📰 A window to life on Mars

Beneath the permafrost of Lost Hammer Spring in the Canadian High Arctic is an environment so salty, so cold, and nearly oxygen-free, that it is comparable to parts of Mars. This is the place to go for anyone interested in shapes life (Life is the given name 🙂 It could exist or have been on the surface of Mars. He led an intense team work in very difficult circumstances Research (Scientific research identifies in the first place all actions taken with a view to …) From’McGill University (McGill University, located in Montreal, Quebec, is one of…) Discover microbes that have not been recorded before. Take advantage of technologies from genomics (Genomics is a branch of modern biology. It studies how…) The researchers also collected the latest findings of science data (In information technology (IT), data is an initial description, often…) on me Metabolism (Metabolism is the set of molecular and biological transformations…) of these microbes.

In a study recently published in tea ISME MagazineScientists have demonstrated, for the first time, that microbial communities living in the Canadian High Arctic, under conditions similar to those on Mars, can survive by absorbing simple inorganic compounds also found on Mars – methane (Methane is a hydrocarbon with the chemical formula CH4. It is the simplest compound in…)And the sulphide (In chemistry, a sulfide is a chemical compound or mixture of sulfur with a degree…)sulfate Carbon Monoxide (Carbon monoxide is one of the oxides of carbon. Its formula is written carbon dioxide and its formula …) And the Carbon Dioxide (Carbon dioxide, commonly known as carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide, is…). This discovery is so interesting thatEuropean Space Agency (The European Space Agency (ESA) is…) Selected samples of sediment space (Surface generally refers to the surface layer of an object. The term A…) From the Lost Hammer source, which will be used to test the life detection capabilities of the devices that will be used in the next mission ExoMars (ExoMars is the name of a scheduled European Space Agency space mission…).

Genomic analysis of microbes taken from surface sediments near the Lost Hammer Spring, about 900 km south of North Pole (The geogeographic North Pole, or simply the North Pole, is the highest point…)in Canada, could provide interesting data about what kind of life forms are likely to exist, or have been, on Mars.
© McGill

A model of life on Mars Located in Nunavut in the Canadian High Arctic, Lost Hammer Spring is one of the coldest and saltiest terrestrial springs discovered to date. day (The day or day is the interval between sunrise and sunset, which is…). L ‘Water (Water is a chemical compound found everywhere on Earth, essential to everyone…) that can cross up to 600 meters of permafrost to reach a surface with a high salinity of 24%, maintains temperature (Temperature is a physical quantity measured with a thermometer and …) about -5°C and practically free ofOxygen (Oxygen is a chemical element of the family of chalcogens, from…) (The dissolved oxygen level is less than 1 ppm). The lost hammer spring never freezes due to too high a salt concentration; So the habitat remains aquatic liquid (The liquid phase is the state of matter. In this form, the substance is…) Despite the low temperatures.

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These conditions are similar to some regions on Mars, where extensive salt deposits and potentially cold salt springs have been observed. Previous studies mentioned Tracks (TRACES (TRAde Control and Expert System) is a veterinary health network of …) of microbes in environments similar to those on Mars, but this is one of the few that detects the presence of living and active microbes.

research team fromUniversity (The university is an institution of higher education whose goal is…) McGill, led by Professor Lyle White of the Department of Natural Resources Sciences, has set out to find data about life forms that might exist on Mars. Using the latest genomic tools and microbiology (Microbiology is a branch of biology that is based on the study of …) cellular, discovered and characterized a microbial group that had not previously been included, and above all active. Searching for microbes in this exceptional source, then searching for microbes sequence (In biochemistry, sequence consists in determining the linear order of…) From DNA and mRNA, it wasn’t easy.

A form of life adapted to harsh conditions

“It was only after a few years of working on the sediments that we were able to detect active microbial populations,” explains Ellis Magnuson, a doctoral student in Pr Whyte’s lab and lead author of the article. “Environmental salinity interferes with microbial extraction and sequencing. Therefore, it was particularly satisfactory to discover traces of active microbial assemblies.”

The team isolated and sequenced the DNA of the microbes taken from the source, thus they were able to reconstruct genome (The genome is all the genetic material of an individual or…) Of about 110 microorganisms, most of them have not been observed before. From these genomes, the researchers discovered how microorganisms were able to survive and thrive in this harsh environment, thus gathering data that could be applied to potential life forms in similar environments. Using mRNA sequencing, the team identified the active genes in the genome and described the highly unusual microbes that are metabolized under these extreme conditions.

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Life without organic matter

“The microbes that we found and distinguished from at the source of Lost Hammer are amazing; unlike other microorganisms, they do not have need to (Needs at the level of interaction between the individual and the environment. Are…) Oxygen or organic matter to live, says Professor White. They live by absorbing simple inorganic compounds, such as methane, sulfides, sulfates, and carbon monoxide. carbon (Carbon is a chemical element of the family of crystalline substances, symbol C, …) and carbon dioxide are also present on the surface of Mars. They can also fix carbon dioxide andnitrogen (Nitrogen is a chemical element of the family of pnictogens, symbol N and …) From’ambiance (The word atmosphere can have several meanings:)They are well-equipped to survive and thrive in hostile environments a land (Earth is the third planet in the solar system in order of distance…) or anywhere else.”

Researchers will now focus on the culture (Culture is a pan-galactic civilization invented by Ian M Banks through…) and more description Pay (In aerodynamics, thrust is the force exerted by moving air…) of the most abundant and active members of this peculiar microbial ecosystem in order to better understand how to live in the conditions the cold (Cold is the opposite sensation of heat associated with low temperatures.) and maximum salinity in the spring of the lost hammer. The team hopes that their work will then be able to decipher the mysterious isotopes of matchsticks (Sulfur is a chemical element of the chalcogen family, symbol S and …) The carbon from the Rover Curiosity in NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“National Administration…) Recently collected from crater (For a crater of volcanic origin, see volcanic crater for crater of origin…) scabies (Scabies or mal de Sainte-Marie is an infectious disease of the skin specific to …) on Mars.

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the study

Article “Active, eutrophic microbial community and methane oxidizer in anoxic, subzero, and high salinity high arctic spring,” by E. Fernández‑Martínez et al. , in ISME Magazine.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-022-01233-8

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