WorldWideScience

Sample records for exobiology

  1. Exobiology of icy satellites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simakov, M. B.

    At the beginning of 2004 the total number of discovered planets near other stars was 119 All of them are massive giants and met practically in all orbits In a habitable zone from 0 8 up to 1 1 AU at less 11 planets has been found starting with HD 134987 and up to HD 4203 It would be naive to suppose existence of life in unique known to us amino-nucleic acid form on the gas-liquid giant planets Nevertheless conditions for onset and evolutions of life can be realized on hypothetical satellites extrasolar planets All giant planets of the Solar system have a big number of satellites 61 of Jupiter 52 of Saturn known in 2003 A small part of them consist very large bodies quite comparable to planets of terrestrial type but including very significant share of water ice Some from them have an atmosphere E g the mass of a column of the Titan s atmosphere exceeds 15 times the mass of the Earth atmosphere column Formation or capture of satellites is a natural phenomenon and satellite systems definitely should exist at extrasolar planets A hypothetical satellite of the planet HD 28185 with a dense enough atmosphere and hydrosphere could have biosphere of terrestrial type within the limits of our notion about an origin of terrestrial biosphere As an example we can see on Titan the largest satellite of Saturn which has a dense nitrogen atmosphere and a large quantity of liquid water under ice cover and so has a great exobiological significance The most recent models of the Titan s interior lead to the conclusion that a substantial liquid layer

  2. Comets: Role and importance to exobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delsemme, Armand H.

    1992-01-01

    The transfer of organic compounds from interstellar space to the outskirts of a protoplanetary disk, their accretion into cometary objects, and the transport of the latter into the inner solar system by orbital diffusion throw a new light on the central problem of exobiology. It suggests the existence of a cosmic mechanism, working everywhere, that can supply prebiotic compounds to ubiquitous rocky planets, in search of the proper environment to start life in many places in the Universe. Under the heading of chemistry of the cometary nucleus, the following topics are covered: radial homogeneity of the nucleus; the dust-to-ice ratio; nature of the dust grains; origin of the dust in comets; nature of the volatile fraction; the CO distribution in comet Halley; dust contribution to the volatile fraction; elemental balance sheet of comet Halley; quantitative molecular analysis of the volatile fraction; and isotopic ratios. Under the heading of exogenous origin of carbon on terrestrial planets the following topics are covered: evidence for a high-temperature phase; from planetesimals to planets; a veneer of volatile and organic material; and cometary contribution.

  3. European activities in space radiation biology and exobiology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Horneck, G.

    1996-01-01

    In view of the space station era, the European Space Agency has initiated a review and planning document for space life sciences. Radiation biology includes dosimetry of the radiation field and its modification by mass shielding, studies on the biological responses to radiation in space, on the potential impact of space flight environment on radiation effects, and assessing the radiation risks and establishing radiation protection guidelines. To reach a better understanding of the processes leading to the origin, evolution and distribution of life, exobiological activities include the exploration of the solar system, the collection and analysis of extraterrestrial samples and the utilization of space as a tool for testing the impact of space environment on organics and resistant life forms. (author)

  4. Siliceous Shrubs in Yellowstone's Hot Springs: Implications for Exobiological Investigations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guidry, S. A.; Chafetz, H. S.

    2003-01-01

    Potential relict hot springs have been identified on Mars and, using the Earth as an analog, Martian hot springs are postulated to be an optimal locality for recognizing preserved evidence of extraterrestrial life. Distinctive organic and inorganic biomarkers are necessary to recognize preserved evidence of life in terrestrial and extraterrestrial hot spring accumulations. Hot springs in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, U.S.A., contain a wealth of information about primitive microbial life and associated biosignatures that may be useful for future exobiological investigations. Numerous siliceous hot springs in Yellowstone contain abundant, centimeter-scale, spinose precipitates of opaline silica (opal-A). Although areally extensive in siliceous hot spring discharge channel facies, these spinose forms have largely escaped attention. These precipitates referred to as shrubs, consist of porous aggregates of spinose opaline silica that superficially resemble miniature woody plants, i.e., the term shrubs. Shrubs in carbonate precipitating systems have received considerable attention, and represent naturally occurring biotically induced precipitates. As such, shrubs have great potential as hot spring environmental indicators and, more importantly, proxies for pre-existing microbial life.

  5. ABOUT EXOBIOLOGY: THE CASE FOR DWARF K STARS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cuntz, M. [Department of Physics, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019 (United States); Guinan, E. F., E-mail: cuntz@uta.edu, E-mail: edward.guinan@villanova.edu [Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Science, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085 (United States)

    2016-08-10

    One of the most fundamental topics of exobiology concerns the identification of stars with environments consistent with life. Although it is believed that most types of main-sequence stars might be able to support life, particularly extremophiles, special requirements appear to be necessary for the development and sustainability of advanced life forms. From our study, orange main-sequence stars, ranging from spectral type late-G to mid-K (with a maximum at early K), are most promising. Our analysis considers a variety of aspects, including (1) the frequency of the various types of stars, (2) the speed of stellar evolution in their lifetimes, (3) the size of the stellar climatological habitable zones (CLI-HZs), (4) the strengths and persistence of their magnetic-dynamo-generated X-ray–UV emissions, and (5) the frequency and severity of flares, including superflares; both (4) and (5) greatly reduce the suitability of red dwarfs to host life-bearing planets. The various phenomena show pronounced dependencies on the stellar key parameters such as effective temperature and mass, permitting the assessment of the astrobiological significance of various types of stars. Thus, we developed a “Habitable-Planetary-Real-Estate Parameter” (HabPREP) that provides a measure for stars that are most suitable for planets with life. Early K stars are found to have the highest HabPREP values, indicating that they may be “Goldilocks” stars for life-hosting planets. Red dwarfs are numerous, with long lifetimes, but their narrow CLI-HZs and hazards from magnetic activity make them less suitable for hosting exolife. Moreover, we provide X-ray–far-UV irradiances for G0 V–M5 V stars over a wide range of ages.

  6. ABOUT EXOBIOLOGY: THE CASE FOR DWARF K STARS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cuntz, M.; Guinan, E. F.

    2016-01-01

    One of the most fundamental topics of exobiology concerns the identification of stars with environments consistent with life. Although it is believed that most types of main-sequence stars might be able to support life, particularly extremophiles, special requirements appear to be necessary for the development and sustainability of advanced life forms. From our study, orange main-sequence stars, ranging from spectral type late-G to mid-K (with a maximum at early K), are most promising. Our analysis considers a variety of aspects, including (1) the frequency of the various types of stars, (2) the speed of stellar evolution in their lifetimes, (3) the size of the stellar climatological habitable zones (CLI-HZs), (4) the strengths and persistence of their magnetic-dynamo-generated X-ray–UV emissions, and (5) the frequency and severity of flares, including superflares; both (4) and (5) greatly reduce the suitability of red dwarfs to host life-bearing planets. The various phenomena show pronounced dependencies on the stellar key parameters such as effective temperature and mass, permitting the assessment of the astrobiological significance of various types of stars. Thus, we developed a “Habitable-Planetary-Real-Estate Parameter” (HabPREP) that provides a measure for stars that are most suitable for planets with life. Early K stars are found to have the highest HabPREP values, indicating that they may be “Goldilocks” stars for life-hosting planets. Red dwarfs are numerous, with long lifetimes, but their narrow CLI-HZs and hazards from magnetic activity make them less suitable for hosting exolife. Moreover, we provide X-ray–far-UV irradiances for G0 V–M5 V stars over a wide range of ages.

  7. Present-day biogeochemical activities of anaerobic bacteria and their relevance to future exobiological investigations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oremland, R.S.

    1989-01-01

    If the primordial atmosphere was reducing, then the first microbial ecosystem was probably composed of anaerobic bacteria. However, despite the presence of an oxygen-rich atmosphere, anaerobic habitats are important, commonplace components of the Earth's present biosphere. The geochemical activities displayed by these anaerobes impact the global cycling of certain elements (e.g., C, N, S, Fe, Mn, etc.). Methane provides an obvious example of how human-enhanced activities on a global scale can influence the content of a "radiative" (i.e., infrared absorbing) trace gas in the atmosphere. Methane can be oxidized by anaerobic bacteria, but this does not appear to support their growth. Acetylene, however, does support such growth. This may form the basis for future exobiological investigations of the atmospheres of anoxic, hydrocarbon-rich planets like Jupiter and Saturn, as well as the latter's satellite Titan. ?? 1989.

  8. An Integrated XRF/XRD Instrument for Mars Exobiology and Geology Experiments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koppel, L. N.; Franco, E. D.; Kerner, J. A.; Fonda, M. L.; Schwartz, D. E.; Marshall, J. R.

    1993-01-01

    By employing an integrated x-ray instrument on a future Mars mission, data obtained will greatly augment those returned by Viking; details characterizing the past and present environment on Mars and those relevant to the possibility of the origin and evolution of life will be acquired. A combined x-ray fluorescence/x-ray diffraction (XRF/XRD) instrument was breadboarded and demonstrated to accommodate important exobiology and geology experiment objectives outlined for MESUR and future Mars missions. Among others, primary objectives for the exploration of Mars include the intense study of local areas on Mars to establish the chemical, mineralogical, and petrological character of different components of the surface material; to determine the distribution, abundance, and sources and sinks of volatile materials, including an assessment of the biologic potential, now and during past epoches; and to establish the global chemical and physical characteristics of the Martian surface. The XRF/XRD breadboard instrument identifies and quantifies soil surface elemental, mineralogical, and petrological characteristics and acquires data necessary to address questions on volatile abundance and distribution. Additionally, the breadboard is able to characterize the biogenic element constituents of soil samples providing information on the biologic potential of the Mars environment. Preliminary breadboard experiments confirmed the fundamental instrument design approach and measurement performance.

  9. Design of a sample acquistion system for the Mars exobiological penetrator

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomson, Ron; Gwynne, Owen

    1988-01-01

    The Mars Exobiological Penetrator will be imbedded into several locations on the Martian surface. It contains various scientific instruments, such as an Alpha-Particle Instrument (API), Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC), Evolved Gas Analyzer (EGA) and accelerometers. A sample is required for analysis in the API and DSC. To avoid impact contaminated material, this sample must be taken from soil greater than 2 cm away from the penetrator shell. This study examines the design of a dedicated sampling system including deployment, suspension, fore/after body coupling, sample gathering and placement. To prevent subsurface material from entering the penetrator sampling compartment during impact, a plug is placed in the exit hole of the wall. A U-lever device is used to hold this plug in the penetrator wall. The U-lever rotates upon initial motion of the core-grinder mechanism (CGM), releasing the plug. Research points to a combination of coring and grinding as a plausible solution to the problem of dry drilling. The CGM, driven by two compressed springs, will be deployed along a tracking system. A slowly varying load i.e., springs, is favored over a fixed displacement motion because of its adaptability to different material hardness. However, to accommodate sampling in a low density soil, two dash pots set a maximum transverse velocity. In addition, minimal power use is achieved by unidirectional motion of the CGM. The sample will be transported to the scientific instruments by means of a sample placement tray that is driven by a compressed spring to avoid unnecessary power usage. This paper also explores possible modifications for size, weight, and time as well as possible future studies.

  10. Exobiological implications of dust aggregation in planetary atmospheres: An experiment for the gas-grain simulation facility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huntington, J. L.; Schwartz, D. E.; Marshall, J. R.

    1991-01-01

    The Gas-Grain Simulation Facility (GGSF) will provide a microgravity environment where undesirable environmental effects are reduced, and thus, experiments involving interactions between small particles and grains can be more suitably performed. Slated for flight aboard the Shuttle in 1992, the ESA glovebox will serve as a scientific and technological testbed for GGSF exobiology experiments as well as generating some basic scientific data. Initial glovebox experiments will test a method of generating a stable, mono-dispersed cloud of fine particles using a vibrating sprinkler system. In the absence of gravity and atmospheric turbulence, it will be possible to determine the influence of interparticle forces in controlling the rate and mode of aggregation. The experimental chamber can be purged of suspended matter to enable multiple repetitions of the experiments. Of particular interest will be the number of particles per unit volume of the chamber, because it is suspected that aggregation will occur extremely rapidly if the number exceeds a critical value. All aggregation events will be recorded on high-resolution video film. Changes in the experimental procedure as a result of surprise events will be accompanied by real-time interaction with the mission specialist during the Shuttle flight.

  11. Methanosarcina acetivorans 16S rRNA and transcription factor nucleotide fluctuation with implications in exobiology and pathology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holden, Todd; Tremberger, G., Jr.; Cheung, E.; Subramaniam, R.; Sullivan, R.; Schneider, P.; Flamholz, A.; Marchese, P.; Hiciano, O.; Yao, H.; Lieberman, D.; Cheung, T.

    2008-08-01

    Cultures of the methane-producing archaea Methanosarcina, have recently been isolated from Alaskan sediments. It has been proposed that methanogens are strong candidates for exobiological life in extreme conditions. The spatial environmental gradients, such as those associated with the polygons on Mars' surface, could have been produced by past methanogenesis activity. The 16S rRNA gene has been used routinely to classify phenotypes. Using the fractal dimension of nucleotide fluctuation, a comparative study of the 16S rRNA nucleotide fluctuation in Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A, Deinococcus radiodurans, and E. coli was conducted. The results suggest that Methanosarcina acetivorans has the lowest fractal dimension, consistent with its ancestral position in evolution. Variation in fluctuation complexity was also detected in the transcription factors. The transcription factor B (TFB) was found to have a higher fractal dimension as compared to transcription factor E (TFE), consistent with the fact that a single TFB in Methanosarcina acetivorans can code three different TATA box proteins. The average nucleotide pair-wise free energy of the DNA repair genes was found to be highest for Methanosarcina acetivorans, suggesting a relatively weak bonding, which is consistent with its low prevalence in pathology. Multitasking capacity comparison of type-I and type-II topoisomerases has been shown to correlate with fractal dimension using the methicillin-resistant strain MRSA 252. The analysis suggests that gene adaptation in a changing chemical environment can be measured in terms of bioinformatics. Given that the radiation resistant Deinococcus radiodurans is a strong candidate for an extraterrestrial origin and that the cold temperature Psychrobacter cryohalolentis K5 can function in Siberian permafrost, the fractal dimension comparison in this study suggests that a chemical resistant methanogen could exist in extremely cold conditions (such as that which existed on early

  12. Exobiology and life science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mckay, C. P.

    1987-01-01

    The following types of experiments for a proposed Space Station Microgravity Particle Research Facility are described: (1) biogenic elements in the interstellar medium; (2) organic material in the solar nebula; (3) volatiles in comets and icy planetesimals; (4) pre-biotic atmospheric chemistry; (5) analysis of cosmic dust particles; and (6) microbial exposure. The required capabilities and desired hardware for the facility are detailed.

  13. Survival of microorganisms in smectite clays - Implications for Martian exobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moll, Deborah M.; Vestal, J. R.

