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Proceedings Paper

Long-term conservation of viable microorganisms in the ice sheet of Central Antarctica
Author(s): Sabit S. Abyzov; Irina N. Mitskevich; Margarita N. Poglazova; Nartsiss I. Barkov; Vladimir Ya. Lipenkov; Nikita E. Bobin; Boris B. Koudryashov; Victor M. Pashkevich
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Paper Abstract

Many investigators regard Antarctica as a model for solution of such problems as search of life on other planets, the quarantine in planets, and at the Earth during interplanetary contacts. It is also a good natural experiment for studying the phenomenon of microbial long- term anabiosis. Remoteness from the regions of intensive anthropogenic effects, low stable temperature and reliable protection of ancient ice horizons against subsequent environmental changes make Antarctic ice sheet an ideal object for methodological works necessary for investigation of various problems of exobiology. Investigations of ice bodies in attempts to find there any possible form of life has an advantage over similar studies of other cosmic solids because microorganisms, spores, plant pollen, unicellular algae, and other inclusions rather easily release from the melted ice and their investigation by different methods depends only on the well thought-out techniques. Special techniques of aseptic sampling while drilling at Vostok station and analysis of these samples by different methods have provided evidence for the existence of viable microorganisms in very ancient layers of the ice sheet. The relationship between quantitative distribution of microbes at different horizons of the ice column with the Earth's climate fluctuations at the time of these layers formation was also demonstrated.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 July 1998
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3441, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology, (6 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.319824
Show Author Affiliations
Sabit S. Abyzov, Institute of Microbiology (Russia)
Irina N. Mitskevich, Institute of Microbiology (Russia)
Margarita N. Poglazova, Institute of Microbiology (Russia)
Nartsiss I. Barkov, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (Russia)
Vladimir Ya. Lipenkov, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (Russia)
Nikita E. Bobin, St. Petersburg Mining Institute (Russia)
Boris B. Koudryashov, St. Petersburg Mining Institute (Russia)
Victor M. Pashkevich, St. Petersburg Mining Institute (Russia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3441:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology
Richard B. Hoover, Editor(s)

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