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Survival potential and photosynthetic activity of lichens under Mars-like conditions: a laboratory study

de Vera, Jean Pierre Paul and Möhlmann, D. and Butina, F. and Lorek, Andreas and Wernecke, R. and Ott, S. (2010) Survival potential and photosynthetic activity of lichens under Mars-like conditions: a laboratory study. Astrobiology, 10 (2), pp. 215-227. Mary Ann Liebert Inc.. doi: 10.1089/ast.2009.0362.

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Lichens were repetitively exposed over 22 days to thermophysical Mars-like conditions at low-and midlatitudes. The simulated parameters and the experimental setup are described. Natural samples of the lichen Xanthoria elegans were used to investigate their ability to survive the applied Mars-like conditions. The effects of atmospheric pressure, CO2 concentration, low temperature, water availability, and light on Mars were also studied. The results of these experiments indicate that (i) no significant decrease in the vitality of the lichen occurred after exposure to simulated martian conditions, which was demonstrated by confocal laser scanning microscopy analysis, and (ii) a 95% CO2 atmosphere with 100% humidity, low pressure (partial pressure of CO2 was 600 Pa), and low temperature has a balancing effect on photosynthetic activity as a function of temperature. This means a starting low photosynthetic activity at high CO2 concentrations with Earth-like pressure has a reduction of 60%. But, if the simulated atmospheric pressure is reduced to Mars-like conditions with the maintenance of the same Mars-like 95% CO2 concentration, the photosynthetic activity increases and again reaches similar values as those exhibited under terrestrial atmospheric pressure and concentration. Based on these results, we presume that, in any region on Mars where liquid water might be available, even for short periods of time, a eukaryotic symbiotic organism would have the ability to survive, at least over weeks, and to temporarily photosynthesize.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/66793/
Document Type:Article
Title:Survival potential and photosynthetic activity of lichens under Mars-like conditions: a laboratory study
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Butina, F.Heinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Lorek, AndreasUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8960-6214UNSPECIFIED
Wernecke, R.Dr.-Wernecke Feuchtemesstechnik PotsdamUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Ott, S.Heinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 215-227
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
Keywords:Atmospheric composition—Earth/Mars simulation— Eukaryotes—Photosynthesis
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Planetenforschung (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research
Deposited By: de Vera, Dr. Jean Pierre Paul
Deposited On:10 Jan 2011 08:33
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:23

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