Survival of microbial life under shock compression: implications for Panspermia - art. no. 669416

Burchell, Mark J. (2007) Survival of microbial life under shock compression: implications for Panspermia - art. no. 669416. In: Hoover, Richard B. and Levin, Gilbert V. and Rozanov, Alexei Y. and Davies, Paul C., eds. Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology 10: 6694 (Proceedings of Spie). Proceedings of SPIE, 6694 . International Society for Optical Engineering, United States, p. 69416. ISBN 0819468428. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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An analysis is carried out of the survival fraction of micro-organisms exposed to extreme shock pressures. A variety of data sources are used in this analysis. The key findings are that survival depends on the behaviour of the cell wall. Below a critical shock pressure there is a relatively slow fall in survival fraction as shock pressures increase. Above the critical threshold survival starts to fall rapidly as shock pressure increases further. The critical shock pressures found here are in the range 2.4 to 20 GPa, and vary not only from organism to organism, but also depend on the growth stage of given organisms, with starved (i.e., no growth) states favoured for survival. At the shock pressures typical of those involved in inter-planetary transfer of rocky materials, the survival fractions are found to be small but finite. This lends credence to the idea of Panspermia, i.e. life may naturally migrate through space. Thus for example, Martian meteorites should not a prior be considered as sterile due to the shock processes they have undergone, but their lack of viable micro-organisms either reflects no such life being present at the source at the time of departure or the influence of other hazardous processes such as radiation in space or hearing of surfaces during entry into a planetary atmosphere.

Item Type: Book section
Additional information: Editor: Hoover, RB Conference on Istruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology X AUG 28-30, 2007 San Diego, CA
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Faculties > Science Technology and Medical Studies > School of Physical Sciences > Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: Mark Burchell
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2008 15:00
Last Modified: 16 May 2014 10:36
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