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Survival of lichens on the ISS-II: ultrastructural and morphological changes of Circinaria gyrosa after space and Mars-like conditions

de la Torre Noetzel, R. and Miller, B. and Cubero, A.Z. and Sancho, L. G. and Jordão, L. and Rabbow, Elke and Meessen, J. and de Vera, J. P. (2017) Survival of lichens on the ISS-II: ultrastructural and morphological changes of Circinaria gyrosa after space and Mars-like conditions. EANA 2017, 14.-17. August, 2017, Aarhus, Denmark.

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Lichens are extremophile organisms, they live in the most extreme conditions, colonizing areas with extreme temperatures, high aridity condition and high UV-radiation. Therefore they have been by far the most successful settlers of the Antarctic continent. Also in the laboratory they survive temperatures near the absolute cero and absolute dryness without difficulty. Lichen species have distinct likes and dislikes when it come to the physico-chemical properties of the substrate while the group of lichens as a whole is pretty adaptable to vari- ous substrata (from rocks to glass). The main feature/aspect of their evolutionary/ecological success of this capacity is the close symbiotic relation between two organisms, a fungi and a cyanobacteria or an algae [1], allowing them to survive at real space [2] and at Mars con- ditions [3, 4, 5], such as that on the ISS. At the exposure platform EXPOSE-R2 on ISS (2014-2016), samples of the lichen species Circinaria gyrosa belonging to the BIOMEX ex- periment (Biology and Mars Experiment, ESA) [5], were exposed during 18 months to real space and to a Mars simulated environment to study Mars habitability and resistance to real space conditions. Also the identification of biomarkers was done to include them as reference for future space missions to Mars (Exo Mars). After the return of the mission at June 2016, the first preliminary analysis were performed, showing the metabolic activity a quick and complete recovery of the dark space control samples exposed to space vacuum and Mars-like atmosphere. In contrast, the samples directly exposed to space radiation showed slow recovery in reference to their observed original activity. Electron and fluores- cence microscopy techniques also revealed that the viability of C. gyrosa exposed to space conditions decreased in comparison to those exposed to Mars-like environment. Moreover, differences were observed between samples positioned at level 1 and level 2. In general, TEM and FESEM observations showed that samples at level 2 (basal samples) were slightly affected in their morphology/ultrastructure by the exposure conditions. In contrast, cellular ultrastructure alterations were clearly evident for samples exposed to space radiation, which led to a shrinkage process. The cell walls were irregularly shaped and debris of the major organelles were visible. Now, the biomolecular changes of the DNA are in study by PCR and sequencing techniques. In contrast to these studies, the biogeochemical variations will be examined with spectroscopic analyses (Raman) to look for possible degradation of cell surfaces and pigments which were in contact with terrestrial rocks, and Martian analogue regolith. These experiments will contribute to answer questions on the habitability of Mars, on the likelihood of the Lithopanspermia HYPOTHESIS y [8] and will be of relevance for planetary protection issues.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/114343/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Survival of lichens on the ISS-II: ultrastructural and morphological changes of Circinaria gyrosa after space and Mars-like conditions
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
de la Torre Noetzel, R.INTA, National Institute for Aerospace Technology, Madrid, Spain.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Cubero, A.Z.IRNAS-CSIC, Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Sancho, L. G.UCM, Univ. Complutense Madrid, Madrid, Spain.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Jordão, L.INSA, Instituto Nacional Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge, Lisboa, Portugal.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Rabbow, Elkeradiation biology department, institute of aerospace medicine, german aerospace center (dlr), cologne, germany.https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9301-2021UNSPECIFIED
Meessen, J.HHU, Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
de Vera, J. P.DLR, German Aerospace Center, Management and Infrastructure, Astrobiological Laboratories, Berlin, Germany.https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9530-5821UNSPECIFIED
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Lichens, extremophile organisms, ISS
Event Title:EANA 2017
Event Location:Aarhus, Denmark
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:14.-17. August, 2017
Organizer:European Astrobiology Network Association
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Strahlenbiologie (old), R - Exploration of the Solar System
Location: Berlin-Adlershof , Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Institute of Planetary Research > Leitungsbereich PF
Deposited By: Kopp, Kerstin
Deposited On:25 Sep 2017 13:45
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 20:11

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