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Life 2015, 5(3), 1472-1486; doi:10.3390/life5031472

The Physical, Chemical and Physiological Limits of Life

1
School of the Environment, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99163, USA
2
Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Technical University Berlin, Berlin 10623, Germany
3
Department of Physics, University of Leipzig, Linnéstraße 5, Leipzig 04103, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: John A. Baross and William Bains
Received: 14 February 2015 / Revised: 7 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Physico-Chemical Limits of Life)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [682 KB, uploaded 17 July 2015]

Abstract

Life on Earth displays an incredible diversity in form and function, which allows it to survive not only physical extremes, but also periods of time when it is exposed to non-habitable conditions. Extreme physiological adaptations to bridge non-habitable conditions include various dormant states, such as spores or tuns. Here, we advance the hypothesis that if the environmental conditions are different on some other planetary body, a deviating biochemistry would evolve with types of adaptations that would manifest themselves with different physical and chemical limits of life. In this paper, we discuss two specific examples: putative life on a Mars-type planet with a hydrogen peroxide-water solvent and putative life on a Titan-type planetary body with liquid hydrocarbons as a solvent. Both examples would have the result of extending the habitable envelope of life in the universe. View Full-Text
Keywords: physiology; extreme environments; adaptation; Mars; Titan physiology; extreme environments; adaptation; Mars; Titan
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Schulze-Makuch, D.; Schulze-Makuch, A.; Houtkooper, J.M. The Physical, Chemical and Physiological Limits of Life. Life 2015, 5, 1472-1486.

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