Desert Cyanobacteria: Potential for Space and Earth Applications
Daniela Billi,Mickael BaquƩ, Cyprien Verseux, Lynn Rothschild, Jean-Pierre de Vera
Mar - 2017
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-48327-6_6
ISBN : 978-3-319-48327-6
Book Title :

type: Book Section

Cyanobacterial-dominated hypolithic and endolithic communities occur in cold and hot deserts, often referred to as Mars analogues, where life is pushed to its physical limits due to extreme water deficit and challenging temperatures. The endurance of desert cyanobacteria is currently tested under ground-based space and Martian-simulated conditions as well as in low Earth orbit outside the International Space Station with the aim to: (i) understand the limits of life and potential habitability of the solar system and beyond; (ii) identify suitable biosignatures for searching for past or extant life on Mars; (iii) validate the lithopanspermia theory, i.e., the possibility of interplanetary transport of life by means of material ejected by asteroid and meteorite impacts; (iv) improve the procedures for planetary protection, to avoid contamination of bodies of interest in our solar system with terrestrial life via probes and rovers; and (v) design life-support systems for beyond-Earth settlements, eventually utilizing in situ resources, whose principles could be transferred to Earth for the development of sustainable industrial processes based on carbon dioxide, solar energy, water, and minerals.

keywords : Acknowledgments Researches were funded by the Italian Space Agency [...]