Feeds

Lichens love life in space

Could they survive on Mars?

High performance access to file storage

Good news for interplanetary Reindeer: researchers in the Netherlands have discovered that Lichens can survive in the harsh environment of space. This raises the possibility that Lichen could survive on the surface of Mars, the European Space Agency says, and might also widen the focus of exobiology research beyond the realm of bacteria.

Lichen, up close and personal. Image: L. Sancho

Two different species of Lichen were sent into orbit on the Foton-M2 mission back in May this year (2005). The M2 capsule housed some 39 experiments in total, ranging from exobiology to fluid physics and materials science.

The lichens, were housed in the "biopan" section of the capsule, located on the outer shell of the craft. Once in orbit, this section opens to expose the contents to the full hostility of the vacuum and high radiation levels present in space. After just over 14 and a half days in orbit, the lid was closed and the capsule returned to Earth.

On their return, the space-faring lichens were all still alive, and their ability to photosynthesise had not diminished.

Lichens are known for their ability to survive in extreme environments, but it is still impressive that such a complex organism could survive in quite such brutal conditions.

In evolutionary terms, lichens are far more advanced organisms than bacteria. They are composed of millions of algae cells and fungal cells which have a symbiotic relationship. The algae provide the fungus with food, while the fungus provides the algae with a nice place to live. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.