Bacterial endospores in the genus Bacillus are considered good models for studying interplanetary transfer of microbes by natural or human processes. Although spore survival during transfer itself has been the subject of considerable study, the fate of spores in extraterrestrial environments has received less attention. In this report we subjected spores of a strain of Bacillus subtilis, containing luciferase resulting from expression of an sspB-luxAB gene fusion, to simulated martian atmospheric pressure (7-18 mbar) and composition (100% CO(2)) for up to 19 days in a Mars simulation chamber. We report here that survival was similar between spores exposed to Earth conditions and spores exposed up to 19 days to simulated martian conditions. However, germination-induced bioluminescence was lower in spores exposed to simulated martian atmosphere, which suggests sublethal impairment of some endogenous spore germination processes.