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#1 2014-02-03 13:39:48

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,667

P. articus can easily survive Martian radiation levels!

Psychrobacter arcticus can do this at -15°C  (5°F) , to boot!

http://lonelyspore.com/2014/02/03/froze … a-at-15oc/

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#2 2014-02-03 19:19:38

Midoshi
Member
From: Colorado
Registered: 2007-07-14
Posts: 157

Re: P. articus can easily survive Martian radiation levels!

It is pretty remarkable the things of which those little guys are capable.

For some reason, desiccant resistant microbes also generally tend to also be highly resistant to radiation. Probably due to needing a better DNA repair system to handle the extreme intracellular conditions.  I always considered this a double plus for any seeding of Mars (accidental or man-made).


"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

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#3 2014-05-16 10:24:55

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,931

Re: P. articus can easily survive Martian radiation levels!

I know that articles like this from 2013 have been posted, but this one seems to have a lot of information that I like.

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/20 … -mars.html

"We have shown the first time, that in particular photosynthesis is possible in micro-niches on the surface of Mars," says Jean-Pierre de Vera, a scientist at the German Aerospace Center's Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin, Germany. On Earth, Antarctic lichen has shown itself capable of going beyond survival and adapting to life in simulated Martian conditions.

Previous Mars simulation experiments focused on simply measuring the survival of organisms at the end of a given time period. By contrast, de Vera and his group of German and U.S. colleagues measured the lichen's activities throughout the experiment that was detailed in the Sept. issue of the journal Planetary and Space Science. They wanted to see whether the lichen had continued its normal activities rather than simply clinging to life in a dormant state.

Two groups of lichen samples were placed inside a Mars simulation chamber about the size of a big pressure cooker, which itself sat within a fridge about the size of an armoire. That allowed researchers to simulate almost everything about Martian conditions such as atmospheric chemistry, pressure, temperatures, humidity and solar radiation — the lone exceptions being Martian gravity and the added contribution of galactic radiation.

Institute of Planetary Research One of the lichen samples in the Mars chamber was exposed to the full brunt of radiation expected on the Martian surface, while the second set of samples received a radiation dose almost 24 times lower to simulate life in the "protected" condition. A third group of lichen samples sat outside the chamber as a control.

Both lichen sample groups survived their month-long period under Martian conditions. But the heavier dose of radiation from a Xenon lamp simulating the surface radiation conditions kept the unprotected sample group from doing much beyond clinging to survival.

Only the "protected" lichen carried on normal activities such as using photosynthesis to turn sunlight into chemical energy for itself. The protected lichen recovered quickly after an initial "shock" period by adapting well enough to steadily ramp up its photosynthetic activities all the way until the end of the experiment.

"We have shown the first time, that in particular photosynthesis is possible in micro-niches on the surface of Mars," de Vera explained.

So, if it is decided to transplant Earth life to Mars, it seems somewhat possible, but there are two issues.  The initial shock, and the final ability for the organism to hook into the enviroment and make it long term.

So finding candadate organisms, and just tossing them into a sudden change, may weed out organisms that just need a little time to adjust.

Perhaps in some cases a slow ramped introduction would be helpful to find possible colonists.  But not always, a static temperature or a insufficient temperature swing might deprive the oragnisms from a source of water in the form of frost or dew.  But in the case of radiation, I think partial shielding and access to unshielded areas, a graduated shielding might allow microorganisms with a large representative gene pool to select for adaptation over time.

Last edited by Void (2014-05-16 10:35:48)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#4 2014-05-16 12:02:06

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: P. articus can easily survive Martian radiation levels!

I think we should start doing natural selection to create microbes able to survive and thrive on Mars.  I bet we could have a microorganism that would flourish within five years.


-Josh

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#5 2014-05-16 15:11:25

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,931

Re: P. articus can easily survive Martian radiation levels!

That seems like a reasonable proposal.

If I were to do it, I would start with a cycling temperature chamber at normal atmosphere for Earth, with a light source very similar to what Earth plants endure, and then through the testing gradually raise the UV to 4% of full Martian environment.

Then I would dump the survivors from that into a harsher environment with the temperature cycling and a lowering atmospheric pressure 12 mb and then 6.

Then I would dump the consequence of that into another chamber where they start by living in a 4% Martian UV value but can propagate to other connected places where the UV levels are progressively higher.

Anyway maybe that would output something useful.

I guess I am hopeful that just by living they will alter the Martian atmosphere, perhaps placing a greater amount of Methane into it than it has, and so deviate it towards a more Earth like situation.

I was never a believer in such things previously, respected the opinion that said that Mars cannot support surface life, but now because of articles such as have been appearing, I think Mars is a life habitable world, and a major question is why does it appear not to have life?

Just doing the adaptive experiments proposed by you might shed light on it, and as general research, that is important too.  If life could travel in rocks ejected from Earth, why hasn't it apparently seeded Mars, and altered it's environment?  Or did it in the past, and is now extinct for some reason?  It might be a way of defining the limits of some of the theory notions that are floating around, even if Mars is never seeded with Earth life.

Therefore a just investment even for the scientific community which has a obsession for finding extra-terrestrial life.

Last edited by Void (2014-05-16 15:19:13)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#6 2014-05-16 18:38:33

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,403

Re: P. articus can easily survive Martian radiation levels!

