I admit I would never have thought of this one. Cannot get full paper, but this says enough.


Biofluorescent worlds: global biological fluorescence as a biosignature

O'Malley-James, Jack T.; Kaltenegger, L. (12/2018)

In this paper, we analyse a new possible biological surface feature for habitable worlds orbiting other stars: biofluorescence. High ultraviolet (UV) and blue radiation fluxes drive the strongest biofluorescence in terrestrial fluorescent pigments and proteins. F stars emit more blue and UV radiation than the Sun, while planets and exomoons orbiting such stars remain in the habitable zone for 2-4 Gyr; a time span that could allow a complex biosphere to develop. Therefore, we propose biofluorescence as a new surface biosignature for F star planets. We investigate how the extra emission from surface fluorescence could cause observable signals at specific wavelengths in the visible spectrum. Using the absorption and emission characteristics of common coral fluorescent pigments and proteins, we simulate the increased emission at specific visible wavelengths caused by strong fluorescence, accounting for the effects of different (non-fluorescent) surface features, atmospheric absorption and cloud cover. Our model shows that exoplanets with a fluorescent biosphere could have characteristic surface colours that allow the presence of surface life to be inferred from observations with upcoming telescopes.


Attempts to replicate Martian environments with Earthly micro-critters living in them.


Anaerobic microorganisms in astrobiological analogue environments: from field site to culture collection

Cockell, C. S., et al. (10/2018)

Astrobiology seeks to understand the limits of life and to determine the physiology of organisms in order to better assess the habitability of other worlds. To successfully achieve these goals we require microorganisms from environments on Earth that approximate to extraterrestrial environments in terms of physical and/or chemical conditions. The most challenging of these environments with respect to sample collection, isolation and cultivation of microorganisms are anoxic environments. In this paper, an approach to this challenge was implemented within the European Union's MASE (Mars Analogues for Space Exploration) project. In this review paper, we aim to provide a set of methods for future field work and sampling campaigns. A number of anoxic environment based on characteristics that make them analogous to past and present locations on Mars were selected. They included anoxic sulphur-rich springs (Germany), the salt-rich Boulby Mine (UK), a lake in a basaltic context (Iceland), acidic sediments in the Rio Tinto (Spain), glacier samples (Austria) and permafrost samples (Russia and Canada). Samples were collected under strict anoxic conditions to be used for cultivation and genomic community analysis. Using the samples, a culturing approach was implemented to enrich anaerobic organisms using a defined medium that would allow for organisms to be grown under identical conditions in future physiological comparisons. Anaerobic microorganisms were isolated and deposited with the DSMZ (Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH) culture collection to make them available to other scientists. In MASE, the selected organisms are studied with respect to survival and growth under Mars relevant stresses. They are artificially fossilized and the resulting biosignatures studied and used to investigate the efficacy of life detection instrumentation for planetary missions. Some of the organisms belong to genera with medical and environmental importance such as Yersinia spp., illustrating how astrobiology field research can be used to increase the availability of microbial isolates for applied terrestrial purposes.