Caister Academic Press

CIMB Abstract

Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. (2020) 38: 123-162.
https://doi.org/10.21775/cimb.038.123

Exploring Deep-Sea Brines as Potential Terrestrial Analogues of Oceans in the Icy Moons of the Outer Solar System

André Antunes, Karen Olsson-Francis and Terry J. McGenity

Several icy moons of the outer solar system have been receiving considerable attention and are currently seen as major targets for astrobiological research and the search for life beyond our planet. Despite the limited amount of data on the oceans of these moon, we expect them to be composed of brines with variable chemistry, some degree of hydrothermal input, and be under high pressure conditions. The combination of these different conditions significantly limits the number of extreme locations, which can be used as terrestrial analogues. Here we propose the use of deep-sea brines as potential terrestrial analogues to the oceans in the outer solar system. We provide an overview of what is currently known about the conditions on the icy moons of the outer solar system and their oceans as well as on deep-sea brines of the Red Sea and the Mediterranean and their microbiology. We also identify several threads of future research, which would be particularly useful in the context of future exploration of these extra-terrestrial oceans.

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