2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM

Identification of Microorganisms in Lunar and Mars Simulant Soils

NAVA, Josie1, WAQAR, Marium, PATEL, Dipal1, GARZA, Elizabeth, MENDEZ, Claudia, MORRIS, Penny1, ALLEN, Carl3 and GULATI, Poonam1, (1)Department of Natural Sciences, University of Houston-Downtown, One Main Street, Houston, TX 77002, (2)Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058, gulatip@uhd.edu

The purpose of this research project was to identify microorganisms present in lunar simulant soil. This simulant soil has a similarity in physical and chemical composition to that of lunar soil. The lunar simulant soil was acquired from volcanic ash in the San Francisco volcano field near Flagstaff, AZ. Great measures were taken in order to avoid contamination. The soil samples were collected from 40 cm below the surface. DNA from the simulant soil was isolated using a Megaprep DNA Isolation Kit and the DNA for the 16s rRNA was amplified by PCR. The 1500 base pair sequence was cloned and transformed into E. coli cells, and sequencing needs to be completed. We have successfully carried out this analysis with Mars simulant soil. Additionally, we will also use this DNA to conduct DGGE analysis. It is important to obtain as much data as possible using simulant soils as they will aid in sample collection and analyses on future missions into outer space.