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Experiment limits of the living

The limits of habitability can be experimentally explored by studying extremophile microorganisms. Such organisms (bacteria and archaea) populate the globe in particular environmental niches— including hot springs or close to deep-sea hydrothermal vents, in saline ponds and salt lakes like the Dead Sea, in highly alkaline or acidic pools and even inside hot rocks deep under Earth's surface. The study of extremophiles addresses questions of life adaptation at different levels in biology. Setting environmental limits will be highly relevant to the search of extra-terrestrial life forms based on similar molecular chemistry as on Earth, and to define the range of planetary habitability.

We will address these questions for several environments corresponding to Solar System objects (ice moon of Jupiter and Saturne, Mars, ...) through experiments on model enzymes, RNA and extremophilic cells arising from the most extreme earth biota.

Submitted on January 25, 2024

Updated on January 25, 2024