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Jonathan Cowie
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 19, 2016: Nature
Viktor S Kokhan, Marina I Matveeva, Azat Mukhametov, Andrey S Shtemberg
Space flight factors (SFF) significantly affect the operating activity of astronauts during deep space missions. Gravitational overloads, hypo-magnetic field and ionizing radiation are the main SFF that perturb the normal activity of the central nervous system (CNS). Acute and chronic CNS risks include alterations in cognitive abilities, reduction of motor functions and behavioural changes. Multiple experimental works have been devoted to the SFF effects on integrative functional activity of the brain; however, the model parameters utilized have not always been ideal and consistent...
October 15, 2016: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Dogan Erbahar, Toma Susi, Xavier Rocquefelte, Carla Bittencourt, Mattia Scardamaglia, Peter Blaha, Peter Guttmann, Georgios Rotas, Nikos Tagmatarchis, Xiaohui Zhu, Adam P Hitchcock, Chris P Ewels
C60 fullerene crystals may serve as important catalysts for interstellar organic chemistry. To explore this possibility, the electronic structures of free-standing powders of C60 and (C59N)2 azafullerenes are characterized using X-ray microscopy with near-edge X-ray adsorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy, closely coupled with density functional theory (DFT) calculations. This is supported with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements and associated core-level shift DFT calculations. We compare the oxygen 1s spectra from oxygen impurities in C60 and C59N, and calculate a range of possible oxidized and hydroxylated structures and associated formation barriers...
October 17, 2016: Scientific Reports
Alexandra Pontefract, Gordon R Osinski, Charles S Cockell, Gordon Southam, Phil J A McCausland, Joseph Umoh, David W Holdsworth
Impact-generated lithologies have recently been identified as viable and important microbial habitats, especially within cold and arid regions such as the polar deserts on Earth. These unique habitats provide protection from environmental stressors, such as freeze-thaw events, desiccation, and UV radiation, and act to trap aerially deposited detritus within the fissures and pore spaces, providing necessary nutrients for endoliths. This study provides the first culture-independent analysis of the microbial community structure within impact-generated lithologies in a Mars analog environment, involving the analysis of 44,534 16S rRNA sequences from an assemblage of 21 rock samples that comprises three shock metamorphism categories...
October 2016: Astrobiology
Y Chen, Kevin K Lehmann, Y Peng, L M Pratt, J R White, S B Cadieux, B Sherwood Lollar, G Lacrampe-Couloume, T C Onstott
In this study, near-infrared continuous wave cavity ring-down spectroscopy was applied to the measurement of the δ(2)H of methane (CH4). The cavity ring-down spectrometer (CRDS) system consisted of multiple DFB laser diodes to optimize selection of spectral line pairs. By rapidly switching measurements between spectral line peaks and the baseline regions, the long-term instrumental drift was minimized, substantially increasing measurement precision. The CRDS system coupled with a cryogenic pre-concentrator measured the δ(2)H of terrestrial atmospheric CH4 from 3 standard liters of air with a precision of ±1...
October 2016: Astrobiology
J Manik Nava-Sedeño, Adrian Ortiz-Cervantes, Antígona Segura, Shawn D Domagal-Goldman
Lifeless planets with CO2 atmospheres produce CO by CO2 photolysis. On planets around M dwarfs, CO is a long-lived atmospheric compound, as long as UV emission due to the star's chromospheric activity lasts, and the sink of CO and O2 in seawater is small compared to its atmospheric production. Atmospheres containing reduced compounds, like CO, may undergo further energetic and chemical processing to give rise to organic compounds of potential importance for the origin of life. We calculated the yield of organic compounds from CO2-rich atmospheres of planets orbiting M dwarf stars, which were previously simulated by Domagal-Goldman et al...
October 4, 2016: Astrobiology
K Tennakone
Contact electrification of chloride-impregnated martian regolith particles due to eolian agitation and moisture condensation on coalesced oppositely charged grains may lead to spontaneous electrolysis that generates hypochlorite, chlorite, chlorate, and perchlorate with a concomitant reduction of water to hydrogen. This process is not curtailed even if moisture condenses as ice because chloride ionizes on the surface of ice. Limitations dictated by potentials needed for electrolysis and breakdown electric fields enable estimation of the required regolith grain size...
October 2016: Astrobiology
Wentao Ma
: Although biology has achieved great successes in recent years, we have not got a clear idea on "what is life?" Actually, as explained here, the main reason for this situation is that there are two completely distinct aspects for "life", which are usually talked about together. Indeed, in respect to these two aspects: Darwinian evolution and self-sustaining, we must split the concept of life correspondingly, for example, by defining "life form" and "living entity", separately. For life's implementation (related to the two aspects) in nature, three mechanisms are crucial: the replication of DNA/RNA-like polymers by residue-pairing, the sequence-dependent folding of RNA/protein-like polymers engendering special functions, and the assembly of phospholipid-like amphiphiles forming vesicles...
September 26, 2016: Biology Direct
Deniz Tuna, Andrzej L Sobolewski, Wolfgang Domcke
Carbohydrates are essential building blocks of life that assume a multitude of biological functions in all living organisms found on Earth. It was recently reported that ribose was identified in UV-irradiated interstellar ice analogs, which suggests that it can be found on comets and that it may have been transported to Earth via the impact of comets. Herein, we present computational results obtained with multiconfigurational ab initio quantum-chemical methods showing that various photochemical processes for radiationless deactivation are available for photoexcited ribose...
