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The Ecology of Snow and Ice Environments$
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Johanna Laybourn-Parry, Martyn Tranter, and Andrew J. Hodson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583072.001.0001

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(p.121) Chapter 6 Astrobiology
The Ecology of Snow and Ice Environments

Johanna Laybourn-Parry

Tranter Martyn

Hodson Andrew J.

Oxford University Press

Organisms that live with ice are extremophiles, and are viewed as analogues for potential life on other planets and their moons in our solar system. Extraterrestrial cryospheric environments are found on Mars, Europa (a Jovian moon), and Enceladus and Titan (small and large Saturnian moons, respectively). This chapter describes their potential for supporting both water and life, along with the types of chemical reactions that might be exploited as energy sources, which include methanogenesis on Mars, Enceladus, and Titan; and oxidation of organic matter on Europa. Finally, the weaknesses of using terrestrial environments as analogues for those in the extraterrestrial cryosphere are discussed.

Keywords:   extraterrestrial life, extremophiles, Mars, Europa, Enceladus, Titan, water, ice, methane, methanogenesis

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