    1992-01-01

    The survival of Baccillus subtilis, Azotobacter chroococcum, and the enteric bacteriophage MS2 has been examined in clays representing terrestrial (Wyoming type montmorillonite) and Martian (Fe3+ montmorillonite) soils exposed to terrestrial and Martian environmental conditions of temperature and atmospheric composition and pressure. An important finding is that MS2 survived simulated Mars conditions better than the terrestrial environment, probably owing to stabilization of the virus caused by the cold and dry conditions of the simulated Mars environment. This finding, the first published indication that viruses may be able to survive in Mars-type soils, may have important implications for future missions to Mars.

  14. Survival of microorganisms in smectite clays: Implications for Martian exobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moll, Deborah M.; Vestal, J. Robie

    1992-08-01

    Manned exploration of Mars may result in the contamination of that planet with terrestrial microbes, a situation requiring assessment of the survival potential of possible contaminating organisms. In this study, the survival of Bacillus subtilis, Azotobacter chroococcum, and the enteric bacteriophage MS2 was examined in clays representing terrestrial (Wyoming type montmorillonite) or Martian (Fe 3+-montmorillonite) soils exposed to terrestrial and Martian environmental conditions of temperature and atmospheric pressure and composition, but not to UV flux or oxidizing conditions. Survival of bacteria was determined by standard plate counts and biochemical and physiological measurements over 112 days. Extractable lipid phosphate was used to measure microbial biomass, and the rate of 14C-acetate incorporation into microbial lipids was used to determine physiological activity. MS2 survival was assayed by plaque counts. Both bacterial types survived terrestrial or Martian conditions in Wyoming montmorillonite better than Martian conditions in Fe 3+-montmorillonite. Decreased survival may have been caused by the lower pH of the Fe 3+-montmorillonite compared to Wyoming montmorillonite. MS2 survived simulated Mars conditions better than the terrestrial environment, likely due to stabilization of the virus caused by the cold and dry conditions of the simulated Martian environment. The survival of MS2 in the simulated Martian environment is the first published indication that viruses may be able to survive in Martian type soils. This work may have implications for planetary protection for future Mars missions.

  15. Soil developments in polar deserts: Implications for exobiology and future Mars missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibson, Everett K., Jr.

    1989-01-01

    Chemical alterations, weathering, and diagenesis of soil profiles from the dry valleys of Antarctica were studied as analogs of regolith development for the Martian regolith. Chemical weathering processes play an important part in soil development within the dry valleys of Antarctica. A suite of core samples were studied which were taken within the valley floors in addition to samples taken in the vicinity of evaporite and brine ponds. Analysis of water soluable cations and anions from core samples were performed along with petrographic analysis of selected samples. It was shown that ionic transport processes operate primarily above the permafrost zone. Abundances of the water soluable ions reflect the nature of secondary minerals produced by evaporation and weathering. Chloride, calcium, and sodium abundances for soils from the cores within the North and South Forks of Wright Valley, reflect the secondary mineralogy of the soil columns. Calculations for Na, Ca, and Cl abundances reflect the appearance of halite and antarcticite. In areas where excess Ca is present, X-ray diffraction studies show the presence of gypsum. It is well known that the Martian surface conditions may be favorable for chemical weathering. Primary silicates would be expected to be reactive with any ground water. It seems likely that Martian subsurface water is available to assist in the weathering of the primary minerals. Such weathering could result in the formation of clays, sulfates, carbonates, hydrates, halides, and zeolites. The dry valley cores have shown that they maybe excellent analogs to weathering processes on the near-surface of Mars. Since movement of water within the near-surface region clearly results in chemical weathering, leaching, and salt formation in the dry valleys, similar processes are probably operating within the Martian regolith.

  16. Deep Basalt Aquifers in Orcus Patera, Elysium Basin Mars: Perspectives for Exobiology Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grin, E. A.; Cabrol, N. A.

    1998-01-01

    Direct indicators of shorelines, spillways, and terraces allowed to determine the extent of the Elysium Paleolake between the contour-lines 1000 and 500 m below the Martian datum. The Elysium Paleolake is bordered north by Orcus Patera (14N/181W), which lies west of the Tartarus Montes and Tartarus Colles. The Orcus Patera displays an ellipse-shaped collapsed caldera of 360-km long and 100-km wide. Viking topographic data show that the bottom of the caldera is located at 2500 below the Martian datum, and surrounded by a steep-walled ram art which crest is located at about 0 m elevation. Considering the localization of Orcus Patera in the Elysium paleolake, its altimetry, and the magmatic origin of this caldera, we propose the existence of a paleolake in Orcus Patera generated (a) by juvenile water from magma during the Noachian period, and (b) by intermittent influx of the Elysium Basin from Hesperian to Amazonian. Results are encouraging to consider this site as a potential high-energy source environment for microbial communities. are circumscribed by a 50-km wide lava field mapped as Noachian material. The structure of Orcus Patera represents the record of material erupted from a magmatic reservoir. The caldera is enclosed by steep inner walls (25% measured from topographic data), values which could be in agreement with the presence of a deep magmatic reservoir, as suggested by the typology of Crumpler et.al. The depth of the caldera might be due to the collapse of the magma reservoir, and the release of gases accompanying the magma thermal evolution. Origins of water for the paleolake(s): The water that generated a paleolake in Orcus Patera may have come from two origins: (1) Juvenile water: Plescia and Crips estimated a magma H20 content by weight between 0.5% and 1.5% using for the first value a comparison with terrestrial basalt, and for the second values from a Martian meteorite. The amount of H20 can be estimated by the volume of erupted lava, and the lava content of the caldera. In this study, we adopt a water content of 1%. The total volume of magma that has been contained in the caldera, and the volume of lava contained in the observed lava field is about 110 x 10(exp 6) cubic km, that gives a total volume of 1.10 x 10(exp 6) cubic km of water. The juvenile water expelled by the overpressure within the magma chamber charged with desolved water-vapor may have moved into the crust. The decrease in overburden pressure led to bubble formation. The ascent of these bubbles generated a pressurization of the magma, which was sufficient to fracture the overlaying magma layer, (2) Water from Elysium paleolake. During the Amazonian, the rise of the Elysium paleolake level generated an overspilling that supplied the caldera with water. The southern portion of the crest shows a deep gap 12-km wide at -1500 m elevation, locating the gap between 500 to 1000 in below the assumed water of Elysium paleolake, thus facilitating the influx of Elysium paleolake water into Orcus Patera. Bathymetric calculations give a floor area of 25,500 sq km at -2000 m elevation, and a water volume of 42,000 cubic km, with a lake-level at -1500 m. A substantial amount of water may have percolated through the fractured lava, and part of the volume may have overspilled the northern crest of Orcus Patera to debouch in the Tartarus Montes region. We envision the formation of a subsurface aqueous environment in basaltic rocks at the contact of the two water-source origins, possibly the percolating surface lake water, and more likely the juvenile water. Similarly to terrestrial calderas, Orcus Patera might be surrounded by ring-fractures caused by the collapse of the magma chamber that followed the release of gases. These ring-fractures may have been covered later by sedimentation in the caldera (lacustrine, aeolian, and volcanic), and by mass wasting. The detumescence of the magma in the caldera, and the vesiculation of the juvenile water may have operated simultaneously. Comparatively to terrestrial melts, Martian iron-rich melts are denser. This greater density implies greater effusion rates (eight-times terrestrial values), and larger fissuration widths (two-times terrestrial ones). With increasing vesiculation of magma, the bubbles interact with one-another because there are of similar pressure. They make a magma froth at the contact with the caldera surface, and on the walls of the fractures. In the saturated magma, froth, where the volume ratio of gases-to-liquid is about 4:1, the bubbles form a huge surface area of interconnected spaces. Bubbles near the caldera surface disrupt the magma, and fragmentation takes place, which moves downward through the magma column. On Earth, the bubbles are likely to grow between 1 and 50 mm in diameter due to the difference between the magma surface tension, and the bubble supersaturation pressure. The Martian low-pressure at surface level is likely to accelerate the expansion of the bubbles, and increase their final diameter and number, creating more voids in the magma. The strong magma froth with enclosed juvenile water bubbles interconnected with exsolved gas bubbles constitute a potential geothermal environment for geochemical energy production from basalt and water that does not require excessive temperatures. This process can start at +20C. Similar types of environments have been shown on Earth as potential energy sources for microbial metabolism, and could have provided deep aqueous basaltic niches for possible Martian microorganisms, even geologically recently. During the Amazonian, combination of volcanism and water activity still existed on Mars. Moreover, this type of potential niches open ways for investigation of possible oases of extinct or extant life, not only on paleolakes, and surface hydrothermalism spring areas, but also all large systems of fossae, which combine hydrologic and volcanic activities, and which provide an energy source, and an underground shelter to prevent surface UV bombardment. Additional information contained in the original.

  17. Early Evolution of Earth's Geochemical Cycle and Biosphere: Implications for Mars Exobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    DesMarais, David J.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1997-01-01

    Carbon (C) has played multiple key roles for life and its environment. C has formed organics, greenhouse gases, aquatic pH buffers, redox buffers, and magmatic constituents affecting plutonism and volcanism. These roles interacted across a network of reservoirs and processes known as the biogeochemical C cycle. Changes in the cycle over geologic time were driven by increasing solar luminosity, declining planetary heat flow, and continental and biological evolution. The early Archean C cycle was dominated by hydrothermal alteration of crustal rocks and by thermal emanations of CO2 and reduced species (eg., H2, Fe(2+) and sulfides). Bioorganic synthesis was achieved by nonphotosynthetic CO2-fixing bacteria (chemoautotrophs) and, possibly, bacteria (organotrophs) utilizing any available nonbiological organic C. Responding both to abundant solar energy and to a longterm decline in thermal sources of chemical energy and reducing power, the blaspheme first developed anoxygenic photosynthesis, then, ultimately, oxygenic photosynthesis. O2-photosynthesis played a central role in transforming the ancient environment and blaspheme to the modem world. The geochemical C cycles of early Earth and Mars were quite similar. The principal differences between the modem C cycles of these planets arose during the later evolution of their heat flows, crusts, atmospheres and, perhaps, their blasphemes.

  18. Using portable Raman spectrometers for the identification of organic compounds at low temperatures and high altitudes: exobiological applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jehlicka, J; Edwards, H G M; Culka, A

    2010-07-13

    Organic minerals, organic acids and NH-containing organic molecules represent important target molecules for astrobiology. Here, we present the results of the evaluation of a portable hand-held Raman spectrometer to detect these organic compounds outdoors under field conditions. These measurements were carried out during the February-March 2009 winter period in Austrian Alpine sites at temperatures ranging between -5 and -25 degrees C. The compounds investigated were detected under field conditions and their main Raman spectral features were observed unambiguously at their correct reference wavenumber positions. The results obtained demonstrate that a miniaturized Raman spectrometer equipped with 785 nm excitation could be applied with advantage as a key instrument for investigating the presence of organic minerals, organic acids and nitrogen-containing organic compounds outdoors under terrestrial low-temperature conditions. Within the payload designed by ESA and NASA for several missions focusing on Mars, Titan, Europa and other extraterrestrial bodies, Raman spectroscopy can be proposed as an important non-destructive analytical tool for the in situ identification of organic compounds relevant to life detection on planetary and moon surfaces or near subsurfaces.

  19. Ma'adim Vallis Estuarine Delta in Elysium Basin and Its Relevance as a Landing Site for Exobiology Exploration on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grin, E. A.; Cabrol, N. A.

    1998-01-01

    The debouche of Ma'adim Vallis in the Elysium Basin generated a transitional transported sediment structure, which planimetric shape is controlled by the enclosing topography of a deep reentrant gulf of the Basin into the highland. We defined it as an estuarine delta. The location and the importance of this estuarine delta is supported by the theoretical model of graded profile constructed for Ma'adim Vallis, and by two approaches: (i) the reconstruction of Ma'adim Vallis downstream course from Gusev to Elysium Basin, and (ii) the survey of the sediment deposit in the alleged estuary. The longitudinal graded profile of Ma'adim Vallis finds its base-level in the Elysium Basin, at a about 1000 m elevation, which is in agreement with the observed Basin shoreline. This model is supported by observational evidence of flow between the northern rim of Gusev crater, and the Elysium Basin shoreline. This downstream course of Ma'adim Vallis can be divided into three hydrogeologic regions. into three hydrogeologic regions. (a) The first region is a flooded plain (Zephiria Mensae), consisting in chaotic terrain formed by highland rocks, and disintegrated lava of the western flank of Apollinaris. Morphologic indicators of the flood process are: (1) the sediment deposit over the Gusev crater northern rim that reflects the overspilling of the crater-lake water through a 40-km wide gap provided by an ancient impact crater, (2) the tear-drop shaped feature on the northeastern flank of Apollinaris Patera, and (3) the chaotic terrain that suggest the emergence of ground water generated by the seepage of the crater lake through high-permeable broken rampart material. This underground water circulation sustained by the hydrostatic pressure of the crater-lake has likely generated a hydrothermal system in the volcanic environment of Apollinaris Patera. The stratigraphy of the flooded area is identified as Hesperian age, with occurrences of Noachian hilly individual features, and as Amazonian flooded plain and chaotic material, (b) The second region is located on the western flank of Apollinaris Patera. It is surrounded by relics of deep valleys that suggest a former downstream course of Ma'adim Vallis. The geologic setting of this region (Lucus Planum) is interpreted to be an Amazonian formation composed by the middle and lower members of the Medusae Formation., c) The third region corresponds to the convergence of the west and east branches of Ma'adirn Vallis into a deep re-entrant wide gulf that penetrates about 100 km into the highland. This topographic depression is delineated by the 1000 in elevation contour. This gulf has formed an estuarine configuration centered at 3S/190W within the Elysium Basin. This configuration has favored the formation of a estuarine sedimentary delta, because of topographically controlled lateral migration. This estuarine structure is strongly dominated by the incoming supply of Ma'adim Vallis fluvial sediment extracted from Zephiria Mensae and Lucus Planum. The obtuse-angle geometry of the estuary increases the sedimentation rate, which is higher than in the course of the channel. The sediment deposition process is governed by the estuarine water circulation. The inflowing loaded fluvial water enters the estuary as a bottom current, and mixes with the relatively less-loaded water of the receiving basin. When they mixed. the inflowing fluvial material, and the landward basin circulating water generate an accumulation of highly-diversified estuarine deposit stratification. This accumulation of material is mostly centered in the transitional zone of the delta. The sediment trapping efficiency of the estuary is function of the energy balance between the inflowing fluvial water, and the ingoing basin current. The submergence of the delta by the rising of the water-level increases the estuary water-depth, and consequently the sediment entrapment is favored. The locus of sediment accumulation moves landward in the zone of inflowing fluvial water. This results in the rising of the channel base-level, thus in the increase of the length of the longitudinal graded-profile. The sediment deposit facies of the zone A shows a generally smooth surface. The longitudinal deposit is bordered by alluvial terraces that reflect the variations of the channel level. The waning of the Elysium Basin caused the erosion of the Basin estuarine zone by small channels, this episode being characterized by dissected tear-drop shaped mesa-like morphologies in the delta. Our estuarine delta model predicts a lithostratigraphic depositional sequence associated with the water submergence and the transgression of Elysium Basin. The thickness of the estuarine sediment corresponds to the Elysium Basin levels changes relatively to the bed floor of the estuary, The depositional sequence of Ma'adim Vallis are described: (1) a pro-current filled region (A), where fluvial are longitudinally accumulated by the inflowing water, (2) inverse current from Elysium Basin (B), where fluvial and lacustrine sediments are accumulated, and (3) zone of current equilibrium (C), where the sediments are distributed as a shoreline at the boundary of the estuarine delta. The estuary sedimentology dynamics collects and keeps the record of the geologic unit material crossed by Ma'adim Vallis, and those of the lakebed deposit of Elysium Basin. The predicted mixed stratigraphic sequence from fluvial and lacustrine sediment makes this site an exceptional environment to concentrate potential multi-origin biologic records. We envision four possible strategies to explore this sedimentologic record: (1) longitudinal surface and subsurface traverses in region A to investigate outcrop levees, (2) exploration of the mesa walls in region B, (3) deep drilling hole lodging of the sequential deposits in the zones A and B, and (4) surface and subsurface exploration of the shoreline delta. The expected results for each of these strategies are: (1) in the deepest layers of region A are predicted frequent and abundant coarse material, sandy lenses lamination grading downward from sand to cobbles. Volcanic debris from the Noachian crustal Plateau unit material, hydrothermal altered rocks, carbonates, Hesperian and possibly Amazonian volcanic material, from Apollinaris Patera, altered rocks and carbonates from Zephiria Mensae are expected. As a favorable environment for inception of life, possible biological records are expected in transported rock, (2) At the surface, and subsurface (<=100 m), large deposits sandy to silted material from Elysium paleolake basin mixed with fine-grained sediments from Ma'adim Vallis are expected mostly in the upstream part of region B, (3) on the shoreline of the estuarine delta, abundant fine material from Elysium paleolake basin (evaporites, carbonates), mostly Amazonian in age are expected. The Ma'adini estuary is a favorable landing site for all the above mentioned science aspects, and .for its location. The site lies near the equator, which is favorable for the rover solar power supply, and at 1000m elevation, which is a favorable configuration for the descent system braking. Another advantage is the extent of the area of high scientific interest (33,000 sq km), which provides a good ellipse, and potential long study traverses.

