Lichen as the first colonizer?

In 2008 began an experiment called Expose-E. It consists in that the orbital space station are sent organisms that have been mounted on the outer side, i.e. in outer space. After a year and a half, "travelers" had returned to the ground and subjected to research. It was found that the most suitable for life beyond Earth became lichen

The study is devoted to the last issue of the journal Astrobiology, and some conclusions are given on the website of the European Space agentstva.Eksperiment, called Expose-E, was conducted aboard the International Space Station since 2008.

On its outer side was secured with a small tripod socket into which the patterns of living organisms, as well as ionizing radiation detectors, thermometers and other measuring devices. Some of the samples were partially protected from cosmic rays and other fully exposed to the outer space. Variation in the radiation dose received by the samples was about 70 protsentov.V space visited by the bacteria Bacillus subtilis spores iBacillus pumilus, the seeds of plants, lichens, and simple amino acids. The samples were exposed to the environment of space within a half years, and in 2009 returned to Earth for analysis. Its researchers presented the results of the public only now.

In addition to data on the effects of space radiation on bacteria and plant seeds biologists have evidence of unusual vitality of lichens. These organisms represent a symbiosis between fungi and algae, perfectly survived the journey to the space station. After one and a half years spent in orbit, many of them survived and continued to increase the return. In space, they were subjected to severe dryness or hibernate, but when taken in by the favorable conditions, resumed жизнедеятельность.Интересно that resistance to the harsh conditions of space combined with lichen demanding for clean air. It is well known among biologists and is even used for indirect control of local environmental conditions (in the cities, for example, usually do not survive lichens).

Among the well-known experiments on other champions at survival in the harsh environment of mites, tardigrades, and many bacteria, for example, Deinococcus radiodurans.Issledovanie stability of organisms to space conditions is a fundamental and practical scientific aspect. Hardy organisms can be used to prepare for the colonization of other planets, their research can tell us about the boundaries of the possible life and shed light on the theory of its distribution.

In addition, according to representatives of ESA, lichen resistance to direct sunlight sunscreen manufacturers are interested kremov.Napomnim, in April of this year, U.S. high school students have launched into the upper atmosphere rubber chicken Camilla, who is the mascot of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (Solar Dynamics Observatory, SDO) NASA.


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