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Photosynthesizing bacteria might survive under cosmic radiation

Researchers from the M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University and other Russian scientific institutions together with colleagues from the Berlin Technical University have studied complexes of light-collecting photosynthesizing bacteria after their temporary stay at near-earth orbit on the satellite «Photon-M4». The scientists have shown that although ionizing irradiation has a negative impact of the functioning of these structures, phycobilisomes and the cell which contain them restore the activity after transportation from the cosmic space back to normal conditions.
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By the study’s results, the authors have supposed that cyanobacteria and similar ancient microorganisms could freely move between planets. The ionizing irradiation from the space suppressed their life activity, but this process was reversible. After entering new planets with favorable conditions, the Synechocystic-similar bacteria resumed photosynthesis and fission. By producing oxygen in the course of photosynthesis, these bacteria were capable of creating atmospheres suitable for the life of other organisms.

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