October 7, 2016: Journal of Physical Chemistry. B
Fabrizio Dirri, Ernesto Palomba, Andrea Longobardo, Emiliano Zampetti
Piezoelectric Crystal Microbalances (PCM's) are widely used to study the chemical processes involving volatile compounds in any environment, such as condensation process. Since PCM's are miniaturized sensor, they are very suitable for planetary in situ missions, where can be used to detect and to measure the mass amount of astrobiologically significant compounds, such as water and organics. This work focuses on the realization and testing of a new experimental setup, able to characterize volatiles which can be found in a planetary environment...
September 15, 2016: Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere
Gilbert V Levin, Patricia Ann Straat
The 1976 Viking Labeled Release (LR) experiment was positive for extant microbial life on the surface of Mars. Experiments on both Viking landers, 4000 miles apart, yielded similar, repeatable, positive responses. While the authors eventually concluded that the experiment detected martian life, this was and remains a highly controversial conclusion. Many believe that the martian environment is inimical to life and the LR responses were nonbiological, attributed to an as-yet-unidentified oxidant (or oxidants) in the martian soil...
October 2016: Astrobiology
Anupam K Misra, Tayro E Acosta-Maeda, Shiv K Sharma, Christopher P McKay, Patrick J Gasda, G Jeffrey Taylor, Paul G Lucey, Luke Flynn, M Nurul Abedin, Samuel M Clegg, Roger Wiens
UNLABELLED: We developed a prototype instrument called the Standoff Biofinder, which can quickly locate biological material in a 500 cm(2) area from a 2 m standoff distance with a detection time of 0.1 s. All biogenic materials give strong fluorescence signals when excited with UV and visible lasers. In addition, the luminescence decay time of biogenic compounds is much shorter (<100 ns) than the micro- to millisecond decay time of transition metal ions and rare-earth ions in minerals and rocks...
September 2016: Astrobiology
Heather C McCaig, Amanda Stockton, Candice Crilly, Shirley Chung, Isik Kanik, Ying Lin, Fang Zhong
UNLABELLED: The analysis of the organic compounds present in the martian regolith is essential for understanding the history and habitability of Mars, as well as studying the signs of possible extant or extinct life. To date, pyrolysis, the only technique that has been used to extract organic compounds from the martian regolith, has not enabled the detection of unaltered native martian organics. The elevated temperatures required for pyrolysis extraction can cause native martian organics to react with perchlorate salts in the regolith and possibly result in the chlorohydrocarbons that have been detected by in situ instruments...
September 2016: Astrobiology
Sean McMahon, John Parnell, Nigel J F Blamey
UNLABELLED: The oxidation of molecular hydrogen (H2) is thought to be a major source of metabolic energy for life in the deep subsurface on Earth, and it could likewise support any extant biosphere on Mars, where stable habitable environments are probably limited to the subsurface. Faulting and fracturing may stimulate the supply of H2 from several sources. We report the H2 content of fluids present in terrestrial rocks formed by brittle fracturing on fault planes (pseudotachylites and cataclasites), along with protolith control samples...
September 2016: Astrobiology
Raktim Roy, P Phani Shilpa, Sangram Bagh
UNLABELLED: Bacteria are important organisms for space missions due to their increased pathogenesis in microgravity that poses risks to the health of astronauts and for projected synthetic biology applications at the space station. We understand little about the effect, at the molecular systems level, of microgravity on bacteria, despite their significant incidence. In this study, we proposed a systems biology pipeline and performed an analysis on published gene expression data sets from multiple seminal studies on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium under spaceflight and simulated microgravity conditions...
September 2016: Astrobiology
E G Moczydlowski
This review glances at the voltage-gated sodium (Na(+)) channel (NaV) from the skewed perspective of natural history and the history of ideas. Beginning with the earliest natural philosophers, the objective of biological science and physiology was to understand the basis of life and discover its intimate secrets. The idea that the living state of matter differs from inanimate matter by an incorporeal spirit or mystical force was central to vitalism, a doctrine based on ancient beliefs that persisted until the last century...
2016: Current Topics in Membranes
Eva E Stüeken
UNLABELLED: Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for all life on Earth and possibly elsewhere. Burial of nitrogen bound to organic matter constitutes the major flux of nitrogen into sediments today, which has led to the inference that nitrogen enrichments in sedimentary rocks may be a biosignature. However, abiotic processes such as lightning or volcanism can fix atmospheric N2 and contribute to sedimentary nitrogen burial in the absence of life. It is therefore uncertain whether observed nitrogen enrichments of up to 430 ppm in Paleoarchean metasedimentary biotite grains are indeed biogenic...
September 2016: Astrobiology
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 2016: Astrobiology
Jay Nadeau, Chris Lindensmith, Jody W Deming, Vicente I Fernandez, Roman Stocker
Meaningful motion is an unambiguous biosignature, but because life in the Solar System is most likely to be microbial, the question is whether such motion may be detected effectively on the micrometer scale. Recent results on microbial motility in various Earth environments have provided insight into the physics and biology that determine whether and how microorganisms as small as bacteria and archaea swim, under which conditions, and at which speeds. These discoveries have not yet been reviewed in an astrobiological context...
October 2016: Astrobiology
Tereza Varnali
Scytonemin is a UV absorbing sheath pigment synthesized uniquely by cyanobacteria. Its biological features has attracted interest ecologically (in microbial mat systems), medically (for therapeutic activity) and astrobiologically (as a key biomarker). Recently, a carbon analogue of scytonemin, in which two nitrogen atoms are replaced by carbon atoms was synthesized to elucidate the origin of biological activity by comparison with scytonemin. In this work, their structural/conformational aspects and relative antioxidant capacity are compared making use of DFT calculations to provide insight about the similarities and differences between the two...
September 2016: Journal of Molecular Modeling
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