Jean-Pierre Paul de Vera

Jean-Pierre Paul de Vera
German Aerospace Center (DLR) | DLR · MUSC

PhD

About

249
Publications
96,303
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3,556
Citations
Additional affiliations
February 2009 - present
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Description
  • Topic Responsible and PI of ESA Space Experiment BIOMEX on EXPOSE-R2 / ISS
January 1995 - December 2008
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Position
  • Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf and DLR, INTA, Open University of Milton Keynes, University of Viterbo
Description
  • Astrobiology, research on resistance of lichens to space conditions. Co-I of "Lithopanspermia" on BIOPAN 6 / FOTON M3 and Co-I of space experiment LIFE on EXPOSE-EuTef / ISS

Publications

Publications (249)
Article
The spread of antibiotic resistance is becoming a serious global health concern. Numerous studies have been done to investigate the dynamics of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in both indoor and outdoor environments. Nonetheless, few studies are available about the dynamics of the antibiotic resistome (total content of ARGs in the microbial cult...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the increasing interest in using microbial-based technologies to support human space exploration, many unknowns remain not only on bioprocesses but also on microbial survivability and genetic stability under non-Earth conditions. Here the desert cyanobacterium Chroococcidiopsis sp. CCMEE 029 was investigated for robustness of the repair cap...
Article
Full-text available
The identification of traces of life beyond Earth (e.g., Mars, icy moons) is a challenging task because terrestrial chemical-based molecules may be destroyed by the harsh conditions experienced on extraterrestrial planetary surfaces. For this reason, studying the effects on biomolecules of extremophilic microorganisms through astrobiological ground...
Article
Full-text available
The Moon is characterised by extremely harsh conditions due to ultraviolet irradiation, wide temperature extremes, vacuum resulting from the absence of an atmosphere, and high ionising radiation. Therefore, its surface may provide a unique platform to investigate the effects of such conditions. For lunar exploration with the Lunar Gateway platform,...
Article
Full-text available
The Nostoc sp. strain CCCryo 231-06 is a cyanobacterial strain capable of surviving under extreme conditions and thus is of great interest for the astrobiology community. The knowledge of its complete genome sequence would serve as a guide for further studies. However, a major concern has been placed on the effects of contamination on the quality o...
Article
Full-text available
Cassini revealed that Saturn's Moon Enceladus hosts a subsurface ocean that meets the accepted criteria for habitability with bio-essential elements and compounds, liquid water, and energy sources available in the environment. Whether these conditions are sufficiently abundant and collocated to support life remains unknown and cannot be determined...
Article
Full-text available
Komagataeibacter is the dominant taxon and cellulose-producing bacteria in the Kombucha Microbial Community (KMC). This is the first study to isolate the K. oboediens genome from a reactivated space-exposed KMC sample and comprehensively characterize it. The space-exposed genome was compared with the Earth-based reference genome to understand the g...
Article
Organic molecules are prime targets in the search for life on other planetary bodies in the Solar System. Understanding their preservation potential and detectability after ionic irradiation, with fluences potentially representing those received for several millions to billions of years at Mars or in interplanetary space, is a crucial goal for astr...
Article
Organic molecules are prime targets in the search for life on other planetary bodies in the Solar System. Understanding their preservation potential and detectability after ionic irradiation, with fluences potentially representing those received for several millions to billions of years at Mars or in interplanetary space, is a crucial goal for astr...
Article
Full-text available
The success of an astrobiological search for life campaign on Mars, or other planetary bodies in the Solar System, relies on the detectability of past or present microbial life traces, namely, biosignatures. Spectroscopic methods require little or no sample preparation, can be repeated almost endlessly, and can be performed in contact or even remot...
Article
Mars is a primary target of astrobiological interest: its past environmental conditions may have been favourable to the emergence of a prebiotic chemistry and, potentially, biological activity. In situ exploration is currently underway at the Mars surface, and the subsurface (2 m depth) will be explored in the future ESA ExoMars mission. In this co...
Article
Full-text available
The discovery of life on other planets and moons in our solar system is one of the most important challenges of this era. The second ExoMars mission will look for traces of extant or extinct life on Mars. The instruments on board the rover will be able to reach samples with eventual biomarkers until 2 m of depth under the planet’s surface. This exp...
Article
Full-text available
Humankind has entered a new era of space exploration: settlements on other planetary bodies are foreseen in the near future. Advanced technologies are being developed to support the adaptation to extraterrestrial environments and, with a view on the longer term, to support the viability of an independent economy. Biological processes will likely pl...
Conference Paper
The search for life on Mars requires new tools and techniques. Among them, Raman spectroscopy is a powerful and non-destructive method for detecting biosignatures during missions to Mars such as NASA’s Perseverance and ESA/ROSCOSMOS’s Rosalind Franklin rovers. It is therefore important to study the detection possibilities of model biosignatures and...
