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2 The Assessment of the Potential of Terrestrial Lifeforms to Survive and Proliferate on Mars in the Next 500 Years
Pages 9-12

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From page 9...
... summarized and discussed in the SR-SAG2 report focus on the following: • The presence of chemical compounds that can be used by microbes1 as a source of carbon, energy, and nutrients; • The lower temperature limit for cell division; • The lower temperature limit for metabolic activities; • The potential decrease of the lower temperature limit in the presence of chaotropic compounds; • The lower limit of water activity for cell division versus metabolic activities; • The effects of atmospheric composition and pressure; • The effects of ultraviolet and ionizing radiation; and • The combined effects of environmental stressors. 1  The term "microbe" is used throughout this report as a generic term denoting any prokaryotic or eukaryotic single-cell organisms.
From page 10...
... Therefore, the review committee recognizes the need for scientific investigations that deepen our knowledge about the limits of life with a focus on survivability, adaptation, and evolution under martian conditions. The most important conditions are the temperature limits and the bioavailability of water, in particular, the potential utilization of atmospheric water vapor as sole source for water has not been proven, even if some observations suggest it (Azúa-Bustos et al.
From page 11...
... The majority of known microbial communities on Earth are able to produce EPS, and the protection provided by this matrix enlarges their physical and chemical limits for metabolic processes and replication. EPS also enhances their tolerance to simultaneously occurring multiple stressors and enables the occupation of otherwise uninhabitable ecological niches in the microscale and macroscale.
From page 12...
... The issue is especially worthy of consideration because if survival is possible during atmospheric transport, the designation of Special Regions becomes more difficult, or even irrelevant. Experiments conducted in facilities such as the Mars Surface Wind Tunnel at NASA's Ames Research Center or the low-pressure recirculating wind tunnels in the Mars Simulation Laboratory at Aarhus University 2 may shed light on this issue.

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