X-Message-Number: 11839
From: Eugene Leitl <>
Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 22:34:56 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: NASA funds permafrost study to support astrobiology research


May 27, 1999: NASA and Russian scientists have
been selected to take the search for life in the solar
system to the frozen reaches of Earth. Richard
Hoover of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
and Prof. Elena A. Vorobyova of Moscow State
University will investigate the microbiota found in
the permafrost and ice of Siberia, Alaska, and

NASA's Office of Space Science has announced
that their proposal, Permafrost as Microbial
Habitat - in-situ Investigation, was one of 18
chosen from 123 proposals submitted for funding
under the Joint U.S./Russian Research in Space
Science (JURRISS) Program.

Right: Hoover displays growing moss that remained 
alive yet dormant while frozen for 40,000 years in
the permafrost of the Kolyma Lowlands of northeastern 
Siberia. The sample was provided by David A. Gilichinsky 
and Elena A. Vorobyova of the Institute of Soil Science 
and Photosynthesis, Russian Academy of Sciences. 
Links to 1800x1204-pixel, 483K JPG. Credit: NASA/Marshall.

"The microorganisms found in the permafrost, glaciers, and polar ice caps of
Earth are of profound significance to astrobiology," Hoover said . "Dormant
ancient microbes, and even higher plants such as moss, can remain viable by
cryopreservation, resuming metabolic activity upon thawing after being frozen
in glacial ice or permafrost for thousands to millions of years.


-- Eugene

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=11839