Article
Full-text available
Kombucha is a traditional tea fermented by symbiotic microbiota, and it has been known as a functional fermented product. Here, we report four microbial metagenome-assembled genome sequences (MAGs) reconstructed from the microbiomes in kombucha exposed to a Mars-like environment outside the International Space Station.
Poster
Full-text available
Experiments in space and in simulated planetary conditions are needed to support and to prepare future planetary exploration missions to Mars, Enceladus, Europa and/or Titan. As part of several ESA space missions, samples of extremophile lichens have been exposed to extraterrestrial conditions, i.e. space-and Mars like parameters, during short (FOT...
Article
Full-text available
The plume of Enceladus is unique in the solar system in providing direct access to fresh material from an extraterrestrial subsurface ocean. The Cassini Mission, though not specifically designed for it, was able to take advantage of the plume to conduct the best characterization to date of an extraterrestrial ocean. Evidence gathered from multiple...
Article
Full-text available
Cellulose is a widespread macromolecule in terrestrial environments and a major architectural component of microbial biofilm. Therefore, cellulose might be considered a biosignature that indicates the presence of microbial life. We present, for the first time, characteristics of bacterial cellulose after long-term spaceflight and exposure to simule...
Article
The extremophile lichen Circinaria gyrosa (C. gyrosa) is one of the selected species within the BIOMEX (Biology and Mars Experiment) experiment. Here we present the Raman study of a biohint found in this lichen, called whewellite (calcium oxalate monohydrate), and other organic compounds and mineral products of the biological activity of the astrob...
Article
Full-text available
Die geologischen und geophysikalischen Arbeiten in den Polargebieten und Eisregionen der Hochgebirge bilden eine zentrale Komponente der Erforschung des Systems Erde im Spannungsfeld zwischen der Rekonstruktion des Klimawandels auf geologischen Zeitskalen, der Entdeckung und Evaluation von Ressourcen, bis hin zum Testfeld für zukünftige Raumfahrtfo...
Article
Full-text available
The existence of microbial activity hotspots in temperate regions of Earth is driven by soil heterogeneities, especially the temporal and spatial availability of nutrients. Here we investigate whether microbial activity hotspots also exist in lithic microhabitats in one of the most arid regions of the world, the Atacama Desert in Chile. While previ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
MEDA HS is the relative humidity sensor on the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover provided by theFinnish Meteorological Institute (FMI). The sensor is a part of Mars Environmental DynamicAnalyzer (MEDA), a suite of environmental sensors provided by Centro de Astrobiología in Madrid,Spain. MEDA HS, along with METEO-H in ExoMars 2022 surface platform, is a...
Article
Full-text available
Enceladus’s long-lived plume of ice grains and water vapor makes accessing oceanic material readily achievable from orbit (around Saturn or Enceladus) and from the moon’s surface. In preparation for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine 2023–2032 Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey, we investigated four architec...
Article
Full-text available
A primary science goal of astrobiology is to understand the biological potential of Solar System bodies. Looking beyond Earth, four planetary bodies, namely Mars, Europa, Titan and Enceladus, offer numerous opportunities to investigate the chemical evolution and origin of life. These bodies may have biochemistry similar to that of life on Earth (Da...
Article
The diversity and composition of Antarctic cryptoendolithic microbial communities in the Mars-analogue site of Helliwell Hills (Northern Victoria Land, Continental Antarctica) is investigated, for the first time, applying both culture-dependent and high-throughput sequencing approaches. The study includes all the domains of the tree of life: Eukary...
Article
Kombucha is a multispecies microbial ecosystem mainly composed by acetic acid bacteria and osmophilic acid‐tolerant yeasts, which is used to produce a probiotic drink. Furthermore, Kombucha Mutualistic Community (KMC) has been recently proposed to be used during long space missions as both a living functional fermented product to improve astronauts...
Article
The plume of Enceladus provides access to fresh material from a habitable, subsurface ocean. We summarize in this white paper the evidence for Enceladus’ ocean and its habitability, identify constraints and outstanding questions on the detectability of life within Enceladus, and recommend a return to Enceladus beginning in the coming decade.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Polygonal patterned ground is ubiquitous in the martian mid-latitudes and in the polar regions of Earth. The latitude dependence of martian patterned ground and its morphological similarity to terrestrial patterned ground suggests that thermal contraction cracking may have been the leading formation mechanism for those polygons. Due to a lack of gr...
Conference Paper
The goal of the mission is to enter a martian or lunar skylight in order to check for cave continuations and placement of a sensor suite. A camera will also be used in order to deliver visible light images for context. With a combination of the navigation suite and communication modules, the cave passages will also be surveyed in order to produce a...
