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Characterization of Viability of the Lichen Buellia frigida After 1.5 Years in Space on the International Space Station.

Authors
  • Backhaus, Theresa1
  • Meeßen, Joachim1
  • Demets, René2
  • de Vera, Jean-Pierre3
  • Ott, Sieglinde1
  • 1 1 Institute of Botany, Heinrich Heine University, Duesseldorf, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 2 2 European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), European Space Agency (ESA), Noordwijk, Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
  • 3 3 Research Group, Astrobiological Laboratories, Institute of Planetary Research, Management and Infrastructure, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Berlin, Germany. , (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Astrobiology
Publisher
Mary Ann Liebert
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2019
Volume
19
Issue
2
Pages
233–241
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1089/ast.2018.1894
PMID: 30742495
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The lichen Buellia frigida was exposed to space and simulated Mars analog conditions in the Biology and Mars Experiment (BIOMEX) project operated outside the International Space Station (ISS) for 1.5 years. To determine the effects of the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) conditions on the lichen symbionts, a LIVE/DEAD staining analysis test was performed. After return from the ISS, the lichen symbionts demonstrated mortality rates of up to 100% for the algal symbiont and up to 97.8% for the fungal symbiont. In contrast, the lichen symbiont controls exhibited mortality rates of 10.3% up to 31.9% for the algal symbiont and 14.5% for the fungal symbiont. The results performed in the BIOMEX Mars simulation experiment on the ISS indicate that the potential for survival and the resistance of the lichen B. frigida to LEO conditions are very low. It is unlikely that Mars could be inhabited by this lichen, even for a limited amount of time, or even not habitable planet for the tested lichen symbionts.

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