Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 189–200 | Cite as

Survival of Methanogenic Archaea from Siberian Permafrost under Simulated Martian Thermal Conditions



Methanogenic archaea from Siberian permafrost complementary to the already well-studied methanogens from non-permafrost habitats were exposed to simulated Martian conditions. After 22 days of exposure to thermo-physical conditions at Martian low- and mid-latitudes up to 90% of methanogenic archaea from Siberian permafrost survived in pure cultures as well as in environmental samples. In contrast, only 0.3%–5.8% of reference organisms from non-permafrost habitats survived at these conditions. This suggests that methanogens from terrestrial permafrost seem to be remarkably resistant to Martian conditions. Our data also suggest that in scenario of subsurface lithoautotrophic life on Mars, methanogenic archaea from Siberian permafrost could be used as appropriate candidates for the microbial life on Mars.


methanogenic archaea permafrost astrobiology life on Mars Mars simulation experiments 



The authors wish to thank the Russian–German team of the Expedition LENA 2004 for enjoyable field work under extreme conditions, in particular Waldemar Schneider for logistic and Günter ‘Molo’ Stoof for technical support (both Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research). Special thanks go to the team of the HUMIDITY-Lab Dr. Roland Wernecke & Partner and Andreas Lorek (German Aerospace Center) as well as to the whole group of simulators (especially Dr. Jelka Ondruschka, Ulrike Pogoda de la Vega, Prof. Dr. Sieglinde Ott, and Dr. Petra Rettberg) for successful cooperation. This research has been supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) priority program 1115 “Mars and the terrestrial planets” (WA 1554/1–2).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daria Morozova
    • 1
  • Diedrich Möhlmann
    • 2
  • Dirk Wagner
    • 1
  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.DLR Institute of Planetary ResearchBerlinGermany

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