Book
This volume on astrobiology of the Springer Briefs in Life Sciences book series addresses the three fundamental questions on origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe: how does life begin and evolve? Is there life beyond Earth and, if so, how can we detect it? What is the future of life on Earth and in the universe? The boo...
Chapter
The science case for Mars in Planetary Research is mainly driven by the following questions: (1) is Mars habitable? (2) Could we be able to detect extant and/or extinct life on Mars? (3) Do biomolecules exist to be relevant biosignatures to look for on Mars? (4) Is the interplanetary transfer of life between the Earth-Mars-System possible (Lithopan...
Chapter
This chapter will give a short overview on the first systematic analysis concept and first results on the resistance of biomolecules to space and Mars-like conditions realized on the exposure platform EXPOSE-R2 on the International Space Station (ISS). This platform in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) was chosen, because on ground even the best space and plan...
Article
Full-text available
The amount of nitrogen (N2) present in the atmosphere when life evolved on our planet is central for under-standing the production of prebiotic molecules and, hence, is a fundamental quantity to constrain. Estimates of atmospheric molecular nitrogen partial surface pressures during the Archean, however, widely vary in the literature. In this study,...
Article
Full-text available
Unraveling how long life can persist under extreme dryness and what kind of environmental extremes can be faced by dried microorganisms is relevant to understand Mars habitability and to search for life on planets with transient liquid water availability. Because trehalose and sucrose stabilize dried anhydrobiotes, an in silico survey of the genome...
Article
Full-text available
In this chapter, the key technologies and the instrumentation required for the subsurface exploration of ocean worlds are discussed. The focus is laid on Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus because they have the highest potential for such missions in the near future. The exploration of their oceans requires landing on the surface, pen...
Article
Full-text available
Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), produced by nonpathogenic Gram-negative bacteria, have potentially useful biotechnological applications in extraterrestrial extreme environments. However, their biological effects under the impact of various stressors have to be elucidated for safety reasons. In the spaceflight experiment, model biofilm kombucha micr...
Article
Full-text available
Carotenoids are promising targets in our quest to search for life on Mars due to their biogenic origin and easy detection by Raman spectroscopy, especially with a 532 nm excitation thanks to resonance effects. Ionizing radiations reaching the surface and subsurface of Mars are however detrimental for the long-term preservation of biomolecules. We s...
Article
Full-text available
As part of the Biology and Mars Experiment (BIOMEX; ILSRA 2009-0834), samples of the lichen Circinaria gyrosa were placed on the exposure platform EXPOSE-R2, on the International Space Station (ISS) and exposed to space and to a Mars-simulated environment for 18 months (2014-2016) to study: (1) resistance to space and Mars-like conditions and (2) b...
Article
As part of the Biology and Mars Experiment (BIOMEX; ILSRA 2009-0834), samples of the lichen Circinaria gyrosa were placed on the exposure platform EXPOSE-R2, on the International Space Station (ISS) and exposed to space and to a Mars-simulated environment for 18 months (2014–2016) to study: (1) resistance to space and Mars-like conditions and (2) b...
Article
Full-text available
The icy satellites of Jupiter and Saturn are perhaps the most promising places in the Solar System regarding habitability. However, the potential habitable environments are hidden underneath km-thick ice shells. The discovery of Enceladus’ plume by the Cassini mission has provided vital clues in our understanding of the processes occurring within t...
Thesis
Eco-physiological processes are expressing the interaction of organisms within an environmental context of their habitat and their degree of adaptation, level of resistance as well as the limits of life in a changing environment. The present study focuses on observations achieved by methods used in this scientific discipline of “Ecophysiology” and...
Conference Paper
One of the primary goals of the upcoming space missions is the search for signs of past or present life in rock deposit on Mars. This research mainly focuses on biosignatures that mostly include microbial fossils that could be preserved in the geological record also under high radiation levels. On Earth, there are limited environmental analogs (col...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has developed relative humidity measurement devices for past and future Mars lander missions: REMS-H for Curiosity, MEDA HS for Mars 2020 and METEO-H for ExoMars 2020. The sensors used in these devices are HUMICAP® capacitive thin-film polymer sensors by Vaisala Inc. New calibration measurements are performed...
Book
This volume on astrobiology of the Springer Briefs in Life Sciences book series addresses the three fundamental questions on origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe: how does life begin and evolve? Is there life beyond Earth and, if so, how can we detect it? What is the future of life on Earth and in the universe? The boo...
Article
Raman spectroscopy will be a powerful tool in the in situ search for Martian biosignatures within the ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars and NASA Mars 2020 missions. However, a Raman laser can alter the chemical nature of a sample. This prompted us to investigate the stability of potential biosignatures during Raman measurements. For our study, we selected the...