  20. The Confluence of Gangis and Eos Chasmas (5-12 deg S, 31-41 deg W): Geologic, Hydrologic, and Exobiologic Considerations for Landing Site at the East End of Valles Marineris

    Science.gov (United States)

    George, J. A.; Clifford, S. M.

    1999-06-01

    Over its 3,500 km length, Valles Marineris exhibits an enormous range of geologic and environmental diversity. At its western end, the canyon is dominated by the tectonic complex of Noctis Labyrinthus; while in the east it grades into an extensive region of chaos where scoured channels and streamlined islands provide evidence of catastrophic floods that spilled into the northern plains. In the central portion of the system, debris derived from the massive interior layered deposits of Candor and Ophir Chasmas spills into the central trough. In other areas, 6 km-deep exposures of Hesperian and Noachian-age canyon wall stratigraphy have collapsed in massive landslides that extend many tens of kilometers across the canyon floor. Ejecta from interior craters, aeolian sediments, and possible volcanics emanating from structurally controlled vents along the base of the scarps, further contribute to the canyon's geologic complexity. Following the initial rifting that gave birth to Valles Marineris, water appears to have been a principal agent in the canyon's geomorphic development an agent whose significance is given added weight by its potential role in both sustaining and preserving evidence of past life. In this regard, the interior layered deposits of Candor, Ophir, and Hebes Chasmas, have been identified as possible lucustrine sediments that may have been laid down in long-standing ice-covered lakes. The potential survival and growth of native organisms in such an environment, or in the aquifers whose disruption gave birth to the chaotic terrain and outflow channels to the north and east of the canyon, raises the possibility that fossil indicators of life may be present in the local sediment and rock. Because of the enormous distances over which these diverse environments occur, identifying a single landing site that maximizes the opportunity for scientific return is not a simple task. However, given the fluvial history and narrow geometry of the canyon, the presence of a single exit at its eastern end provides an opportunity for sampling that appears unequaled elsewhere in the system.

  1. Space life sciences: Programs and projects

    Science.gov (United States)

    1989-01-01

    NASA space life science activities are outlined. Brief, general descriptions are given of research in the areas of biomedical research, space biology, closed loop life support systems, exobiology, and biospherics.

  2. The Ulam Index: Methods of Theoretical Computer Science Help in Identifying Chemical Substances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beltran, Adriana; Salvador, James

    1997-01-01

    In this paper, we show how methods developed for solving a theoretical computer problem of graph isomorphism are used in structural chemistry. We also discuss potential applications of these methods to exobiology: the search for life outside Earth.

  3. Bibliography of the space processing program. Volume 1: A compilation through June 1974, Parts 1 and 2. [space manufacturing/spacecraft construction materials - aerospace environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shoultz, M. B.; Mcclurken, E. W., Jr.

    1975-01-01

    A compilation of NASA research efforts in the area of space environmental effects on materials and processes is presented. Topics considered are: (1) fluid mechanics and heat transfer; (2) crystal growth and containerless melts; (3) acoustics; (4) glass and ceramics; (5) electrophoresis; (6) welding; and (7) exobiology.

  4. The Paranormal: A Selected Bibliography of Serials and Reference Works, with Commentary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Charles H.

    1997-01-01

    Provides bibliography of references and serials to assist acquisitions librarians in selection of the paranormal. Topics include alchemy, astrology, magic, conjuring, witchcraft, paganism, demonology, satanism, voodooism, sorcery, cults, shamanism, UFOs, exobiology, curious physical and biological phenomena, ghosts, poltergeists, haunted places,…

  5. Second Symposium on Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Devincenzi, D.L.; Dufour, P.A.

    1986-05-01

    Recent findings by NASA Exobiology investigators are reported. Scientific papers are presented in the following areas: cosmic evolution of biogenic compounds, prebiotic evolution (planetary and molecular), early evolution of life (biological and geochemical), evolution of advanced life, solar system exploration, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)

  6. Life sciences report 1987

    Science.gov (United States)

    1987-01-01

    Highlighted here are the major research efforts of the NASA Life Sciences Division during the past year. Topics covered include remote health care delivery in space, space biomedical research, gravitational biology, biospherics (studying planet Earth), the NASA Closed Ecological Life Support System (CELSS), exobiology, flight programs, international cooperation, and education programs.

  7. Life: Here? There? Elsewhere? The Search for Life on Venus and Mars. Life in the Universe Series.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1996

    This classroom kit, designed by curriculum developers working with teachers and scientists from the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, helps teachers guide students in the exploration of life through the multidisciplinary sciences of paleontology and exobiology. It reflects the real-life methods of science: making…

  8. Is There Life on Exoplanet Maja? A Demonstration for Schools

    Science.gov (United States)

    Planinsic, Gorazd; Marshall, Rick

    2012-01-01

    Astronomy and astrophysics are very popular with pupils, but the experimental work they can do tends to be rather limited. The search for life elsewhere in the Universe ("exobiology") has received an enormous boost since the detection of a rapidly increasing number of planets ("exoplanets") orbiting other stars in our galaxy. Recently (March…

  9. USSR Space Life Sciences Digest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, C. S. (Editor); Donnelly, K. L. (Editor)

    1980-01-01

    Research in exobiology, life sciences technology, space biology, and space medicine and physiology, primarily using data gathered on the Salyut 6 orbital space station, is reported. Methods for predicting, diagnosing, and preventing the effects of weightlessness are discussed. Psychological factors are discussed. The effects of space flight on plants and animals are reported. Bioinstrumentation advances are noted.

  10. Geochemistry and Organic Chemistry on the Surface of Titan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lunine, J. I.; Beauchamp, P.; Beauchamp, J.; Dougherty, D.; Welch, C.; Raulin, F.; Shapiro, R.; Smith, M.

    2001-01-01

    Titan's atmosphere produces a wealth of organic products from methane and nitrogen. These products, deposited on the surface in liquid and solid form, may interact with surface ices and energy sources to produce compounds of exobiological interest. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  11. Towards a Hierarchical Definition of Life, the Organism, and Death

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jagers Op Akkerhuis, G.A.J.M.

    2010-01-01

    Despite hundreds of definitions, no consensus exists on a definition of life or on the closely related and problematic definitions of the organism and death. These problems retard practical and theoretical development in, for example, exobiology, artificial life, biology and evolution. This paper

  12. The Chemistry of Early Self-Replicating Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bada, Jeffrey L.

    1996-01-01

    The NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training (NSCORT) in Exobiology is a consortium of scientists at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), The Salk Institute for Biological Studies (Salk) and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). All three institutions are located in close geographical proximity in La Jolla, California. The NSCORT/Exobiology is administered through the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Since its inception in January 1992, the NSCORT in Exobiology has made major contributions with respect to the question of how life began on Earth. The Principal Investigators (PIs) and their associated Fellows have published numerous articles in peer reviewed journals on topics relevant to Exobiology. They have presented papers and sponsored symposia at several meetings of national and international scientific societies. A total of 30 undergraduate, 12 graduate and 15 postdoctoral Fellows have been supported by the NSCORT. The Fellows have met on their own at least once a month to discuss Exobiology topics and research progress. The NSCORT has arranged seminars and evening discussion meetings, and offered an undergraduate class on "Biochemical Evolution" as well as graduate courses dealing with topics in Exobiology. A visiting scientist program has allowed 11 scientists from the U.S. and 4 foreign countries to conduct cooperative research with the various PIs. An active outreach program has been initiated, which includes an Exobiology high school level teaching module and curriculum guide, and an elementary school level booklet about basic atomic structure and formation of the universe, Sun and Earth. A World Wide Web Homepage (http://www-chem.ucsd.edu/-nscort/ NSCORT.html) has been developed, which describes the NSCORT activities, research programs and Fellowship opportunities. The various activities of the NSCORT in Exobiology have received wide-spread coverage in both the scientific and public media. The major function of the NSCORT is the

  13. New Discoveries in Planetary Systems and Star Formation through Advances in Laboratory Astrophysics

    OpenAIRE

    WGLA, AAS; Brickhouse, Nancy; Cowan, John; Drake, Paul; Federman, Steven; Ferland, Gary; Frank, Adam; Herbst, Eric; Olive, Keith; Salama, Farid; Savin, Daniel Wolf; Ziurys, Lucy

    2009-01-01

    As the panel on Planetary Systems and Star Formation (PSF) is fully aware, the next decade will see major advances in our understanding of these areas of research. To quote from their charge, these advances will occur in studies of solar system bodies (other than the Sun) and extrasolar planets, debris disks, exobiology, the formation of individual stars, protostellar and protoplanetary disks, molecular clouds and the cold ISM, dust, and astrochemistry. Central to the progress in these areas ...

  14. Space Biology and Aerospace Medicine, Number 4, 1977

    Science.gov (United States)

    1977-10-01

    rheograph presented all the typical signs: anacrotic notch , catacrotic notch with dicrotic wave. On rheograms of the limbs, we encountered...etc.) and telemetry. habitaMH*:y, -ffttt- 17. Key Words and Document Analysis. 17a. Descriptors USSR Exobiology Life Support Human Factors ...counterpressure of surrounding fluid on the surface of the body and tissues surrounding the vessels. Compensation and elimination of the hydrostatic factor are

  15. Space Biology and Aerospace Medicine. Number 2

    Science.gov (United States)

    1977-05-01

    dicrotic notch on the rheovasogram of the leg, under hyperbarxc conditions, shifted toward the periphery of the dicrotic region and isoline 2-3 min...weightlessness, etc.) and telemetry. 17. Key Words and Document Analysis. 17a. Descriptors USSR Exobiology Life Support Human Factors ...the overall set of factors , upon which cosmonauts’ health and efficiency depended. How- ever, even at that stage of development of cosmonautics

  16. Prebiotic chemistry in space; Proceedings of Symposia B1.4 and F3.3 of the COSPAR Scientific Assembly, 30th, Hamburg, Germany, July 11-21, 1994

    Science.gov (United States)

    1994-01-01

    A two-part symposium was held concerning topics in Solar System chemistry. The first part covered the organic chemistry ofsmall bodies of the interplanetray medium. It produced papers on the evolution, spectral properties and composition of organic matter in comets, interplanetary dust and asteroids. The second part covered cryochemistry and exobiology in planetary atmospheres (gas giant planets and their satellites) and in various astronomical ices.

  17. Exomars 2018 Rover Pasteur Payload Sample Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debus, Andre; Bacher, M.; Ball, A.; Barcos, O.; Bethge, B.; Gaubert, F.; Haldemann, A.; Kminek, G.; Lindner, R.; Pacros, A.; Rohr, T.; Trautner, R.; Vago, J.

    The ExoMars programme is a joint ESA-NASA program having exobiology as one of the key science objectives. It is divided into 2 missions: the first mission is ESA-led with an ESA orbiter and an ESA Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) demonstrator, launched in 2016 by NASA, and the second mission is NASA-led, launched in 2018 by NASA including an ESA rover and a NASA rover both deployed by a single NASA EDL system. For ESA, the ExoMars programme will demonstrate key flight and in situ enabling technologies in support of the European ambitions for future exploration missions, as outlined in the Aurora Declaration. The ExoMars 2018 ESA Rover will carry a comprehensive and coherent suite of analytical instruments dedicated to exobiology and geology research: the Pasteur Payload (PPL). This payload includes a selection of complementary instruments, having the following goals: to search for signs of past and present life on Mars and to investigate the water/geochemical environment as a function of depth in the shallow subsurface. The ExoMars Rover will travel several kilometres searching for sites warranting further investigation. The Rover includes a drill and a Sample Preparation and Distribution System which will be used to collect and analyse samples from within outcrops and from the subsurface. The Rover systems and instruments, in particular those located inside the Analytical Laboratory Drawer must meet many stringent requirements to be compatible with exobiologic investigations: the samples must be maintained in a cold and uncontaminated environment, requiring sterile and ultraclean preparation of the instruments, to preserve volatile materials and to avoid false positive results. The value of the coordinated observations suggests that a significant return on investment is to be expected from this complex development. We will present the challenges facing the ExoMars PPL, and the plans for sending a robust exobiology laboratory to Mars in 2018.

  18. Carl Woese, Dick Young, and the roots of astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rummel, John D

    2014-01-01

    The beginning of the space age in the late 1950s gave rise to innovative and interdisciplinary research concepts and perspectives, including the concept of "exobiology" as a way to approach the fundamental aspects of biology through a study of life outside of the Earth, if it existed. This concept was embodied by NASA into its formal Exobiology Program and into the philosophy of the program both before and after the Viking missions that were launched to Mars to search for signs of life in 1975. Due to both management flexibility and an acceptance of the interdisciplinary nature of the problem of "life in the universe," NASA program managers, and particularly Richard S Young who ran the Exobiology Program beginning 1967, have made some excellent investments in paradigm altering science of great use both on Earth and on future space missions. The work of Carl Woese is one such example, which has revolutionized our understanding of the microbial world and the relationships of all life on Earth.

