the lunar South Pole because it is an area that contains permanently shadowed regions that are thought to be rich in resources and in areas yet to be explored by humans. Among the possible findings astronauts hope to identify are signs of life.

In an interview with, Prabal Saxena, a planetary researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, remarked, "One of the most striking things our team has found is that, given recent research on the ranges in which certain microbial life can survive, there may be potentially habitable niches for such life in relatively protected areas on some airless bodies."

Saxena added that the team is working on identifying which organisms could be suitable for surviving in areas such as lunar polar regions and areas that may be the best candidates for supporting life.

When it comes to where those microbes originated, Heather Graham, a geochemist at NASA Goddard and member of the study team, doesn't believe things like Earth meteorites are the most likely candidate. She explains, "While extraterrestrial transfer of organic molecules from meteoric sources is very likely, and indeed observed in our own terrestrial meteorite analysis, the transfer of microbes from similar sources does not have the same weight of evidence." She added, "It may be an interesting idea, but without viable data this route cannot be included in this study."

Graham instead points to the fact NASA and other space agencies are approaching 50 years of history of placing humans and spacecraft on the lunar surface without any "stringent requirements regarding forward contamination." She went on to say, "We view humans as the most likely vector given the extensive data that we have about our history of exploration and the impact record as a second, albeit less influential, early terrestrial source."

The team believes that the measures being taken now to ensure the best landing spot for the upcoming Artemis III mission and possibly finding signs of life on the moon should also be taken into account in future site assessments. Saxena concluded that this is also pertinent to future missions beyond the moon as well, remarking, "These means of planning and corresponding strategy, techniques and instrumentation that may be involved might be valuable for exploration of Mars as well."