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Proceedings Paper

Astrobiological characteristics and possibility of life in the polar dark dune spots of Mars
Author(s): A. Kereszturi; Sz. Bérczi; A. Horváth; T. Pócs; A. Sik; E. Szathmáry
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Paper Abstract

The circumpolar region of Mars was surveyed for possible habitats in the area of seasonal ice cap. Dark Dune Spots were found to be good candidates as they are covered by water ice there without carbon-dioxide ice, and show flow-like features in springtime. Based on theoretical calculations interfacial water or bulk brine may be present there that decomposes the aggressive oxidants. Temperature values in springtime around noon could be favorable for metabolism of known extremophyles on Earth, and water uptake may be possible at nighttime. During the warm daytime period the water loss could be lowered by densely packed grain structure of the soil, hygroscopic salts, and polysaccharide-like materials, as it was observed in the samples of cryptobiotic crust from hot and cold deserts on Earth. This work outlines the basic elements of these possible circumpolar microhabitats.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 September 2010
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7819, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIII, 78190K (7 September 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.862839
Show Author Affiliations
A. Kereszturi, Collegium Budapest (Hungary)
Eötvös Loránd Univ. (Hungary)
Sz. Bérczi, Collegium Budapest (Hungary)
Eötvös Loránd Univ. (Hungary)
A. Horváth, Collegium Budapest (Hungary)
Eötvös Loránd Univ. (Hungary)
T. Pócs, Eötvös Loránd Univ. (Hungary)
Eszterházy Károly College (Hungary)
A. Sik, Collegium Budapest (Hungary)
Eötvös Loránd Univ. (Hungary)
E. Szathmáry, Collegium Budapest (Hungary)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7819:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIII
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Paul C. W. Davies, Editor(s)

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