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MEXEM – Mars Exposed Extremophile Mixture – a space experiment to investigate the capability of anaerobic organisms to survive on Mars

Rettberg, Petra and Beblo-Vranesevic, Kristina and Rabbow, Elke and Bohmeier, M. and Leuko, Stefan and Moeller, R. and Berger, Thomas and Antunes, A. and Cockell, C. and Deng, L. and Marteinsson, V. and Milojevic, T. and Moissl-Eichinger, C. and Neilan, B. and Panitz, C. and Schwendner, P. and Stoeck, S. and Walter, M. and Westall, F. (2017) MEXEM – Mars Exposed Extremophile Mixture – a space experiment to investigate the capability of anaerobic organisms to survive on Mars. EANA 2017, 14.-17. August, 2017, Aarhus, Denmark.

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Abstract

Assessing the habitability of Mars and detecting life, if it ever existed there, depends on knowledge of whether the combined environmental stresses experienced on Mars are compatible with life as we know it and whether a record of that life could ever be detected. So far, only few investigations were performed to understand the combined effect of different environmental stresses on survival and growth of anaerobic and extremophilic organisms. In the space experiment MEXEM (formerly known as MASE-in-SPACE) the hypothesis will be tested that selected terrestrial organisms, enrichment cultures and original samples from extreme Mars-analogue environments on Earth are able to withstand the Martian environ- mental stress factors due to their highly effective cellular and molecular adaptation and repair mechanisms. In addition, artificially fossilized and aged isolates from Mars-analogue environments on Earth will be examined and assessed with respect to their suitability for biosigna- ture identification. MEXEM samples will be (i) oxygen-depleted natural sediment samples, (ii) natural sediments spiked with selected, defined strains representative for the respective analogue site, (iii) individual (facultative) anaerobic / micro-aerophilic species including ciliates and viruses, (iv) defined mixtures of these biological entities, (v) isolated strains from samples collected inside the ISS and (vi) artificially fossilized isolates from the natural environments. Most of these samples and isolates were obtained from Mars-analogue envi- ronments on Earth in the frame of the EC funded project MASE (Grant Agreement 607297) and from the space experiment EXTREMOPHILES (PI C. Moissl-Eichinger). MEXEM will be flown outside on the ISS in the new exobiology facility ESA is building now. It offers the possibility to simulate of the martian environment, in particular the martian UV cl e, which cannot be done in the lab, but also martian atmosphere and pressure in LEO.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/114434/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:MEXEM – Mars Exposed Extremophile Mixture – a space experiment to investigate the capability of anaerobic organisms to survive on Mars
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Rettberg, Petraradiation biology department, institute of aerospace medicine, german aerospace center (dlr), cologne, germany; petra.rettberg (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4439-2395
Beblo-Vranesevic, Kristinaradiation biology department, institute of aerospace medicine, german aerospace center (dlr), cologne, germanyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-4834-7121
Rabbow, Elkeradiation biology department, institute of aerospace medicine, german aerospace center (dlr), cologne, germany.https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9301-2021
Bohmeier, M.radiation biology department, institute of aerospace medicine, german aerospace center (dlr), cologne, germanyUNSPECIFIED
Leuko, Stefanradiation biology department, institute of aerospace medicine, german aerospace center (dlr), cologne, germany; stefan.leuko (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-0423-0896
Moeller, R.institute of aerospace medicine, radiation biology division, german aerospace center (dlr e.v.), linder höhe, 51147 cologne, germanyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2371-0676
Berger, Thomasinstitute of aerospace medicine, radiation biology division, german aerospace center (dlr e.v.), linder höhe, 51147 cologne, germany; thomas.berger (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3319-5740
Antunes, A.Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK.UNSPECIFIED
Cockell, C.uk centre for astrobiology, school of physics and astronomy, university of edinburgh, edinburgh, uk; e-mail: c.s.cockell (at) ed.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Deng, L.Helmholtz Zentrum Munich, D.UNSPECIFIED
Marteinsson, V.Matis ltd., Reykjavík, IS.UNSPECIFIED
Milojevic, T.University of Vienna, AT.UNSPECIFIED
Moissl-Eichinger, C.Medical University Graz, AT.UNSPECIFIED
Neilan, B.Univ. New South Wales, Sydney, AU.UNSPECIFIED
Panitz, C.rwth aachen, kullenhofstraße 52, aachen 52074, germanyUNSPECIFIED
Schwendner, P.uk center for astrobiology, school of physics and astronomy, university of edinburgh, edinburgh, ukUNSPECIFIED
Stoeck, S.University of Kaiserslautern, D.UNSPECIFIED
Walter, M.Medical University Graz, AT.UNSPECIFIED
Westall, F.CNRS Orleans, F.UNSPECIFIED
Date:2017
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:MEXEM (formerly known as MASE-in-SPACE), Mars
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 - Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Strahlenbiologie
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kopp, Kerstin
Deposited On:28 Sep 2017 11:47
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 20:11

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