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Bacteria from Siberian permafrost can exist in Martian conditions

Bacteria from Siberian permafrost can exist in Martian conditions

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Photo: NASA

Date : Nov 09, 2017 05:07 PM

The microorganisms could imprint in the Martian soil

Researchers from the several Russian Universities have modeled Martian conditions in the laboratory to reveal how microorganisms are resistant to ionizing radiation, low temperatures and low atmospheric pressure. It turned out that microorganisms can survive in harsh conditions for millions of years.

The scientists used microorganisms in samples of the Arctic permafrost with an age of about two million years. They have discovered for the first time that microorganisms persist when exposed to high doses of gamma radiation of 100 kGy. Previous studies have shown that doses above 80 kGy may be sufficient to completely destroy microorganisms colonies, one of the researchers from the Moscow State University (MSU) explained.

«The total number of procaryotes and the number of metabolically active bacterial cells remained at the control level. The number of cultivated bacteria decreased tenfold, and the number of metabolically active cells of archaea decreased threefold», the MSU press service told. Besides, the microorganisms community has changed in a harsh environment.

The scientists believe that the study proves the possibility of preserving microorganisms in the Mars regolith in the anabiotic state. Microorganisms can survive for 2 million years near the surface, and about 20 million years at a depth of five meters.

The researchers from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University the Ural Federal University and others participated in the study.

The results are published in Extremophiles.

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