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Mutat Res. 2005 Apr 1;571(1-2):249-64. Epub 2005 Jan 21.

The solar UV environment and bacterial spore UV resistance: considerations for Earth-to-Mars transport by natural processes and human spaceflight.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, Mail Code UF-1, Building M6-1025/SLSL, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899, USA.


The environment in space and on planets such as Mars can be lethal to microorganisms because of the high vacuum and high solar radiation flux, in particular UV radiation, in such environments. Spores of various Bacillus species are among the organisms most resistant to the lethal effects of high vacuum and UV radiation, and as a consequence are of major concern for planetary contamination via unmanned spacecraft or even natural processes. This review focuses on the spores of various Bacillus species: (i) their mechanisms of UV resistance; (ii) their survival in unmanned spacecraft, space flight and simulated space flight and Martian conditions; (iii) the UV flux in space and on Mars; (iv) factors affecting spore survival in such high UV flux environments.

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