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Proceedings Paper

Permafrost as a microbial habitat: extreme for the Earth, favorable in space
Author(s): David A. Gilichinsky
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Paper Abstract

Cold adapted viable paleomicroorganisms, the only known organisms, survive `in situ' within permafrost at subzero temperatures over geological time and upon thawing resume the activities. Because the cryosphere existence is a common phenomenon in space, the terrestrial permafrost environment inhabited by microbes and their metabolically end products can be considered as a model of conditions of the other planets. Ancient microbial communities within the Earth permafrost provide a range of analogies for possible extraterrestrial ecosystems, which might be found at permafrost depths on other planets. The main econiches where the microorganisms may survive are the unfrozen water films enveloping soil particles and functions as a cryoprotector. This type of rigidly associated `liquid' water has not been sublimated and may present in extraterrestrial cryosphere as a life indicator.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 July 1997
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3111, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for the Investigation of Extraterrestrial Microorganisms, (11 July 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.278803
Show Author Affiliations
David A. Gilichinsky, Institute of Soil Science and Photosynthesis (Russia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3111:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for the Investigation of Extraterrestrial Microorganisms
Richard B. Hoover, Editor(s)

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