DETERMINATION OF PROKARYOTIC PERCENT SURVIVABILITY; EXAMINATION OF OXIDATIVE DAMAGE AS MECHANISM FOR VIABILITY OF MICROBIAL MAT TRANSITING MARS ANALOGOUS CONDITIONS
Survivability of prokaryotic bacteria in the sample was determined through Baclight which is a live/dead assay that allows for accurate cell counts of live and dead cells through fluorescent dyes. Oxidative damage was assessed by CellRox Green which allows for the measurement of oxidative stress by examining the fluorescence of the cell-permeable dye when cell contents are oxidized. These two tests performed in tandem and analyzed through fluorescence microscopy in conjunction with flow-cytometry allow for a study of microbial viability as well as the mechanism for microbial death. We propose that a coupled microbial mat system may have evolved advantageous holistic adaptations to compelling environmental stress. We expect to observe strong microbial viability comparing pre and post flight samples in both sediment and culture, this viability we believe will be a function of the symbiotic relationship evident in the coupled microbial system.