  19. Vie dans l'Univers: l'histoire d'une longue quete

    Science.gov (United States)

    Briot, Danielle

    2017-07-01

    The search for life in the Universe is a very old quest of humanity. This search initiated the science nammed astrobiology, or bioastronomy, or exobiology. We give some elements for the history of this science, since the Greek antiquity up to now, in the occidental civilisation. After reminding the main steps of this history during Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, we point out some little known or unknown studies published during the Modern and Contemporary epochs. We specially develop the studies of two pioneers during the twentieth century: Ary Sternfeld, a Polish scientist who was also a pioneer of astronautics, and Gavril Tikhov, a Russian astronomer who created the astrobotany.

  20. Kantian epistemology as an alternative to heroic astronomy

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLaughlin, W. I.

    Theoretical and observational methods in astronomy have advanced to a point where certain of their outcomes are difficult to comprehend with the traditional categories of human knowledge. The philosophical discipline of epistemology, the theory of knowledge, is used here to address four current problems in observational astronomy, exobiology, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. The problems are united by an epistemological content which, when unrecognized, has resulted in some heroic solutions of an ad hoc nature. Immanuel Kant's critical philosophy is employed because his work is consistent with basic attitudes in present-day physics and biology.

  1. Scientific guidelines for preservation of samples collected from Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gooding, J.L.

    1990-04-01

    The maximum scientific value of Martian geologic and atmospheric samples is retained when the samples are preserved in the conditions that applied prior to their collection. Any sample degradation equates to loss of information. Based on detailed review of pertinent scientific literature, and advice from experts in planetary sample analysis, number values are recommended for key parameters in the environmental control of collected samples with respect to material contamination, temperature, head-space gas pressure, ionizing radiation, magnetic fields, and acceleration/shock. Parametric values recommended for the most sensitive geologic samples should also be adequate to preserve any biogenic compounds or exobiological relics

  2. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography With Indexes. Supplement 486

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract.

  3. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography. Supplement 483

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion.

  4. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 492

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    This report lists reports, articles and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion.

  5. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography With Indexes. Supplement 497

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP#2000-7011) lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention.

  6. Kantian epistemology as an alternative to heroic astronomy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mclaughlin, W. I.

    1985-01-01

    Theoretical and observational methods in astronomy have advanced to a point where certain of their outcomes are difficult to comprehend with the traditional categories of human knowledge. The philosophical discipline of epistemology, the theory of knowledge, is used here to address four current problems in observational astronomy, exobiology, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. The problems are united by an epistemological content which, when unrecognized, has resulted in some heroic solutions of an ad hoc nature. Kant's critical philosophy is employed because his work is consistent with basic attitudes in present-day physics and biology.

  7. Role of Academician N.M. Sissakian in space biomedicine formation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gazenko, O.G.; Gyurdzhian, A.A.

    1997-01-01

    Role of Academician N.M. Sissakian in space biomedicine formation is discussed dedicated to the 90th anniversary from his birthday. It is shown that Sissakian layers the foundation of new branch of science - space biomedicine. He participated in the programs of preparing man to space flight, paid attention to the problems of exobiology, gravitation, ontogenesis in mammals under weightlessness conditions, radiation safety in space flight, life support under space flight conditions, social-psychological activities of astronauts. Academician introduced the achievements of cosmic investigations into earth science practice, paid great attention to the international cooperation

  8. Life Sciences Space Station planning document: A reference payload for the Life Sciences Research Facility

    Science.gov (United States)

    1986-01-01

    The Space Station, projected for construction in the early 1990s, will be an orbiting, low-gravity, permanently manned facility providing unprecedented opportunities for scientific research. Facilities for Life Sciences research will include a pressurized research laboratory, attached payloads, and platforms which will allow investigators to perform experiments in the crucial areas of Space Medicine, Space Biology, Exobiology, Biospherics and Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS). These studies are designed to determine the consequences of long-term exposure to space conditions, with particular emphasis on assuring the permanent presence of humans in space. The applied and basic research to be performed, using humans, animals, and plants, will increase our understanding of the effects of the space environment on basic life processes. Facilities being planned for remote observations from platforms and attached payloads of biologically important elements and compounds in space and on other planets (Exobiology) will permit exploration of the relationship between the evolution of life and the universe. Space-based, global scale observations of terrestrial biology (Biospherics) will provide data critical for understanding and ultimately managing changes in the Earth's ecosystem. The life sciences community is encouraged to participate in the research potential the Space Station facilities will make possible. This document provides the range and scope of typical life sciences experiments which could be performed within a pressurized laboratory module on Space Station.

  9. Nothing special in the specialist? Draft genome sequence of Cryomyces antarcticus, the most extremophilic fungus from Antarctica.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katja Sterflinger

    Full Text Available The draft genome of the Antarctic endemic fungus Cryomyces antarcticus is presented. This rock inhabiting, microcolonial fungus is extremely stress tolerant and it is a model organism for exobiology and studies on stress resistance in Eukaryots. Since this fungus is a specialist in the most extreme environment of the Earth, the analysis of its genome is of important value for the understanding of fungal genome evolution and stress adaptation. A comparison with Neurospora crassa as well as with other microcolonial fungi shows that the fungus has a genome size of 24 Mbp, which is the average in the fungal kingdom. Although sexual reproduction was never observed in this fungus, 34 mating genes are present with protein homologs in the classes Eurotiomycetes, Sordariomycetes and Dothideomycetes. The first analysis of the draft genome did not reveal any significant deviations of this genome from comparative species and mesophilic hyphomycetes.

  10. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 488

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    This report lists reports, articles and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract.

  11. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 504

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP-2000-7011) lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract. Two indexes- subject and author are included after the abstract section.

  12. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 490

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP-1999-7011) lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract. Two indexes-subject and author are included after the abstract section.

  13. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 489

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP-1999-7011) lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract.

  14. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 487

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP-1999-7011) lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract. Two indexes-subject and author are included after the abstract section.

  15. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 498

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP-1999-7011) lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract.

  16. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography With Indexes. Supplement 502

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP-2000-7011) lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract. Two indexes-subject and author are included after the abstract section.

  17. USSR Space Life Sciences Digest, issue 6

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hooke, L. R. (Editor); Radtke, M. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor); Rowe, J. E. (Editor)

    1986-01-01

    This is the sixth issue of NASA's USSR Space Life Sciences Digest. It contains abstracts of 54 papers recently published in Russian language periodicals and bound collections and of 10 new Soviet monographs. Selected abstracts are illustrated with figures and tables from the original. Additional features include a table of Soviet EVAs and information about English translations of Soviet materials available to readers. The topics covered in this issue have been identified as relevant to 26 areas of aerospace medicine and space biology. These areas are adaptation, biospherics, body fluids, botany, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, developmental biology, endocrinology, enzymology, exobiology, genetics, habitability and environment effects, health and medical treatment, hematology, human performance, immunology, life support systems, mathematical modeling, metabolism., microbiology, morphology and cytology, musculoskeletal system, neurophysiology, nutrition, perception, personnel selection, psychology, radiobiology, reproductive biology, and space medicine.

  18. USSR Space Life Sciences Digest, issue 7

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hooke, L. R. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor)

    1986-01-01

    This is the seventh issue of NASA's USSR Space Life Sciences Digest. It contains abstracts of 29 papers recently published in Russian language periodicals and bound collections and of 8 new Soviet monographs. Selected abstracts are illustrated with figures and tables from the original. Additional features include two interviews with the Soviet Union's cosmonaut physicians and others knowledgable of the Soviet space program. The topics discussed at a Soviet conference on problems in space psychology are summarized. Information about English translations of Soviet materials available to readers is provided. The topics covered in this issue have been identified as relevant to 29 areas of aerospace medicine and space biology. These areas are adaptation, biospherics, body fluids, botany, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, developmental biology, endocrinology, enzymology, exobiology, genetics, habitability and environment effects, hematology, human performance, immunology, life support systems, mathematical modeling, metabolism, microbiology, morphology and cytology, musculoskeletal system, neurophysiology, nutrition, perception, personnel selection, psychology, radiobiology, and space medicine.

  19. USSR Space Life Sciences Digest, issue 25

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hooke, Lydia Razran (Editor); Teeter, Ronald (Editor); Garshnek, Victoria (Editor); Rowe, Joseph (Editor)

    1990-01-01

    This is the twenty-fifth issue of NASA's Space Life Sciences Digest. It contains abstracts of 42 journal papers or book chapters published in Russian and of 3 Soviet monographs. Selected abstracts are illustrated with figures and tables from the original. The abstracts in this issue have been identified as relevant to 26 areas of space biology and medicine. These areas include: adaptation, body fluids, botany, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, developmental biology, endocrinology, enzymology, equipment and instrumentation, exobiology, gravitational biology, habitability and environmental effects, human performance, immunology, life support systems, man-machine systems, mathematical modeling, metabolism, microbiology, musculoskeletal system, neurophysiology, nutrition, operational medicine, psychology, radiobiology, reproductive system, and space biology and medicine.

  20. USSR Space Life Sciences Digest, issue 16

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hooke, Lydia Razran (Editor); Teeter, Ronald (Editor); Siegel, Bette (Editor); Donaldson, P. Lynn (Editor); Leveton, Lauren B. (Editor); Rowe, Joseph (Editor)

    1988-01-01

    This is the sixteenth issue of NASA's USSR Life Sciences Digest. It contains abstracts of 57 papers published in Russian language periodicals or presented at conferences and of 2 new Soviet monographs. Selected abstracts are illustrated with figures and tables from the original. An additional feature is the review of a book concerned with metabolic response to the stress of space flight. The abstracts included in this issue are relevant to 33 areas of space biology and medicine. These areas are: adaptation, biological rhythms, bionics, biospherics, body fluids, botany, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, developmental biology, endocrinology, enzymology, exobiology, gastrointestinal system, genetics, gravitational biology, habitability and environmental effects, hematology, human performance, immunology, life support systems, man-machine systems, mathematical modeling, metabolism, microbiology, musculoskeletal system, neurophysiology, nutrition, operational medicine, perception, personnel selection, psychology, radiobiology, reproductive biology, and space biology.

  1. USSR Space Life Sciences Digest, Issue 18

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hooke, Lydia Razran (Editor); Donaldson, P. Lynn (Editor); Teeter, Ronald (Editor); Garshnek, Victoria (Editor); Rowe, Joseph (Editor)

    1988-01-01

    This is the 18th issue of NASA's USSR Life Sciences Digest. It contains abstracts of 50 papers published in Russian language periodicals or presented at conferences and of 8 new Soviet monographs. Selected abstracts are illustrated with figures and tables from the original. A review of a recent Aviation Medicine Handbook is also included. The abstracts in this issue have been identified as relevant to 37 areas of space biology and medicine. These areas are: adaptation, aviation medicine, biological rhythms, biospherics, body fluids, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, cytology, developmental biology, endocrinology, enzymology, equipment and instrumentation, exobiology, gastrointestinal system, genetics, gravitational biology, group dynamics, habitability and environmental effects, hematology, human performance, immunology, life support systems, man-machine systems, mathematical modeling, metabolism, microbiology, musculoskeletal system, neurophysiology, nutrition, operational medicine, perception, personnel selection, psychology, radiobiology, reproductive biology, space biology and medicine, and space industrialization.

  2. USSR Space Life Sciences Digest, issue 21

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hooke, Lydia Razran; Donaldson, P. Lynn; Garshnek, Victoria; Rowe, Joseph

    1989-01-01

    This is the twenty-first issue of NASA's USSR Space Life Sciences Digest. It contains abstracts of 37 papers published in Russian language periodicals or books or presented at conferences and of a Soviet monograph on animal ontogeny in weightlessness. Selected abstracts are illustrated with figures and tables from the original. A book review of a work on adaptation to stress is also included. The abstracts in this issue have been identified as relevant to 25 areas of space biology and medicine. These areas are: adaptation, biological rhythms, body fluids, botany, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, cytology, developmental biology, endocrinology, enzymology, equipment and instrumentation, exobiology, gravitational biology, habitability and environmental effects, hematology, human performance, life support systems, mathematical modeling, metabolism, microbiology, musculoskeletal system, neurophysiology, operational medicine, perception, psychology, and reproductive system.

  3. Earth analogs for Martian life - Microbes in evaporites, a new model system for life on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    1990-01-01

    It is suggested that 'oases' in which life forms may persist on Mars could occur, by analogy with terrestrial cases, in (1) rocks, as known in endolithic microorganisms, (2) polar ice caps, as seen in snow and ice algae, and (3) volcanic regions, as witnessed in the chemoautotrophs which live in ocean-floor hydrothermal vents. Microorganisms, moreover, have been known to survive in salt crystals, and it has even been shown that organisms can metabolize while encrusted in evaporites. Evaporites which may occur on Mars would be able to attenuate UV light, while remaining more transparent to the 400-700 nm radiation useful in photosynthesis. Suggestions are made for the selection of Martian exobiological investigation sites.

  4. First International Conference on the Evolution and Development of the Universe

    CERN Document Server

    EDU2008

    2009-01-01

    This document is the Special Issue of the First International Conference on the Evolution and Development (EDU 2008). Please refer to the preface and introduction for more details on the contributions. Keywords: acceleration, artificial cosmogenesis, artificial life, Big Bang, Big History, biological evolution, biological universe, biology, causality, classical vacuum energy, complex systems, complexity, computational universe, conscious evolution, cosmological artificial selection, cosmological natural selection, cosmology, critique, cultural evolution, dark energy, dark matter, development of the universe, development, emergence, evolution of the universe evolution, exobiology, extinction, fine-tuning, fractal space-time, fractal, information, initial conditions, intentional evolution, linear expansion of the universe, log-periodic laws, macroevolution, materialism, meduso-anthropic principle, multiple worlds, natural sciences, Nature, ontology, order, origin of the universe, particle hierarchy, philosophy,...

  5. Autonomous Infrastructure for Observatory Operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seaman, R.

    This is an era of rapid change from ancient human-mediated modes of astronomical practice to a vision of ever larger time domain surveys, ever bigger "big data", to increasing numbers of robotic telescopes and astronomical automation on every mountaintop. Over the past decades, facets of a new autonomous astronomical toolkit have been prototyped and deployed in support of numerous space missions. Remote and queue observing modes have gained significant market share on the ground. Archives and data-mining are becoming ubiquitous; astroinformatic techniques and virtual observatory standards and protocols are areas of active development. Astronomers and engineers, planetary and solar scientists, and researchers from communities as diverse as particle physics and exobiology are collaborating on a vast range of "multi-messenger" science. What then is missing?

  6. Small business innovation research: Abstracts of 1984. Phase 1 awards

    Science.gov (United States)

    1985-01-01

    On September 27, 1984, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced the selection of Phase I projects for the Small Business Innovation Research Program. These awards resulted from the evaluation of proposals submitted in response to the 1984 Program Solicitation, SBIR 84-1. In order to make available information on the technical content of the Phase I projects supported by the NASA SBIR Program, the abstracts of those proposals which resulted in awards of contracts are given. In addition, the name and address of the firm performing the work are given for those who may desired additional information about the project. Propulsion, aerodynamics, computer techniques, exobiology and composite materials are among the areas covered.

