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A desert cyanobacterium under simulated Mars-like conditions in low Earth orbit: implications for the habitability of Mars

Billi, D. and Verseux, C. and Fagliarone, C. and Napoli, A. and Baque, Mickael and de Vera, J. P. (2019) A desert cyanobacterium under simulated Mars-like conditions in low Earth orbit: implications for the habitability of Mars. Astrobiology, 19 (2), pp. 158-169. Mary Ann Liebert Inc.. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2017.1807 ISSN 1531-1074

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Official URL: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/ast.2017.1807

Abstract

In the ESA space experiment BIOMEX (BIOlogy and Mars EXperiment), dried Chroococcidiopsis cells were exposed to Mars-like conditions during the EXPOSE-R2 mission on the International Space Station. The samples were exposed to UV radiation for 469 days and to a Mars-like atmosphere for 722 days, approaching the conditions that could be faced on the surface of Mars. Once back on Earth, cell survival was tested by growth-dependent assays, while confocal laser scanning microscopy and PCR-based assay were used to analyze the accumulated damage in photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll a and phycobiliproteins) and genomic DNA, respectively. Survival occurred only for dried cells (4-5 cell layers thick) mixed with the martian soil simulants P-MRS (phyllosilicatic martian regolith simulant) and S-MRS (sulfatic martian regolith simulant), and viability was only maintained for a few hours after space exposure to a total UV (wavelength from 200 to 400 nm) radiation dose of 492 MJ/m2 (attenuated by 0.1% neutral density filters) and 0.5 Gy of ionizing radiation. These results have implications for the hypothesis that, during Mars.s climatic history, desiccation- and radiationtolerant life-forms could have survived in habitable niches and protected niches while transported.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/128552/
Document Type:Article
Title:A desert cyanobacterium under simulated Mars-like conditions in low Earth orbit: implications for the habitability of Mars
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Billi, D.Department of Biology, University of Rome "Tor Vergata," Rome, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Verseux, C.Department of Biology, University of Rome "Tor Vergata," Rome, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Fagliarone, C.Department of Biology, Laboratory of Astrobiology and Molecular Biology of Cyanobacteria from Extreme Environments, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.UNSPECIFIED
Napoli, A.Department of Biology, Laboratory of Astrobiology and Molecular Biology of Cyanobacteria from Extreme Environments, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.UNSPECIFIED
Baque, MickaelMickael.Baque (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-6696-6030
de Vera, J. P.DLR, German Aerospace Center, Management and Infrastructure, Astrobiological Laboratories, Berlin, Germany.https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9530-5821
Date:February 2019
Journal or Publication Title:Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:19
DOI :10.1089/ast.2017.1807
Page Range:pp. 158-169
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
ISSN:1531-1074
Status:Published
Keywords:Cyanobacteria; Mars; Extreme environments; Habitability; Low Earth orbit
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Planetary Evolution and Life
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Leitungsbereich PF
Deposited By: de Vera, Dr. Jean Pierre Paul
Deposited On:15 Aug 2019 13:44
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:23

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