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Extremophile cyanobacteria as life supporters for Mars colonization

Objective

The curiosity and the interest of Humanity in space exploration lead to important discoveries on fundamental questions about our place in the Universe, and push forward the development of new technologies, new industries, and important international relationships. Mars is the nearest planet to Earth, has evidence of water, an element essential for life, and a geological history similar to Earth. These characteristics turn it a source of inspiration and a possible home for humans in the future. However, it is an inhospitable place and several solutions are being pursued in order to help terraform the planet. Atmospheric composition, cosmic radiation, temperature, and the lack of a protective magnetic field are just a few of the problems that Humankind needs to face prior to considering Mars colonization. However, there is a group of organisms that can be used to help solve some of the problems – Cyanobacteria. Why? Because they are simple oxygen producer organisms, with low nutritional requirements, and able to live in a wide range of extreme conditions and ecosystems. Moreover, cyanobacteria can also be used as food sources, to produce biofuels, in bioremediation, and as biofertilizers, for instance, and already proved to be good candidates for the task. MarCyan has the major goal of investigate the possible use of cyanobacteria to support Mars exploration. How? Using extremophile cyanobacteria, isolated from a Mars analog site (Rio Tinto, Spain), and submitted to Mars-like conditions in specialized Planetary Simulation Chambers. Moreover, MarCyan intends to go beyond the conventional knowledge and will use transcriptomic and metabolomic analysis to uncover the possible mechanisms that can help to explain the survival of these organisms to extreme conditions, opening the door to a more conscious choice of the best organisms to be used in Space exploration.

Coordinator

INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE TECNICA AEROESPACIAL ESTEBAN TERRADAS
Net EU contribution
€ 165 312,96
Address
CR TORREJON AJALVIR KM 4 2
28850 Torrejon De Ardoz Madrid
Spain

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Region
Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
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Total cost
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