  7. USSR Space Life Sciences Digest, issue 3

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hooke, L. R. (Editor); Radtke, M. (Editor); Garshnek, V. (Editor); Rowe, J. E. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor)

    1985-01-01

    This is the third issue of NASA's USSR Space Life Sciences Digest. Abstracts are included for 46 Soviet periodical articles in 20 areas of aerospace medicine and space biology and published in Russian during the second third of 1985. Selected articles are illustrated with figures and tables from the original. In addition, translated introductions and tables of contents for seven Russian books on six topics related to NASA's life science concerns are presented. Areas covered are adaptation, biospherics, body fluids, botany, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, endocrinology, exobiology, gravitational biology, habitability and environmental effects, health and medical treatment, immunology, life support systems, metabolism, microbiology, musculoskeletal system; neurophysiology, nutrition, perception, personnel selection, psychology, radiobiology, and space physiology. Two book reviews translated from the Russian are included and lists of additional relevant titles available in English with pertinent ordering information are given.

  8. USSR Space Life Sciences Digest, issue 4

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hooke, L. R. (Editor); Radtke, M. (Editor); Garshnek, V. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor); Rowe, J. E. (Editor)

    1986-01-01

    The fourth issue of NASA's USSR Space Life Science Digest includes abstracts for 42 Soviet periodical articles in 20 areas of aerospace medicine and space biology and published in Russian during the last third of 1985. Selected articles are illustrated with figures and tables from the original. In addition, translated introductions and tables of contents for 17 Russian books on 12 topics related to NASA's life science concerns are presented. Areas covered are: adaptation, biological rhythms, biospherics, body fluids, botany, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, cytology, developmental biology, endocrinology, exobiology, habitability and environmental effects, health and medical treatment, hematology, histology, human performance, immunology, mathematical modeling, metabolism, microbiology, musculoskeletal system, neurophysiology, nutrition, perception, personnel selection, psychology, and radiobiology. Two book reviews translated from the Russian are included and lists of additional relevant titles available in English with pertinent ordering information are given.

  9. Origins of Life Research: a Bibliometric Approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aydinoglu, Arsev Umur; Taşkın, Zehra

    2018-03-01

    This study explores the collaborative nature and interdisciplinarity of the origin(s) of life (OoL) research community. Although OoL research is one of the oldest topics in philosophy, religion, and science; to date there has been no review of the field utilizing bibliometric measures. A dataset of 5647 publications that are tagged as OoL, astrobiology, exobiology, and prebiotic chemistry is analyzed. The most prolific authors (Raulin, Ehrenfreund, McKay, Cleaves, Cockell, Lazcano, etc.), most cited scholars and their articles (Miller 1953, Gilbert 1986, Chyba & Sagan 1992, Wolchtershauser 1988, etc.), and popular journals ( Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres and Astrobiology) for OoL research are identified. Moreover, interdisciplinary research conducted through research networks, institutions (NASA, Caltech, University of Arizona, University of Washington, CNRS, etc.), and keywords & concepts (astrobiology, life, Mars, amino acid, prebiotic chemistry, evolution, RNA) are explored.

  10. Life sciences on the moon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horneck, G.

    Despite of the fact that the lunar environment lacks essential prerequisites for supporting life, lunar missions offer new and promising opportunities to the life sciences community. Among the disciplines of interest are exobiology, radiation biology, ecology and human physiology. In exobiology, the Moon offers an ideal platform for studies related to the understanding of the principles, leading to the origin, evolution and distribution of life. These include the analysis of lunar samples and meteorites in relatively pristine conditions, radioastronomical search for other planetary systems or Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), and studies on the role of radiation in evolutionary processes and on the environmental limits for life. For radiation biology, the Moon provides an unique laboratory with built-in sources for optical as well as ionising radiation to investigate the biological importance of the various components of cosmic and solar radiation. Before establishing a lunar base, precursor missions will provide a characterisation of the radiation field, determination of depth dose distributions in different absorbers, the installation of a solar flare alert system, and a qualification of the biological efficiency of the mixed radiation environment. One of the most challenging projects falls into the domain of ecology with the establishment for the first time of an artificial ecosystem on a celestial body beyond the Earth. From this venture, a better understanding of the dynamics regulating our terrestrial biosphere is expected. It will also serve as a precursor of bioregenerative life support systems for a lunar base. The establishment of a lunar base with eventually long-term human presence will raise various problems in the fields of human physiology and health care, psychology and sociology. Protection guidelines for living in this hostile environment have to be established.

  11. Exomars 2018 Rover Pasteur Payload

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debus, Andre; Bacher, M.; Ball, A.; Barcos, O.; Bethge, B.; Gaubert, F.; Haldemann, A.; Lindner, R.; Pacros, A.; Trautner, R.; Vag, J.

    ars programme is a joint ESA-NASA program having exobiology as one of the key science objectives. It is divided into 2 missions: the first mission is ESA-led with an ESA orbiter and an ESA Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) demonstrator, launched in 2016 by NASA, and the second mission is NASA-led, launched in 2018 by NASA carrying an ESA rover and a NASA rover both deployed by a single NASA EDL system. For ESA, the ExoMars programme will demonstrate key flight and in situ enabling technologies in support of the European ambitions for future exploration missions, as outlined in the Aurora Declaration. While the ExoMars 2016 mission will accomplish a technological objective (Entry, Descent and Landing of a payload on the surface) and a Scientific objective (investigation of Martian atmospheric trace gases and their sources, focussing particularly on methane), the ExoMars 2018 ESA Rover will carry a comprehensive and coherent suite of analytical instruments dedicated to exobiology and geology research: the Pasteur Payload (PPL). This payload includes a selection of complementary instruments, having the following goals: to search for signs of past and present life on Mars and to investigate the water/geochemical environment as a function of depth in the shallow subsurface. The ExoMars Rover includes a drill for accessing underground materials, and a Sample Preparation and Distribution System. The Rover will travel several kilometres looking for sites warranting further investigation, where it will collect and analyse samples from within outcrops and from the subsurface for traces of complex organic molecules. In addition to further details on this Exomars 2018 rover mission, this presentation will focus on the scientific objectives and the instruments needed to achieve them, including details of how the Pasteur Payload as a whole addresses Mars research objectives.

  12. The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dick, Steven J.; Strick, James E.

    2004-01-01

    In the opening weeks of 1998 a news article in the British journal Nature reported that NASA was about to enter biology in a big way. A "virtual" Astrobiology Institute was gearing up for business, and NASA administrator Dan Goldin told his external advisory council that he would like to see spending on the new institute eventually reach $100 million per year. "You just wait for the screaming from the physical scientists (when that happens)," Goldin was quoted as saying. Nevertheless, by the time of the second Astrobiology Science Conference in 2002, attended by seven hundred scientists from many disciplines, NASA spending on astrobiology had reached nearly half that amount and was growing at a steady pace. Under NASA leadership numerous institutions around the world applied the latest scientific techniques in the service of astrobiology's ambitious goal: the study of what NASA's 1996 Strategic Plan termed the "living universe." This goal embraced nothing less than an understanding of the origin, history, and distribution of life in the universe, including Earth. Astrobiology, conceived as a broad interdisciplinary research program, held the prospect of being the science for the twenty-first century which would unlock the secrets to some of the great questions of humanity. It is no surprise that these age-old questions should continue into the twenty-first century. But that the effort should be spearheaded by NASA was not at all obvious to those - inside and outside the agency - who thought NASA's mission was human spaceflight, rather than science, especially biological science. NASA had, in fact, been involved for four decades in "exobiology," a field that embraced many of the same questions but which had stagnated after the 1976 Viking missions to Mars. In this volume we tell the colorful story of the rise of the discipline of exobiology, how and why it morphed into astrobiology at the end of the twentieth century, and why NASA was the engine for both the

  13. Planetary protection implementation on future Mars lander missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howell, Robert; Devincenzi, Donald L.

    1993-01-01

    A workshop was convened to discuss the subject of planetary protection implementation for Mars lander missions. It was sponsored and organized by the Exobiology Implementation Team of the U.S./Russian Joint Working Group on Space Biomedical and Life Support Systems. The objective of the workshop was to discuss planetary protection issues for the Russian Mars '94 mission, which is currently under development, as well as for additional future Mars lander missions including the planned Mars '96 and U.S. MESUR Pathfinder and Network missions. A series of invited presentations was made to ensure that workshop participants had access to information relevant to the planned discussions. The topics summarized in this report include exobiology science objectives for Mars exploration, current international policy on planetary protection, planetary protection requirements developed for earlier missions, mission plans and designs for future U.S. and Russian Mars landers, biological contamination of spacecraft components, and techniques for spacecraft bioload reduction. In addition, the recent recommendations of the U.S. Space Studies Board (SSB) on this subject were also summarized. Much of the discussion focused on the recommendations of the SSB. The SSB proposed relaxing the planetary protection requirements for those Mars lander missions that do not contain life detection experiments, but maintaining Viking-like requirements for those missions that do contain life detection experiments. The SSB recommendations were found to be acceptable as a guide for future missions, although many questions and concerns about interpretation were raised and are summarized. Significant among the concerns was the need for more quantitative guidelines to prevent misinterpretation by project offices and better access to and use of the Viking data base of bioassays to specify microbial burden targets. Among the questions raised were how will the SSB recommendations be integrated with existing

  14. Planetary protection implementation on future Mars lander missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howell, Robert; Devincenzi, Donald L.

    1993-06-01

    A workshop was convened to discuss the subject of planetary protection implementation for Mars lander missions. It was sponsored and organized by the Exobiology Implementation Team of the U.S./Russian Joint Working Group on Space Biomedical and Life Support Systems. The objective of the workshop was to discuss planetary protection issues for the Russian Mars '94 mission, which is currently under development, as well as for additional future Mars lander missions including the planned Mars '96 and U.S. MESUR Pathfinder and Network missions. A series of invited presentations was made to ensure that workshop participants had access to information relevant to the planned discussions. The topics summarized in this report include exobiology science objectives for Mars exploration, current international policy on planetary protection, planetary protection requirements developed for earlier missions, mission plans and designs for future U.S. and Russian Mars landers, biological contamination of spacecraft components, and techniques for spacecraft bioload reduction. In addition, the recent recommendations of the U.S. Space Studies Board (SSB) on this subject were also summarized. Much of the discussion focused on the recommendations of the SSB. The SSB proposed relaxing the planetary protection requirements for those Mars lander missions that do not contain life detection experiments, but maintaining Viking-like requirements for those missions that do contain life detection experiments. The SSB recommendations were found to be acceptable as a guide for future missions, although many questions and concerns about interpretation were raised and are summarized. Significant among the concerns was the need for more quantitative guidelines to prevent misinterpretation by project offices and better access to and use of the Viking data base of bio-assays to specify microbial burden targets. Among the questions raised were how will the SSB recommendations be integrated with existing

  15. Planetary protection issues linked to human missions to Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debus, A.

    According to United Nations Treaties and handled presently by the Committee of Space Research COSPAR the exploration of the Solar System has to comply with planetary protection requirements The goal of planetary protection is to protect celestial bodies from terrestrial contamination and also to protect the Earth environment from an eventual biocontamination carried by return samples or by space systems returning to the Earth Mars is presently one of the main target at exobiology point of view and a lot of missions are operating on travel or scheduled for its exploration Some of them include payload dedicated to the search of life or traces of life and one of the goals of these missions is also to prepare sample return missions with the ultimate objective to walk on Mars Robotic missions to Mars have to comply with planetary protection specifications well known presently and planetary protection programs are implemented with a very good reliability taking into account an experience of 40 years now For sample return missions a set of stringent requirements have been approved by the COSPAR and technical challenges have now to be won in order to preserve Earth biosphere from an eventual contamination risk Sending astronauts on Mars will gather all these constraints added with the human dimension of the mission The fact that the astronauts are huge contamination sources for Mars and that they are also potential carrier of a contamination risk back to Earth add also ethical considerations to be considered For the preparation of a such

  16. Implementing a new EPR lineshape parameter for organic radicals in carbonaceous matter.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourbin, Mathilde; Du, Yann Le; Binet, Laurent; Gourier, Didier

    2013-07-17

    Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) is a non-destructive, non-invasive technique useful for the characterization of organic moieties in primitive carbonaceous matter related to the origin of life. The classical EPR parameters are the peak-to-peak amplitude, the linewidth and the g factor; however, such parameters turn out not to suffice to fully determine a single EPR line. In this paper, we give the definition and practical implementation of a new EPR parameter based on the signal shape that we call the R10 factor. This parameter was originally defined in the case of a single symmetric EPR line and used as a new datation method for organic matter in the field of exobiology. Combined to classical EPR parameters, the proposed shape parameter provides a full description of an EPR spectrum and opens the way to novel applications like datation. Such a parameter is a powerful tool for future EPR studies, not only of carbonaceous matter, but also of any substance which spectrum exhibits a single symmetric line. The paper is a literate program-written using Noweb within the Org-mode as provided by the Emacs editor- and it also describes the full data analysis pipeline that computes the R10 on a real EPR spectrum.

  17. Planetary Habitability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kasting, James F.

    1997-01-01

    This grant was entitled 'Planetary Habitability' and the work performed under it related to elucidating the conditions that lead to habitable, i.e. Earth-like, planets. Below are listed publications for the past two and a half years that came out of this work. The main thrusts of the research involved: (1) showing under what conditions atmospheric O2 and O3 can be considered as evidence for life on a planet's surface; (2) determining whether CH4 may have played a role in warming early Mars; (3) studying the effect of varying UV levels on Earth-like planets around different types of stars to see whether this would pose a threat to habitability; and (4) studying the effect of chaotic obliquity variations on planetary climates and determining whether planets that experienced such variations might still be habitable. Several of these topics involve ongoing research that has been carried out under a new grant number, but which continues to be funded by NASA's Exobiology program.

  18. The Europa Ocean Discovery mission

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Edwards, B.C. [Los Alamos National Lab., NM (United States); Chyba, C.F. [Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States); Abshire, J.B. [National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Greenbelt, MD (United States). Goddard Space Flight Center] [and others

    1997-06-01

    Since it was first proposed that tidal heating of Europa by Jupiter might lead to liquid water oceans below Europa`s ice cover, there has been speculation over the possible exobiological implications of such an ocean. Liquid water is the essential ingredient for life as it is known, and the existence of a second water ocean in the Solar System would be of paramount importance for seeking the origin and existence of life beyond Earth. The authors present here a Discovery-class mission concept (Europa Ocean Discovery) to determine the existence of a liquid water ocean on Europa and to characterize Europa`s surface structure. The technical goal of the Europa Ocean Discovery mission is to study Europa with an orbiting spacecraft. This goal is challenging but entirely feasible within the Discovery envelope. There are four key challenges: entering Europan orbit, generating power, surviving long enough in the radiation environment to return valuable science, and complete the mission within the Discovery program`s launch vehicle and budget constraints. The authors will present here a viable mission that meets these challenges.

