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Canadian Space Agency

Bacterium from Canadian High Arctic and life on Mars

Permafrost microbe discovered growing at –15°C, the coldest temperature ever reported for bacterial growth
Wed, 2013-05-22 12:16

The temperature in the permafrost on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian high Arctic is nearly as cold as that of the surface of Mars. So the recent discovery by a McGill University led team of scientists of a bacterium that is able to thrive at –15ºC, the coldest temperature ever reported for bacterial growth, is exciting.  The bacterium offers clues about some of the necessary preconditions for microbial life on both the Saturn moon Enceladus and Mars, where similar briny subzero conditions are thought to exist.

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