We really should not be surprised that another bacterium can survive the vacuum of space. Surveyor 3 landed on the moon on April 20, 1967 and when Apollo 12 returned Surveyor 3's camera, it was found to contain bacteria that had somehow survived two and a half years.
Then again more complex as in algae can as well "Stowaways" could survive on Mars plus even before that thread was this one D. rad Bacteria

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#7 2014-05-17 09:49:43

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,931

Re: P. articus can easily survive Martian radiation levels!

This is a matter that draws my mind now.

From my last post, a link to a article, I have a quote:

So far DiRuggiero has been working with University Valley samples collected during the IceBite team’s first season in the field, in 2009. She’s looking forward to getting her hands on more-extensive samples collected at the end of 2010, samples that are still making their way back from Antarctica.

Beneath the dry soil layer in University Valley is “what we call ice-cemented ground, which is basically frozen mud. And that mud has been frozen for thousands and thousands of years,” says DiRuggiero. “So the question is, Is there any water available for the micro-organisms, and do we see a difference in the microbial community between the soil above and this ice-cemented ground right underneath?”

There is some evidence, based on climate data collected last year by the IceBite team, that at the interface between the dry soil and the frozen mud, “there might be some melting in the summer,” says DiRuggiero. “There might be water available at least part of the time” and microbes might be “actively growing and metabolizing at least during a small portion of the year.”

“Melting,” in this case, doesn’t mean the soil gets soggy or muddy, or that the temperature gets above freezing. Rather, it means that thin layers of liquid water can form between the sand grains that make up the soil and the ice below it. But that’s plenty of water for microbes. They’re small. They don’t need a lot of water.

“At temperatures above -20ºC (-4ºF) there is a layer of unfrozen water between the sand grains and the ice. These layers can support microbial life at least [down] to -15ºC (5ºF),” McKay explained.

“On Mars today the temperatures of the ground ice are much too cold for this effect to be useful,” he wrote. But Mars wobbles. At present Mars is tilted on its axis at about the same angle as Earth’s.

Five million years ago, however, Mars leaned over at an angle of about 45º, and for nearly half of each martian year (equivalent to about one Earth year), the polar regions received constant sunlight. Back then “the ground ice at the polar regions,” like the site where NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft landed in 2008, “would have been much warmer. We think it would have been in the range of -15ºC to -20ºC. So liquid water layers” in the past were “a possibility.”

The question then is this: If life ever took hold on Mars, back when the planet was warmer and wetter, did a few hardy microbes evolve a survival strategy that let them go into a deep sleep, and then every 10 or 20 million years, when the ground warmed up to -20ºC or so, wake up and put on a little growth spurt?

The answer will have to wait until a follow-up mission to the martian polar regions can dig deeper than Phoenix did. It is just such deep polar drilling that McKay’s IceBite project is working to make possible.

While I draw from the above with what I say, and support their intentions, I have to point out that across large parts of Mars is a Duracrust, which I believe consists of fine grained soil, salt, and periodically some moisture.

As integrated into the low atmospheric pressures experience by the Martian surface, I suggest that the deep thermal cycling is a vast blessing to life.

I have said some of these things before.  In the Arctic ice pack fresh water ice is generated by periodic low temperatures that squeezes the brine salts out of the ice.
Then on a particularly warm Arctic summer day their could be a instance of this fresher ice melting and providing a habitat for life.

Similarly, I propose that although the sunset and early night of Mars may cause a absorption of moisture into the salt of it from the cooling Martian atmosphere, the deep night should to a degree push brine from the result that then freezes.  If pockets, films either fresh or somewhat salty are then warmed by the early Martian daytime sunlight, then temperatures of -15 degC are possible, and so a habitat for life.  It is even possible that in cracks and such in the duracrust photo activity could occur.  Perhaps even just under the top grains of the crust.

And why it would not be there is an amazing question.

Maybe I need to learn something important?

Last edited by Void (2014-05-17 10:06:28)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#8 2014-05-17 10:12:54

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,931

Re: P. articus can easily survive Martian radiation levels!

So, the ideas I have in my head from news articles, are:
1) Mars may have had an initial Oxygen rich atmosphere due not to life, but to the break down of liquid water by UV light, where the Oxygen tended to linger, and the Hydrogen tended to depart into space.
2) Earth started with a non-oxygen atmopsphere.
3) Life may have been able to pass between the two worlds from almost the beginning of them until now, but I expect that if Mars had/has life, our existing Oxygen fraction in our atmosphere would be hostile to present life on Mars, but not hostile to any presumed Oxygen tolerant life on early Mars.
4) Viruses may have smeared the boundry between Earth and Mars life, if there were two originations that were similar enough.
5) Very important is "Why would Mars be sterile now?".  Big question.  It matters a lot I think.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#9 2014-05-17 16:07:09

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,626
Website

Re: P. articus can easily survive Martian radiation levels!

My hunch is that there were separate evolutions of life on Earth,  Mars,  and probably others.  This would be further complicated by panspermia,  which is easier from Mars to Earth than it is Earth to Mars (but not impossible).  And it would be further complicated by total extinctions and complete new re-evolutions of life on all these places,  early in the solar system's history,  when asteroid bombardment was far worse. 

What that means is any Mars life would be very similiar to,  and in fact related to,  Earth life.  Yet the differences would also be profound,  because of the very high (but still not perfect) degree of isolation.  The tenacity of life here would suggest that life persists on Mars,  in spite of the hostile conditions.  But,  not out in the open on the surface.  Buried.  Perhaps deeply.  But I'd bet it's there. 

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2014-05-17 16:08:41)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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