  19. Cosmic Evolution: The History of an Idea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dick, S. J.

    2004-12-01

    Cosmic evolution has become the conceptual framework within which modern astronomy is undertaken, and is the guiding principle of major NASA programs such as Origins and Astrobiology. While there are 19th- and early 20th century antecedents, as in the work of Robert Chambers, Herbert Spencer and Lawrence Henderson, it was only at mid-20th century that full-blown cosmic evolution began to be articulated and accepted as a research paradigm extending from the Big Bang to life, intelligence and the evolution of culture. Harlow Shapley was particularly important in spreading the idea to the public in the 1950s, and NASA embraced the idea in the 1970s as part of its SETI program and later its exobiology and astrobiology programs. Eric Chaisson, Carl Sagan and others were early proponents of cosmic evolution, and it continues to be elaborated in ever more subtle form as a research program and a philosophy. It has even been termed "Genesis for the 21st century." This paper documents the origin and development of the idea and offers a glimpse of where it could lead if cultural evolution is taken seriously, possibly leading to the concept of a postbiological universe.

  20. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography With Indexes. Supplement 499

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP#1999-7011) lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth#s atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract. The NASA CASI price code table, addresses of organizations, and document availability information are included before the abstract section. Two indexes-subject and author are included after the abstract section.

  1. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 485

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP-1999-7011) lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract. The NASA CASI price code table, addresses of organizations, and document availability information are included before the abstract section. Two indexes-subject and author are included after the abstract section.

  2. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography With Indexes. Supplement 506

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP#2000-7011) lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract. The NASA CASI price code table, addresses of organizations, and document availability information are included before the abstract section. Two indexes- subject and author are included after the abstract section.

  3. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 494

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract. The NASA CASI price code table, addresses of organizations, and document availability information are included before the abstract section. Two indexes--subject and author are included after the abstract section.

  4. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 496

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP#2000-7011) lists reports, articles, and other documents recently announced in the NASA STI Database. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which humans are subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth#s atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Such related topics as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors receive appropriate attention. Applied research receives the most emphasis, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion. Each entry in the publication consists of a standard bibliographic citation accompanied, in most cases, by an abstract. The NASA CASI price code table, addresses of organizations, and document availability information are included before the abstract section. Two indexes#subject and author are included after the abstract section.

  5. From Field to Laboratory: A New Database Approach for Linking Microbial Field Ecology with Laboratory Studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bebout, Leslie; Keller, R.; Miller, S.; Jahnke, L.; DeVincenzi, D. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The Ames Exobiology Culture Collection Database (AECC-DB) has been developed as a collaboration between microbial ecologists and information technology specialists. It allows for extensive web-based archiving of information regarding field samples to document microbial co-habitation of specific ecosystem micro-environments. Documentation and archiving continues as pure cultures are isolated, metabolic properties determined, and DNA extracted and sequenced. In this way metabolic properties and molecular sequences are clearly linked back to specific isolates and the location of those microbes in the ecosystem of origin. Use of this database system presents a significant advancement over traditional bookkeeping wherein there is generally little or no information regarding the environments from which microorganisms were isolated. Generally there is only a general ecosystem designation (i.e., hot-spring). However within each of these there are a myriad of microenvironments with very different properties and determining exactly where (which microenvironment) a given microbe comes from is critical in designing appropriate isolation media and interpreting physiological properties. We are currently using the database to aid in the isolation of a large number of cyanobacterial species and will present results by PI's and students demonstrating the utility of this new approach.

  6. USSR Space Life Sciences Digest, issue 8

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hooke, L. R. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor); Teeter, R. (Editor)

    1985-01-01

    This is the eighth issue of NASA's USSR Space Life Sciences Digest. It contains abstracts of 48 papers recently published in Russian language periodicals and bound collections and of 10 new Soviet monographs. Selected abstracts are illustrated with figures and tables. Additional features include reviews of two Russian books on radiobiology and a description of the latest meeting of an international working group on remote sensing of the Earth. Information about English translations of Soviet materials available to readers is provided. The topics covered in this issue have been identified as relevant to 33 areas of aerospace medicine and space biology. These areas are: adaptation, biological rhythms, biospherics, body fluids, botany, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, cosmonaut training, cytology, endocrinology, enzymology, equipment and instrumentation, exobiology, gastrointestinal system, genetics, group dynamics, habitability and environment effects, hematology, human performance, immunology, life support systems, man-machine systems, mathematical modeling, metabolism, microbiology, musculoskeletal system, neurophysiology, nutrition, operational medicine, personnel selection, psychology, reproductive biology, and space biology and medicine.

  7. Astrobiology in culture: the search for extraterrestrial life as "science".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Billings, Linda

    2012-10-01

    This analysis examines the social construction of authority, credibility, and legitimacy for exobiology/astrobiology and, in comparison, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), considering English-language conceptions of these endeavors in scientific culture and popular culture primarily in the United States. The questions that define astrobiology as a scientific endeavor are multidisciplinary in nature, and this endeavor is broadly appealing to public audiences as well as to the scientific community. Thus, it is useful to examine astrobiology in culture-in scientific culture, official culture, and popular culture. A researcher may explore science in culture, science as culture, by analyzing its rhetoric, the primary means that people use to construct their social realities-their cultural environment, as it were. This analysis follows this path, considering scientific and public interest in astrobiology and SETI and focusing on scientific and official constructions of the two endeavors. This analysis will also consider whether and how scientific and public conceptions of astrobiology and SETI, which are related but at the same time separate endeavors, converge or diverge and whether and how these convergences or divergences affect the scientific authority, credibility, and legitimacy of these endeavors.

  8. New perspectives for organic chemistry and biochemistry in VUV: reaction kinetics, chirality and thermochemistry. Summaries

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nahon, Laurent; Field, David; Gerber, Thomas; Knopp, Gregor; Beaud, Paul; Radi, Peter; Tulej, Marek; Dedonder-Lardeux, Claude; Jung, J.M.; Laprevote, Olivier; Thissen, Roland; Le Barbu, K.; Lahmani, F.; Zehnacker, A.; Maurizot, Jean Claude; Barbier, Bernard; Kagan, Henri B.

    2001-10-01

    The aim of this workshop was to examine the conditions of use of VUV for the study of complex molecular systems, and notably bio-molecules, a domain which is greatly expanding. The conclusions of this one-day workshop should allow to define new fields of utilization of the synchrotron radiation in VUV, to precise certain performances that are needed for the transferred line, to establish the complementarities with other VUV sources (lasers, free electron lasers, lamps) and to determine the eventual need for a second low energy light line at SOLEIL. The titles of the various abstract papers presented are (two papers are in English, the rest is in French): SU5, a high resolution and variable polarization VUV line that should be transferred at SOLEIL; Interstellar organic chemistry (in English); Application of spectroscopic techniques in the VUV to combustion relevant molecules (in English); Gaseous phase reaction kinetics (bi-molecular reactions in collision and in aggregates); Liquids of biological interest (excitation and relaxation close to the ionization threshold); Successes and impediments in protein mass spectrometry (the potential contribution of VUV synchrotron radiation); Stereo-specific effects; Complexes between chiral molecules; circular dichroism of biomolecules; Exobiology; asymmetric synthesis (principles and recent results)

  9. Exploring the living universe: A strategy for space life sciences

    Science.gov (United States)

    1988-01-01

    The status and goals of NASA's life sciences programs are examined. Ways and mean for attaining these goals are suggested. The report emphasizes that a stronger life sciences program is imperative if the U.S. space policy is to construct a permanently manned space station and achieve its stated goal of expanding the human presence beyond earth orbit into the solar system. The same considerations apply in regard to the other major goal of life sciences: to study the biological processes and life in the universe. A principal recommendation of the report is for NASA to expand its program of ground- and space-based research contributing to resolving questions about physiological deconditioning, radiation exposure, potential psychological difficulties, and life support requirements that may limit stay times for personnel on the Space Station and complicate missions of more extended duration. Other key recommendations call for strengthening programs of biological systems research in: controlled ecological life support systems for humans in space, earth systems central to understanding the effects on the earth's environment of both natural and human activities, and exobiology.

  10. SETI - A Scientific Critique and a Proposal for Further Observational Modes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellery, A.; Tough, A.; Darling, D.

    The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is one of the most exciting and fundamental scientific endeavours that the human race has undertaken. It falls under the banner of scientific research (unlike UFOlogy which must be classed as “pseudo-science”) but it is not clear that it follows the scientific method. Like astrobiology (also known as exobiology), it lacks a well-defined subject-matter in the form of physical evidence. However, although astrobiology is supported by a single data-set of terrestrial extremophile evidence and based upon extrapolation of physical mechanisms (life as a physico-chemical process), SETI is not. SETI is limited to a single data-point - the existence of ourselves as the sole intelligent inhabitants of Earth. To extrapolate from this is unwarranted as human intelligence is based on a unique evolutionary pathway (intelligence emerged through a contingent, historical process). We examine this problem and attempt to ascertain whether SETI is a scientific endeavour or whether it is more closely associated with other modes of human enquiry. In doing so, we review the SETI literature with an extensive bibiliography. We further suggest that the most appropriate course of action for scientific SETI is to diversify its experimental/observational techniques to resolve the Fermi paradox rather than remain reliant on the single mode of investigation currently adopted - radio astronomy.

  11. Is there life out there ? - A new series for the ESA's Web TV

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clervoy, J. F.; Coliolo, F.

    2012-09-01

    The European Space Agency, ESA, is preparing a new outreach project: a series of short videos for the ESA's Web TV dedicated to the search for life in the Universe. The rationale behind this pilot project is to use stunning images to attract the attention together with a scientific content accessible to people of varying ages, education levels and cultural outlook. We intent to work with scientists across Europe in order to bring the public on a journey from the boundaries of the Cosmos to the core of the Earth looking for the ingredients necessary for life to form and evolve. Our main objectives are: to share discovery, curiosity and sense of adventure in order to make the public a player in the quest of knowledge about who we are, and where do we come from; to educate and engage different target audiences about European space science and exploration activities; encourage international partnerships. I will present you the first trailer that we have realised with two scientists: André Brack, Astrobiologist, Honorary Director of Research at the CNRS, Orleans, France and Gian Gabriele Ori, Research professor in Geology, and Director of the IRSPS, International Reaserch School of Planetary Science, Pescara, Italy. This first presentation gives an overview of the « exobiological » places beyond the Earth and highlights the importance of comparative planetology for better understand our planet. We would like to share with you ideas and advices in order to produce and diffuse this series in the most efficient way.

  12. Perspectives of biotechnologies based on dormancy phenomenon for space researches

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alekseev, V.; Sychev, V.; Layus, D.; Levinsky, M.; Novikova, N.; Zakhodnova, T.

    Long term space missions will require a renewable source of food and an efficient method to recycle oxygen Plants especially aquatic micro algae provide an obvious solution to these problems However long duration plant growth and reproduction in space that is necessary for transportation of a control ecological life support system CELSS from Earth to other planets are problematic The introduction of heterotrophs in space CELSS is a more formidable problem as the absence of gravity creates additional difficulties for their life Dormancy phenomenon protected a great many animals and plants in harsh environmental conditions within a special resting phases of life cycle lasting from months up to hundred years This phenomenon can be quite perspective as a tool to overcome difficulties with CELSS transportation in space missions Cryptobiotic stages of microbes fungi unicellular algae and protists can survive in open space conditions that is important for interplanetary quarantine and biological security inside spacecraft Searching for life outside the Earth at such planet like Mars with extremely variable environment should be oriented on dormancy as crucial phases of a life cycle in such organisms Five major research programs aimed on study dormancy phenomenon for exobiology purposes and creation of new biotechnologies are discussed List of species candidate components of CELSS with dormancy in their life cycle used in space experiments at the Russian segment of International Space Station now includes 26 species from bacteria to fish The

  13. Research and Technology 1997

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    This report highlights the challenging work accomplished during fiscal year 1997 by Ames research scientists and engineers. The work is divided into accomplishments that support the goals of NASA s four Strategic Enterprises: Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology, Space Science, Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS), and Earth Science. NASA Ames Research Center s research effort in the Space, Earth, and HEDS Enterprises is focused i n large part to support Ames lead role for Astrobiology, which broadly defined is the scientific study of the origin, distribution, and future of life in the universe. This NASA initiative in Astrobiology is a broad science effort embracing basic research, technology development, and flight missions. Ames contributions to the Space Science Enterprise are focused in the areas of exobiology, planetary systems, astrophysics, and space technology. Ames supports the Earth Science Enterprise by conducting research and by developing technology with the objective of expanding our knowledge of the Earth s atmosphere and ecosystems. Finallv, Ames supports the HEDS Enterprise by conducting research, managing spaceflight projects, and developing technologies. A key objective is to understand the phenomena surrounding the effects of gravity on living things. Ames has also heen designated the Agency s Center of Evcellence for Information Technnlogv. The three cornerstones of Information Technology research at Ames are automated reasoning, human-centered computing, and high performance computing and networking.

  14. Carbon and hydrogen isotopic composition of methane and C2+ alkanes in electrical spark discharge: implications for identifying sources of hydrocarbons in terrestrial and extraterrestrial settings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Telling, Jon; Lacrampe-Couloume, Georges; Sherwood Lollar, Barbara

    2013-05-01

    The low-molecular-weight alkanes--methane, ethane, propane, and butane--are found in a wide range of terrestrial and extraterrestrial settings. The development of robust criteria for distinguishing abiogenic from biogenic alkanes is essential for current investigations of Mars' atmosphere and for future exobiology missions to other planets and moons. Here, we show that alkanes synthesized during gas-phase radical recombination reactions in electrical discharge experiments have values of δ(2)H(methane)>δ(2)H(ethane)>δ(2)H(propane), similar to those of the carbon isotopes. The distribution of hydrogen isotopes in gas-phase radical reactions is likely due to kinetic fractionations either (i) from the preferential incorporation of (1)H into longer-chain alkanes due to the more rapid rate of collisions of the smaller (1)H-containing molecules or (ii) by secondary ion effects. Similar δ(13)C(C1-C2+) and δ(2)H(C1-C2+) patterns may be expected in a range of extraterrestrial environments where gas-phase radical reactions dominate, including interstellar space, the atmosphere and liquid hydrocarbon lakes of Saturn's moon Titan, and the outer atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. Radical recombination reactions at high temperatures and pressures may provide an explanation for the combined reversed δ(13)C(C1-C2+) and δ(2)H(C1-C2+) patterns of terrestrial alkanes documented at a number of high-temperature/pressure crustal sites.