Article
By investigating the survival and the biomarker detectability of a rock-inhabiting cyanobacterium, Chroococcidiopsis sp. CCMEE 029, the BIOMEX space experiment might contribute to a future exploitation of the Moon as a test-bed for key astrobiology tasks such as the testing of life-detection technologies and the study of life in space. Post-flight...
Article
Full-text available
As part of the ESA space experiment BIOMEX (Biology and Mars Experiment) the lichen Buellia frigida has been exposed to space and simulated Mars analogue conditions on the expose facility EXPOSE-R2 placed outside the Russian Zvezda module on the International Space Station (ISS) for 1.5 years. Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique has...
Article
A kombucha multimicrobial culture (KMC) was exposed to simulated Mars-like conditions in low Earth orbit (LEO). The study was part of the BIOlogy and Mars EXperiment (BIOMEX), which was accommodated in the European Space Agency’s EXPOSE-R2 facility, outside the International Space Station. The aim of the study was to investigate the capability of a...
Article
The lichen Buellia frigida was exposed to space and simulated Mars analog conditions in the Biology and Mars Experiment (BIOMEX) project operated outside the International Space Station (ISS) for 1.5 years. To determine the effects of the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) conditions on the lichen symbionts, a LIVE/DEAD staining analysis test was performed. Aft...
Article
In the ESA space experiment BIOMEX (BIOlogy and Mars EXperiment), dried Chroococcidiopsis cells were exposed to Mars-like conditions during the EXPOSE-R2 mission on the International Space Station. The samples were exposed to UV radiation for 469 days and to a Mars-like atmosphere for 722 days, approaching the conditions that could be faced on the...
Article
Numerous preflight investigations were necessary prior to the exposure experiment BIOMEX on the International Space Station to test the basic potential of selected microorganisms to resist or even to be active under Mars-like conditions. In this study, methanogenic archaea, which are anaerobic chemolithotrophic microorganisms whose lifestyle would...
Article
Full-text available
BIOMEX (BIOlogy and Mars EXperiment) is an ESA/Roscosmos space exposure experiment housed within the exposure facility EXPOSE-R2 outside the Zvezda module on the International Space Station (ISS). The design of the multiuser facility supports—among others—the BIOMEX investigations into the stability and level of degradation of space-exposed biosign...
Article
As a part of the European Space Agency mission "EXPOSE-R2" on the International Space Station (ISS), the BIOMEX (Biology and Mars Experiment) experiment investigates the habitability of Mars and the limits of life. In preparation for the mission, experimental verification tests and scientific verification tests simulating different combinations of...
Chapter
The characterization and detection of biosignatures is a challenging task, but one that needs to be solved before instruments are used for life detection missions on other planets and moons. A complex logistical effort is needed to support such exploration missions and a significant amount of preparation and investigation is required to prevent and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Cryptoendolithic microbial communities, discovered in the extremely cold, hyper-arid McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica (Friedmann 1982), the most similar terrestrial environments to Mars surface (Wynn-Williams and Edwards 2000; Onofri et al., 2004), have been considered as a candidate in supporting the search of life in Mars exploration. In such ha...
Conference Paper
Genome sequencing of single microbial cells in low biomass settings such as in extreme conditions could lead to crucial findings in astrobiological pursuits. Typically, sequencing requires high biomass and averages over genomically heterogeneous populations, concealing the valuable information hidden within very few cells. Single cell whole genome...
Conference Paper
The next two rover missions to Mars, ESA/Roscosmos’s ExoMars2020 and NASA’s Mars2020, will carry for the first time Raman spectrometers potentially able to dectect traces of past or present life. To support and interpret future spectroscopic data correctly a better understanding of potential habitable environments and putative biosignatures, using...
Article
Full-text available
A kombucha multimicrobial culture (KMC) was exposed to simulated Mars-like conditions in low-Earth orbit (LEO). The study was part of the Biology and Mars Experiment (BIOMEX), which was accommodated in the European Space Agency's EXPOSE-R2 facility, outside the International Space Station. The aim of the study was to investigate the capability of a...
Article
The search for life beyond Earth involves investigation into the responses of model organisms to the deleterious effects of space. In the frame of the BIOlogy and Mars Experiment, as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) space mission EXPOSE-R2 in low Earth orbit (LEO), dried colonies of the Antarctic cryptoendolithic black fungus Cryomyces antar...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Patterned grounds represent widespread and yet puzzling landscape features on Mars and periglacial regions on Earth and are believed to form through the repetitive deformation of the ground. A better knowledge of their distribution, morphological variability, and processes of formation can give clues about past and recent climatic conditions, the c...