Home » Desi scientist’s work on ‘extreme’ life key to decoding existence on Mars | India News

Desi scientist’s work on ‘extreme’ life key to decoding existence on Mars | India News

by newsking24

NEW DELHI: For a decade, Dr Ram Karan has been on the lookout for the reply to 1 query — how does life survive, and thrive, in excessive situations? While he appeared for solutions on earth, the invention of liquid “water” our bodies (versus frozen) on Mars with precisely the type of excessive situations he analyses means his work may maintain the important thing to understanding extraterrestrial life.
Over the previous two years, there was a number of debate over the presence of “liquid water” on Mars. On September 28, a research in ‘Nature’ confirmed the presence of a subglacial lake on Mars first recognized in 2018 and detected three others round it. How did they keep liquid although? Salt, it appears, is the reply. The freezing level of salt water is way decrease, which means it needs to be colder for it to show into ice.
“The reason it’s still not frozen despite an average -60°C temperature is the high salt content,” mentioned Karan.
This is the place his work is available in. The 37-year-old enzymology analysis scientist on the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia has been learning extremophiles, microorganisms that thrive in inhospitable situations — no oxygen, sub-zero temperatures, salt content material that may kill most organisms — of the Red Sea, Antarctica and others.
“We found similar conditions in Deep Lake Antarctica. The most intriguing part was that despite high salt content, we extracted extremozymes (enzymes derived from extremophiles). This strengthens the possibility of existence of such enzymes, the building blocks of life, on Mars as well,” he mentioned.
In his paper revealed in ‘Microorganisms’ journal on Friday, Karan, who’s the lead writer, wrote, “Studies of extremophilic proteins may not only help to understand the early evolution of life on Earth, but also provide clues for how life could potentially survive on other planets.” A paper he co-authored in 2017, which documented the invention of an Antarctic microorganism within the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America’, had additionally mentioned, “The molecular basis for its survival is relevant to the search for life on Mars, as well as on the many newly discovered planets in our galaxy.”
In reality, the ‘Nature’ paper about buried lakes on Mars refers back to the icy lakes of East Antarctica: “Several previously undetected subglacial lakes have been found by applying some of the criteria originally used in East Antarctica.” So, the primary attainable software of Karan’s analysis could possibly be exploring the potential for life past Earth. “It is not only important for understanding survival under extreme terrestrial environments but may also enhance our understanding of the potential for life to exist beyond planet earth,” mentioned Dr Tune Usha from the National Center for Coastal Research, Union ministry of earth sciences.
Then, it may present the closest attainable match of Martian ecosystems. The subject of astrobiology, to a big extent, relies on that. “His research on enzymes from extremophiles will enhance our understanding of life throughout the universe. These studies give scientists a window into how life could have evolved and adapt to exist on Mars,” mentioned Thorsten Allers, professor of archaeal genetics on the University of Nottingham.
So, when Martian samples are analysed, Karan’s analysis may assist present a framework. “In the future, when we are able to examine Martian salt samples for signs of life, we will rely on such analyses of Earth life,” mentioned biologist Bonnie Okay Baxter, director of Salt Lake Institute, Westminster College.
Finally, it may maintain a clue to how life capabilities when it does survive. Terry McGenity, professor of environmental microbiology on the University of Essex, mentioned, “His analysis extends our understanding of how microbes operate in excessive environments on our planet and probably past Earth.”

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