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signs of Life possible on Mars ‘The Red Planet’ Planococcus haloctyophilus OR1


Bacterium ‘Planococcus haloctyophilus OR1’ bacterium from Earth unfolds the signs of Life possible on Mars ‘The Red Planet’

Bacterium from Canadian high Arctic has been found to survive on most downfallen (permafrost) temperatures easily. The frosting temperature on Ellesmere Island, Canadian high Arctic is closely similar to that of the surface of Mars. Hence, this special organism has shown new possibilities of Life on Mars as well as one of the moons of Saturn, Enceladus.

The surface temperature of Mars and Enceladus holds subzero conditions where life cannot be expected, however, this bacterium offered an ease in surviving in conditions similar to subzero conditions, i.e. temperature below -15ºC. The new founding had been made recently by McGill University and their scientists on a bacterium.

The team of researchers did screening of about two hundred different microbes to find the most able microorganisms that may survive in the lowest temperature conditions of the Arctic, and discovered a bacterium ‘Planococcus halocryophilus OR1’ from Ellesmere Island of the Canadian high Arctic.

The team leader, Professor Lyle Whyte from the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University said, “We believe that this bacterium lives in thin veins of very salty water found within the frozen permafrost on Ellesmere Island”. “The salt in the permafrost brine veins keeps the water from freezing at the ambient permafrost temperature, creating a habitable but very harsh environment. It is not the easiest place to survive, but this organism is capable of remaining active to at least -25ºC in permafrost.” says Lyle Whyte.

The researchers shared, this bacterium is capable of surviving in permafrost and harsh cold conditions, however, such microbes plays a big role in Global warming by releasing carbon dioxide from the melting permafrost.


To understand the factor how this Bacterium is capable to such cold conditions, the researchers studied its genome sequence and traits. After studying the molecular traits of the Bacterium, they found some modifications undergoing in its cell structure while adapting to such extremely cold temperature conditions. Also, its enveloping membranes change and provide protection from harsh cold conditions.

The P.halocryophilus bacterium tends to bring increase in the amounts of cold-adapted proteins to survive in permafrost. Prof. Whyte, who led the team of researchers with Nadia Mykytczuk said, “”I’m kind of proud of this bug. It comes from the Canadian High Arctic and is our cold temperature champion, but what we can learn from this microbe may tell us a lot about how similar microbial life may exist elsewhere in the solar system.”

The results of this research were shared to the common people some three months ago, to amaze everyone that at least an Earthian, however a bacterium, is capable of surviving on the uneasy and harsh subzero conditions of the Red Planet.

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