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The BIOMEX Experiment on-board the International Space Station: Biomolecular- and Bio-geochemical changes of lichens exposed to space- and to Mars-like conditions

de la Torre Noetzel, R. and Ortega, M. V. and López Ramirez, M.R. and Miller, A.Z. and Bassy, O. and Granja, C. and Cubero, B. and Jordão, L. and Martínez Frías, J. and Rabbow, E. and Ott, S. and Sancho, L.G and de Vera, J.P. (2018) The BIOMEX Experiment on-board the International Space Station: Biomolecular- and Bio-geochemical changes of lichens exposed to space- and to Mars-like conditions. In: COSPAR 2018 Abstract-Book - Scientifc Assembly Abstracts. 42nd COSPAR Scientific Assembly, 14 - 22 July 2018, Pasadena, CA, United States.

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Exploration of the solar system is a priority research area of the AstRoMap European Astrobiology Roadmap (Horneck et al., 2015) [1], focused on various research topics, one of them is “Life and Habitability” and an other one is “Biomarkers for easy the detection of life”. Therefore “space platforms and laboratories” are necessary, such as EXPOSE, to gain more knowledment of space- and extraterrestrial habitats, eventually for human interplanetary exploration (Space, Moon, Mars, Encedalus, Titan, Europa). At the exposure platform EXPOSE-R2 on ISS (2014-2016), samples of the astrobiological model system Circinaria gyrosa gyrosa [3,4,5,6], belonging to the BIOMEX experiment [2], (Biology and Mars Experiment, ESA), were exposed during 18 months to space and to a Mars simulated environment, to study Mars habitability and resistance to space conditions. The data obtained by the investigation on biomarkers after being exposed to Mars-like conditions will support the analysis of data obtained during future instrumental detection operations in future space missions on Mars (i.e. ExoMars). After the return of the samples in June 2016, the first preliminary analysis showed a quick and complete recovery of metabolic activity of the control samples exposed to space vacuum and Mars-like atmosphere. In contrast, the samples directly exposed to extraterrestrial UV solar radiation showed slow recovery, in reference to their observed original activity. Here we expose the last results that show the biomolecular changes of the DNA analized by PCR and complementary sequencing techniques, in correlation with the previous results supporting changes in metabolic activity, and changes in viability (Electron- and fluorescence microscopy techniques), as well as in morphology/ultrastructure due to space vacuum and Mars atmosphere. Additionaly, the biogeochemical variations have been 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. Moreover, differences were observed between samples irradiated with extraterrestrial UV solar radiation and samples positioned below defined as dark-control samples. These experiments will contribute to answer questions on the habitability of Mars, on the likelihood of the Lithopanspermia Hypothesis and will be of relevance for planetary protection issues.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/125403/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:The BIOMEX Experiment on-board the International Space Station: Biomolecular- and Bio-geochemical changes of lichens exposed to space- and to 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, SpainUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Rabbow, E.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germanyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9301-2021UNSPECIFIED
de Vera, J.P.DLR, German Aerospace Center, Management and Infrastructure, Astrobiological Laboratories, Berlin, Germanyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9530-5821UNSPECIFIED
Date:July 2018
Journal or Publication Title:COSPAR 2018 Abstract-Book - Scientifc Assembly Abstracts
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:BIOMEX Experiment, ISS
Event Title:42nd COSPAR Scientific Assembly
Event Location:Pasadena, CA, United States
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:14 - 22 July 2018
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:19 Dec 2018 14:56
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 20:23

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