It has been nearly a decade that Dr Ram Karan has been trying into this much-asked query: How does life survive and thrive in excessive situations? Whereas he studied this on Earth, the invention of liquid water our bodies on Mars made it simpler for him to review the potential for life on different planets.
There was quite a lot of dialogue over the presence of “liquid water” on Mars. On September 28, a examine in ‘Nature’ confirmed the presence of a subglacial lake on Mars first recognized in 2018 and detected three others round it. Seems, salt helps to maintain it in liquid type.
The freezing level of salt water is far decrease, that means it needs to be colder for it to show into ice. “The rationale it’s nonetheless not frozen regardless of a median -60°C temperature is the excessive salt content material,” stated Karan.
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That is the place his work is available in. The 37-year-old enzymology analysis scientist on the King Abdullah College of Science and Expertise in Saudi Arabia has been finding out extremophiles, microorganisms that thrive in inhospitable situations — no oxygen, sub-zero temperatures, salt content material that might kill most organisms — of the Pink Sea, Antarctica and others.
“We discovered comparable situations in Deep Lake Antarctica. Essentially the most intriguing half was that regardless of excessive salt content material, we extracted extremozymes (enzymes derived from extremophiles). This strengthens the potential for existence of such enzymes, the constructing blocks of life, on Mars as effectively,” he stated.
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In his paper printed in ‘Microorganisms’ journal on Friday, Karan, who’s the lead creator, wrote, “Research of extremophilic proteins could not solely assist to grasp the early evolution of life on Earth, but in addition present clues for a way life might probably survive on different planets.”
A paper he co-authored in 2017, which documented the invention of an Antarctic microorganism within the ‘Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences of the USA of America’, had additionally stated, “The molecular foundation for its survival is related to the seek for life on Mars, in addition to on the various newly found planets in our galaxy.”
In actual fact, the ‘Nature’ paper about buried lakes on Mars refers back to the icy lakes of East Antarctica: “A number of beforehand undetected subglacial lakes have been discovered by making use of among the standards initially utilized in East Antarctica.”
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So, the primary doable software of Karan’s analysis could possibly be exploring the potential for life past Earth.
“It’s not solely necessary for understanding survival beneath excessive terrestrial environments however may additionally improve our understanding of the potential for all times to exist past planet earth,” stated Dr Tune Usha from the Nationwide Heart for Coastal Analysis, Union ministry of earth sciences.