Cyanobacteria in a Lunar Environment

Presenter: Andrew Pohorille, NASA Ames Research Center
When: May 20, 2008 2:30PM PDT

Can life be transported beyond its planet of origin, and adapted to survive and thrive on the Moon? Can microorganisms be useful for life support and in situ resource utilization in a sustained space exploration? These fundamental questions were recently discussed at a workshop that brought together microbiologists, planetary scientists and experts in flight experiments and hardware. The focus was on cyanobacteria as model organisms because of their antiquity on earth, metabolic diversity, resilience to adverse conditions, ability to efficiently produce oxygen and hydrogen, and the existence of advanced capabilities for their genetic manipulation. I will discuss the main findings of the workshop regarding the challenges of and a research program for establishing cyanobacteria in a lunar environment. Such a program will help to connect astrobiology with NASA’s missions to the Moon.

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