  15. Chemical evolution and the origin of life: cumulative keyword subject index 1970-1986

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roy, A. C.; Powers, J. V.; Rummel, J. D. (Principal Investigator)

    1990-01-01

    This cumulative subject index encompasses the subject indexes of the bibliographies on Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life that were first published in 1970 and have continued through publication of the 1986 bibliography supplement. Early bibliographies focused on experimental and theoretical material dealing directly with the concepts of chemical evolution and the origin of life, excluding the broader areas of exobiology, biological evolution, and geochemistry. In recent years, these broader subject areas have also been incorporated as they appear in literature searches relating to chemical evolution and the origin of life, although direct attempts have not been made to compile all of the citations in these broad areas. The keyword subject indexes have also undergone an analogous change in scope. Compilers of earlier bibliographies used the most specific term available in producing the subject index. Compilers of recent bibliographies have used a number of broad terms relating to the overall subject content of each citation and specific terms where appropriate. The subject indexes of these 17 bibliographies have, in general, been cumulatively compiled exactly as they originally appeared. However, some changes have been made in an attempt to correct errors, combine terms, and provide more meaningful terms.

  16. Pathways of evolution for man and machine

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mclaughlin, W. I.

    1983-01-01

    A simplified model of the future is introduced in order to examine the relations between man, machine, and extraterrestrial intelligence. The observed lack of extraterrestrials on earth is used as a boundary condition for the model. Two exobiological conclusions are obtained: (1) advanced extraterrestrials exist but are difficult to observe or to distinguish from natural phenomena, (2) lower level, man-like extraterrestrials, which are potentially observable, are rare in the Universe because they are rapidly replaced in the evolutinary sequence by the intelligent machines which they create. The decline of man is inferred and may take place as soon as 100 years from now or as long as 100,000 years from the present time. Thus, we are a short-lived species, having a life expectancy of only a million years. A note is appended on the rationale and methods of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence in light of the above calculations. The Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani systems present favourable opportunities for a radio-search experiment in 1987 and 1988, respectively.

  17. Extraterrestrial organic chemistry: from the interstellar medium to the origins of life. Part 2: complex organic chemistry in the environment of planets and satellites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raulin, F; Kobayashi, K

    2001-01-01

    During COSPAR'00 in Warsaw, Poland, in the frame of Sub-Commission F.3 events (Planetary Biology and Origins of Life), part of COSPAR Commission F (Life Sciences as Related to Space), and Commission B events (Space Studies of the Earth-Moon System, Planets, and Small Bodies of the Solar System) a large joint symposium (F.3.4/B0.8) was held on extraterrestrial organic chemistry. Part 2 of this symposium was devoted to complex organic chemistry in the environment of planets and satellites. The aim of this event was to cover and review new data which have been recently obtained and to give new insights on data which are expected in the near future to increase our knowledge of the complex organic chemistry occurring in several planets and satellites of the Solar System, outside the earth, and their implications for exobiology and life in the universe. The event was composed of two main parts. The first part was mainly devoted to the inner planets and Europa and the search for signatures of life or organics in those environments. The second part was related to the study of the outer solar system.

  18. An Archean Biosphere Initiative

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anbar, A. D.; Boyd, E. S.; Buick, R.; Claire, M.; DesMarais, D.; Domagal-Goldman, D.; Eigenbrode, J.; Erwin, D.; Freeman, K.; Hazen, R.; hide

    2011-01-01

    The search for life on extrasolar planets will necessarily focus on the imprints of biolgy on the composition of planetary atmospheres. The most notable biological imprint on the modern terrestrial atmosphere is the presence of 21 % O2, However, during most of the past 4 billion years, life and the surface environments on Earth were profoundly different than they are today. It is therefore a major goal of the astrobiology community to ascertain how the O2 content of the atmosphere has varied with time. and to understand the causes of these variations. The NAI and NASA Exobiology program have played critical roles in developing our current understanding of the ancient Earth's atmosphere, supporting diverse observational, analytical, and computational research in geoscience, life science, and related fields. In the present incarnation of the NAI, ongoing work is investigating (i) variations in atmospheric O2 in the Archean to the Cambrian, (ii) characterization of the redox state of the oceans shortly before, during and after the Great Oxidation Event (GOE), and (iii) unraveling the complex connections between environmental oxygenation, global climate, and the evolution of life.

  19. Testing a Mars science outpost in the Antarctic dry valleys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andersen, D. T.; Mckay, C. P.; Wharton, R. A.; Rummel, J. D.

    1992-01-01

    Field research conducted in the Antarctic has been providing insights about the nature of Mars in the science disciplines of exobiology and geology. Located in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of southern Victoria Land (160 deg and 164 deg E longitude and 76 deg 30 min and 78 deg 30 min S latitude), research outposts are inhabited by teams of 4-6 scientists. It is proposed that the design of these outposts be expanded to enable meaningful tests of many of the systems that will be needed for the successful conduct of exploration activities on Mars. Although there are some important differences between the environment in the Antarctic dry valleys and on Mars, the many similarities and particularly the field science activities, make the dry valleys a useful terrestrial analog to conditions on Mars. Three areas have been identified for testing at a small science outpost in the dry valleys: (1) studying human factors and physiology in an isolated environment; (2) testing emerging technologies (e.g. innovative power management systems, advanced life support facilities including partial bioregenerative life support systems for water recycling and food growth, telerobotics, etc.); and (3) conducting basic scientific research that will enhance understanding of Mars while contributing to the planning for human exploration. It is suggested that an important early result of a Mars habitat program will be the experience gained by interfacing humans and their supporting technology in a remote and stressful environment.

  20. Potential and limits of Raman spectroscopy for carotenoid detection in microorganisms: implications for astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jehlička, Jan; Edwards, Howell G. M.; Osterrothová, Kateřina; Novotná, Julie; Nedbalová, Linda; Kopecký, Jiří; Němec, Ivan; Oren, Aharon

    2014-01-01

    In this paper, it is demonstrated how Raman spectroscopy can be used to detect different carotenoids as possible biomarkers in various groups of microorganisms. The question which arose from previous studies concerns the level of unambiguity of discriminating carotenoids using common Raman microspectrometers. A series of laboratory-grown microorganisms of different taxonomic affiliation was investigated, such as halophilic heterotrophic bacteria, cyanobacteria, the anoxygenic phototrophs, the non-halophilic heterotrophs as well as eukaryotes (Ochrophyta, Rhodophyta and Chlorophyta). The data presented show that Raman spectroscopy is a suitable tool to assess the presence of carotenoids of these organisms in cultures. Comparison is made with the high-performance liquid chromatography approach of analysing pigments in extracts. Direct measurements on cultures provide fast and reliable identification of the pigments. Some of the carotenoids studied are proposed as tracers for halophiles, in contrast with others which can be considered as biomarkers of other genera. The limits of application of Raman spectroscopy are discussed for a few cases where the current Raman spectroscopic approach does not allow discriminating structurally very similar carotenoids. The database reported can be used for applications in geobiology and exobiology for the detection of pigment signals in natural settings. PMID:25368348

  1. The Role of Ultrahigh Resolution Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry (FT-MS) in Astrobiology-Related Research: Analysis of Meteorites and Tholins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Somogyi, Árpád; Thissen, Roland; Orthous-Daunay, Francois-Régis; Vuitton, Véronique

    2016-03-24

    It is an important but also a challenging analytical problem to understand the chemical composition and structure of prebiotic organic matter that is present in extraterrestrial materials. Its formation, evolution and content in the building blocks ("seeds") for more complex molecules, such as proteins and DNA, are key questions in the field of exobiology. Ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry is one of the best analytical techniques that can be applied because it provides reliable information on the chemical composition and structure of individual components of complex organic mixtures. Prebiotic organic material is delivered to Earth by meteorites or generated in laboratories in simulation (model) experiments that mimic space or atmospheric conditions. Recent representative examples for ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry studies using Fourier-transform (FT) mass spectrometers such as Orbitrap and ion cyclotron resonance (ICR) mass spectrometers are shown and discussed in the present article, including: (i) the analysis of organic matter of meteorites; (ii) modeling atmospheric processes in ICR cells; and (iii) the structural analysis of laboratory made tholins that might be present in the atmosphere and surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

  2. The Role of Ultrahigh Resolution Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry (FT-MS in Astrobiology-Related Research: Analysis of Meteorites and Tholins

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Árpád Somogyi

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available It is an important but also a challenging analytical problem to understand the chemical composition and structure of prebiotic organic matter that is present in extraterrestrial materials. Its formation, evolution and content in the building blocks (“seeds” for more complex molecules, such as proteins and DNA, are key questions in the field of exobiology. Ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry is one of the best analytical techniques that can be applied because it provides reliable information on the chemical composition and structure of individual components of complex organic mixtures. Prebiotic organic material is delivered to Earth by meteorites or generated in laboratories in simulation (model experiments that mimic space or atmospheric conditions. Recent representative examples for ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry studies using Fourier-transform (FT mass spectrometers such as Orbitrap and ion cyclotron resonance (ICR mass spectrometers are shown and discussed in the present article, including: (i the analysis of organic matter of meteorites; (ii modeling atmospheric processes in ICR cells; and (iii the structural analysis of laboratory made tholins that might be present in the atmosphere and surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

  3. The Role of Ultrahigh Resolution Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry (FT-MS) in Astrobiology-Related Research: Analysis of Meteorites and Tholins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Somogyi, Árpád; Thissen, Roland; Orthous-Daunay, Francois-Régis; Vuitton, Véronique

    2016-01-01

    It is an important but also a challenging analytical problem to understand the chemical composition and structure of prebiotic organic matter that is present in extraterrestrial materials. Its formation, evolution and content in the building blocks (“seeds”) for more complex molecules, such as proteins and DNA, are key questions in the field of exobiology. Ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry is one of the best analytical techniques that can be applied because it provides reliable information on the chemical composition and structure of individual components of complex organic mixtures. Prebiotic organic material is delivered to Earth by meteorites or generated in laboratories in simulation (model) experiments that mimic space or atmospheric conditions. Recent representative examples for ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry studies using Fourier-transform (FT) mass spectrometers such as Orbitrap and ion cyclotron resonance (ICR) mass spectrometers are shown and discussed in the present article, including: (i) the analysis of organic matter of meteorites; (ii) modeling atmospheric processes in ICR cells; and (iii) the structural analysis of laboratory made tholins that might be present in the atmosphere and surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. PMID:27023520

  4. Critical issues in the history, philosophy, and sociology of astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dick, Steven J

    2012-10-01

    Fifty years after serious scientific research began in the field of exobiology, and forty years after serious historical research began on the subject of extraterrestrial life, this paper identifies and examines some of the most important issues in the history, philosophy, and sociology of what is today known as astrobiology. As in the philosophy of science in general, and in the philosophies of particular sciences, critical issues in the philosophy and sociology of astrobiology are both stimulated and illuminated by history. Among those issues are (1) epistemological issues such as the status of astrobiology as a science, the problematic nature of evidence and inference, and the limits of science; (2) metaphysical/scientific issues, including the question of defining the fundamental concepts of life, mind, intelligence, and culture in a universal context; the role of contingency and necessity in the origin of these fundamental phenomena; and whether or not the universe is in some sense fine-tuned for life and perhaps biocentric; (3) societal issues such as the theological, ethical, and worldview impacts of the discovery of microbial or intelligent life; and the question of whether the search for extraterrestrial life should be pursued at all, and with what precautions; and (4) issues related to the sociology of scientific knowledge, including the diverse attitudes and assumptions of different scientific communities and different cultures to the problem of life beyond Earth, the public "will to believe," and the formation of the discipline of astrobiology. All these overlapping issues are framed by the concept of cosmic evolution-the 13.7 billion year Master Narrative of the Universe-which may result in a physical, biological, or postbiological universe and determine the long-term destiny of humanity.

  5. Planetary and Space Simulation Facilities PSI at DLR for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rabbow, E.; Rettberg, P.; Panitz, C.; Reitz, G.

    2008-09-01

    Ground based experiments, conducted in the controlled planetary and space environment simulation facilities PSI at DLR, are used to investigate astrobiological questions and to complement the corresponding experiments in LEO, for example on free flying satellites or on space exposure platforms on the ISS. In-orbit exposure facilities can only accommodate a limited number of experiments for exposure to space parameters like high vacuum, intense radiation of galactic and solar origin and microgravity, sometimes also technically adapted to simulate extraterrestrial planetary conditions like those on Mars. Ground based experiments in carefully equipped and monitored simulation facilities allow the investigation of the effects of simulated single environmental parameters and selected combinations on a much wider variety of samples. In PSI at DLR, international science consortia performed astrobiological investigations and space experiment preparations, exposing organic compounds and a wide range of microorganisms, reaching from bacterial spores to complex microbial communities, lichens and even animals like tardigrades to simulated planetary or space environment parameters in pursuit of exobiological questions on the resistance to extreme environments and the origin and distribution of life. The Planetary and Space Simulation Facilities PSI of the Institute of Aerospace Medicine at DLR in Köln, Germany, providing high vacuum of controlled residual composition, ionizing radiation of a X-ray tube, polychromatic UV radiation in the range of 170-400 nm, VIS and IR or individual monochromatic UV wavelengths, and temperature regulation from -20°C to +80°C at the sample size individually or in selected combinations in 9 modular facilities of varying sizes are presented with selected experiments performed within.

  6. From Ozma to Cyclops: The Beginnings of American SETI, 1959-70

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sullivan, W. T.

    2002-12-01

    The modern era in SETI (Search for Extraterrstrial Intelligence) began with two independent proposals in the late 1950s. In 1959 Phillip Morrison and Guiseppe Cocconi at Cornell published a short theoretical paper in ``Nature," while simultaneously Frank Drake at the brand-new NRAO in West Virginia developed a receiver for the first radio observations, called Project Ozma. In 1960 Drake monitored two nearby solar-like stars, Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani, for several months with a scanning one-channel radiometer at 21-cm on an 85-ft diameter dish. Drake's interest, along with that of his boss Otto Struve, then led to a remarkable small meeting at Green Bank in 1961, at which time the Drake Equation was first put forth as an organizing concept for estimating the possible number of extraterrestrial civilizations. The next milestone was the appearance of ``Intelligent Life in the Universe" by Iosif Shklovsky and Carl Sagan (1966), which widely circulated the idea of SETI. The growth of NASA's exobiology program (although primarily focused on microbial life and the origin of life) throughout the 1960s also legitimized the field and culminated in the Viking mission to Mars in 1976. In 1970 NASA sponsored a large summer workshop charged with the task of designing a feasible radio telescope for SETI. The resulting report, ``Project Cyclops: A Design Study of a System for Detecting Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life" (1971), was the first detailed look at all aspects of the problem, and set the tone for future NASA involvement in SETI. This talk will briefly cover this history, in particular the radio astronomy aspects, and will include a portion of a tape recording of a talk given by Drake in 1960 even as Project Ozma was in progress.

  7. Impossible Predictions of the Unprecedented: Analogy, History, and the Work of Prognostication

    Science.gov (United States)

    Denning, Kathryn

    At the beginning of exobiology and SETI as research programs circa 1960, it was reasonable and responsible for scientists and others to consider the potential effects of a detection of other life, or contact with it, upon humanity. It is no coincidence that this was a time of reckoning with the power of science and technology. The Cold War was settling in, space programs were beginning, and the technologies of war and those of discovery were then, as now, intertwined, in a way that made Carl Sagan, Philip Morrison, Joshua Lederberg, and others, concerned for humanity's future, and the future of life. Those concerns are as well-founded as ever. However, 50 years on, after half a century of predictions and untested hypotheses, we still only know that a detection of extraterrestrial life could come tomorrow, in the next century, or never. Many potential scenarios have been identified and explored, planetary protection protocols have been implemented for astrobiology, policy concerning SETI detections has been created and debated, and some valuable empirical work has been done concerning potential cultural reactions. We might now reasonably ask: what are our real goals here? And do they match what we are actually accomplishing? Are these exercises still beneficial, or are they reaching the point of diminishing returns? Might there be undesirable effects of prognostications about detection and contact? Elsewhere, I have discussed at some length what I think can sensibly be done to prepare for a detection. This leaves me with a further argument to make here: first, that the use of historical analogies of intercultural contact on Earth to predict or explore the potential consequences of contact with ETI may now be essentially useless or perhaps worse than useless; second, that the longstanding practice of prediction about contact now also invites scrutiny in terms of its utility; and third, that turning our attention to pressing topics at the intersection of astrobiology

  8. Titan's Primordial Soup: Formation of Amino Acids via Low Temperature Hydrolysis of Tholins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neish, Catherine; Somogyi, Á.; Smith, M. A.

    2009-09-01

    Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is a world rich in the "stuff of life". Reactions occurring in its dense nitrogen-methane atmosphere produce a wide variety of organic molecules, which subsequently rain down onto its surface. Water - thought to be another important ingredient for life - is likewise abundant on Titan. Theoretical models of Titan's formation predict that its interior consists of an ice I layer several tens of kilometers thick overlying a liquid ammonia-rich water layer several hundred kilometers thick (Tobie et al., 2005). Though its surface temperature of 94K dictates that Titan is on average too cold for liquid water to persist at its surface, melting caused by impacts and/or cryovolcanism may lead to its episodic availability. Impact melt pools on Titan would likely remain liquid for 102 - 104 years before freezing (O'Brien et al., 2005). The combination of complex organic molecules and transient locales of liquid water make Titan an interesting natural laboratory for studying prebiotic chemistry. In this work, we sought to determine what biomolecules might be formed under conditions analogous to those found in transient liquid water environments on Titan. We hydrolyzed Titan organic haze analogues, or "tholins", in 13 wt. % ammonia-water at 253K and 293K for a year. Using a combination of high resolution mass spectroscopy and tandem mass spectroscopy fragmentation techniques, four amino acids were identified in the hydrolyzed tholin sample. These four species have been assigned as the amino acids asparagine, aspartic acid, glutamine, and glutamic acid. This represents the first detection of biologically relevant molecules created under conditions similar to those found in impact melt pools and cryolavas on Titan. Future missions to Titan should therefore carry instrumentation capable of detecting amino acids and other prebiotically relevant molecules on its surface This work was supported by the NASA Exobiology Program.

  9. Hot reactions of 13N in solid methane at 77 K

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fiergolla, J.; Nebeling, B.; Roessler, K.

    1987-09-01

    The chemical reactions of recoil- 13 N were studied in solid methane at 77 K. 13 N was generated via the the nuclear reaction 12 C(d,n) 13 N. The radiation dose deliverd by the 8.5 MeV deuterons amounted to D * = 0.6 eV per target molecule. The products formed by high energy chemical processes (hot chemistry) were analyzed by radio-gaschromatography. 13 NH 3 with 52% and CH 3 13 NH 2 with 25% radiochemical yield were found to be the main products. HC 13 N was not formed, but CH 3 13 CN amounts to 4%. For the more complex products carbon chain prolongation is prefered over multiple methylation such as show the yields of 8% for C 2 H 5 13 NH 2 and 3% (CH 3 ) 2 13 NH. (CH 3 ) 3 N was not detected. The formation of 13 NH 3 is due to hydrogen abstraction, that of CH 3 13 NH 2 due to insertion of NH radical into the C-H bond of CH 4 . Another, however, less probable pathway could be the insertion of 13 N into methane. The methylamine radical may react with another methane molecule via hydrogen transfer to methylamine or attack to CH 4 to dimethylamine. The 13 N-products were formed with high radiochemical purity and can potentially be applied for the synthesis of 13 N-radiopharmaceuticals. The reactions studied bear also informations on chemical processes in space (e.g. solar wind interactions with comets or interplanetary dust). 13 N-high energy chemical products are, however, of a less exobiological significance then those formed by hot carbon atoms, e.g. in the 'mirror' system 11 C/NH 3 (s). (orig.) [de

  10. Blood Falls: A novel management approach for a subglacial feature of outstanding scientific importance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carr, J. R.; Penhale, P. A.; Dahood, A.; Biletnikoff, N.; Harris, C. M.

    2012-04-01

    Blood Falls is a subglacial feature located in the ablation zone of the Taylor Glacier, Taylor Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Blood Falls has a unique physical configuration, microbial ecology and geochemistry and consists of a subglacial brine reservoir and an iron-rich, saline surface discharge at the Taylor Glacier terminus. The feature provides a rare opportunity to sample properties of a subglacial reservoir and its ecosystem without the need for direct contact and is a key site for exobiological studies. The Blood Falls subglacial feature is globally unique and of outstanding scientific importance. As such, it warrants special protection from potential damage by drilling and/or surface activities. Moreover, currently subglacial environments are not represented in the Antarctic protected area network. To address these points, the United States National Science Foundation is working with the scientific community to develop at Blood Falls the first subglacial protected area in Antarctica. The protected area aims to maintain the integrity of the Blood Falls system, whilst allowing continued access for scientific and management purposes. Novel management approaches are being designed to protect the values of the site in three dimensions. Specific guidelines on activities conducted within the area, most notably drilling and coring, are being defined in a management plan. This new approach incorporates uncertainties in the location of the Blood Falls brine reservoir and the connectivity of the subglacial hydrological system of the Taylor Glacier. The management approaches employed at Blood Falls draw on the experience of the subglacial research community and potentially offer an effective framework for the protection of other subglacial environments.

  11. Earth's Earliest Ecosystems in the C: The Use of Microbial Mats to Demonstrate General Principles of Scientific Inquiry and Microbial Ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bebout, Brad M.; Bucaria, Robin

    2006-01-01

    Microbial mats are living examples of the most ancient biological communities on Earth. As Earth's earliest ecosystems, they are centrally important to understanding the history of life on our planet and are useful models for the search for life elsewhere. As relatively compact (but complete) ecosystems, microbial mats are also extremely useful for educational activities. Mats may be used to demonstrate a wide variety of concepts in general and microbial ecology, including the biogeochemical cycling of elements, photosynthesis and respiration, and the origin of the Earth's present oxygen containing atmosphere. Microbial mats can be found in a number of common environments accessible to teachers, and laboratory microbial mats can be constructed using materials purchased from biological supply houses. With funding from NASA's Exobiology program, we have developed curriculum and web-based activities centered on the use of microbial mats as tools for demonstrating general principles in ecology, and the scientific process. Our web site (http://microbes.arc.nasa.gov) includes reference materials, lesson plans, and a "Web Lab", featuring living mats maintained in a mini-aquarium. The site also provides information as to how research on microbial mats supports NASA's goals, and various NASA missions. A photo gallery contains images of mats, microscopic views of the organisms that form them, and our own research activities. An animated educational video on the web site uses computer graphic and video microscopy to take students on a journey into a microbial mat. These activities are targeted to a middle school audience and are aligned with the National Science Standards.

  12. Officine Galileo for Mars Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Battistelli, E.; Tacconi, M.

    1999-09-01

    The interest for Mars's exploration is continuously increasing. Officine Galileo is engaged in this endeavor with several programmes. The exobiology is, of course, a stimulating field; presently Officine Galileo is leading a team with Dasa and Tecnospazio, under ESA contract, for the definition of a facility for the search of extinct life on Mars through the detection of indicators of life. The system, to be embarked on a Mars lander, is based on a drill to take rock samples underneath the oxidised soil layer, on a sample preparation and distribution system devoted to condition and bring the sample to a set of analytical instruments to carry out in-situ chemical and mineralogical investigations. The facility benefits of the presence of optical microscope, gas chromatograph, several spectrometers (Raman, Mass, Mossbauer, APX-Ray), and further instruments. In the frame of planetology, Officine Galileo is collaborating with several Principal Investigators to the definition of a set of instruments to be integrated on the Mars 2003 Lander (a NASA-ASI cooperation). A drill (by Tecnospazio), with the main task to collect Mars soil samples for the subsequent storage and return to Earth, will have the capability to perform several soil analyses, e.g. temperature and near infrared reflectivity spectra down to 50 cm depth, surface thermal and electrical conductivity, sounding of electromagnetic properties down to a few hundreds meter, radioactivity. Moreover a kit of instruments for in-situ soil samples analyses if foreseen; it is based on a dust analyser, an IR spectrometer, a thermofluorescence sensor, and a radioactivity analyser. The attention to the Red Planet is growing, in parallel with the findings of present and planned missions. In the following years the technology of Officine Galileo will carry a strong contribution to the science of Mars.

  13. Small Particles Intact Capture Experiment (SPICE)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nishioka, Ken-Ji; Carle, G. C.; Bunch, T. E.; Mendez, David J.; Ryder, J. T.

    1994-01-01

    The Small Particles Intact Capture Experiment (SPICE) will develop technologies and engineering techniques necessary to capture nearly intact, uncontaminated cosmic and interplanetary dust particles (IDP's). Successful capture of such particles will benefit the exobiology and planetary science communities by providing particulate samples that may have survived unaltered since the formation of the solar system. Characterization of these particles may contribute fundamental data to our knowledge of how these particles could have formed into our planet Earth and, perhaps, contributed to the beginnings of life. The term 'uncontaminated' means that captured cosmic and IDP particles are free of organic contamination from the capture process and the term 'nearly intact capture' means that their chemical and elemental components are not materially altered during capture. The key to capturing cosmic and IDP particles that are organic-contamination free and nearly intact is the capture medium. Initial screening of capture media included organic foams, multiple thin foil layers, and aerogel (a silica gel); but, with the exception of aerogel, the requirements of no contamination or nearly intact capture were not met. To ensure no contamination of particles in the capture process, high-purity aerogel was chosen. High-purity aerogel results in high clarity (visual clearness), a useful quality in detection and recovery of embedded captured particles from the aerogel. P. Tsou at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) originally described the use of aerogel for this purpose and reported laboratory test results. He has flown aerogel as a 'GAS-can Lid' payload on STS-47 and is evaluating the results. The Timeband Capture Cell Experiment (TICCE), a Eureca 1 experiment, is also flying aerogel and is scheduled for recovery in late April.

  14. Influence of Planetary Protection Guidelines on Waste Management Operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hogan, John A.; Fisher, John W.; Levri, Julie A.; Wignarajah, Kanapathipi; Race, Margaret S.; Stabekis, Perry D.; Rummel, John D.

    2005-01-01

    Newly outlined missions in the Space Exploration Initiative include extended human habitation on Mars. During these missions, large amounts of waste materials will be generated in solid, liquid and gaseous form. Returning these wastes to Earth will be extremely costly, and will therefore likely remain on Mars. Untreated, these wastes are a reservoir of live/dead organisms and molecules considered to be "biomarkers" i.e., indicators of life). If released to the planetary surface, these materials can potentially confound exobiology experiments and disrupt Martian ecology indefinitely (if existent). Waste management systems must therefore be specifically designed to control release of problematic materials both during the active phase of the mission, and for any specified post-mission duration. To effectively develop waste management requirements for Mars missions, planetary protection guidelines must first be established. While previous policies for Apollo lunar missions exist, it is anticipated that the increased probability of finding evidence of life on Mars, as well as the lengthy mission durations will initially lead to more conservative planetary protection measures. To facilitate the development of overall requirements for both waste management and planetary protection for future missions, a workshop was conducted to identify how these two areas interface, and to establish a preliminary set of planetary protection guidelines that address waste management operations. This paper provides background regarding past and current planetary protection and waste management issues, and their interactions. A summary of the recommended planetary protection guidelines, anticipated ramifications and research needs for waste management system design for both forward (Mars) and backward (Earth) contamination is also provided.

  15. The nitrogen cycle on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mancinelli, Rocco L.

    1989-01-01

    Nirtogen is an essential element for the evolution of life, because it is found in a variety of biologically important molecules. Therefore, N is an important element to study from a exobiological perspective. In particular, fixed nitrogen is the biologically useful form of nitrogen. Fixed nitrogen is generally defines as NH3, NH4(+), NO(x), or N that is chemically bound to either inorganic or organic molecules, and releasable by hydrolysis to NH3 or NH4(+). On Earth, the vast majority of nitrogen exists as N2 in the atmosphere, and not in the fixes form. On early Mars the same situations probably existed. The partial pressure of N2 on early Mars was thought to be 18 mb, significantly less than that of Earth. Dinitrogen can be fixed abiotically by several mechanisms. These mechanisms include thernal shock from meteoritic infall and lightning, as well as the interaction of light and sand containing TiO2 which produces NH3 that would be rapidly destroyed by photolysis and reaction with OH radicals. These mechanisms could have been operative on primitive Mars.The chemical processes effecting these compounds and possible ways of fixing or burying N in the Martian environment are described. Data gathered in this laboratory suggest that the low abundance of nitrogen along (compared to primitive Earth) may not significantly deter the origin and early evolution of a nitrogen utilizing organisms. However, the conditions on current Mars with respect to nitrogen are quite different, and organisms may not be able to utilize all of the available nitrogen.

  16. University of Houston Undergraduate Student Instrumentation Projects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bering, E. A., III; Talbot, R. W.; Hampton, D. L.; Molders, N.; Millan, R. M.; Halford, A. J.; Dunbar, B.; Morris, G. A.; Prince, J.; Gamblin, R.; Ehteshami, A.; Lehnen, J. N.; Greer, M.; Porat, I.; Alozie, M.; Behrend, C. C.; Bias, C.; Fenton, A.; Gunawan, B.; Harrison, W.; Martinez, A.; Mathur, S.; Medillin, M.; Nguyen, T.; Nguyen, T. V.; Nowling, M.; Perez, D.; Pham, M.; Pina, M.; Thomas, G.; Velasquez, B.; Victor, L.

    2017-12-01

    The Undergraduate Student Instrumentation Project (USIP) is a NASA program to engage undergraduate students in rigorous scientific research, for the purposes of innovation and developing the next generation of professionals for an array of fields. The program is student led and executed from initial ideation to research to the design and deployment of scientific payloads. The University of Houston has been selected twice to participate in the USIP programs. The first program (USIP_UH I) ran from 2013 to 2016. USIP_UH II started in January of 2016, with funding starting at the end of May. USIP_UH I (USIP_UH II) at the University of Houston was (is) composed of eight (seven) research teams developing six (seven), distinct, balloon-based scientific instruments. These instruments will contribute to a broad range of geophysical sciences from Very Low Frequency recording and Total Electron Content to exobiology and ozone profiling. USIP_UH I had 12 successful launches with 9 recoveries from Fairbanks, AK in March 2015, and 4 piggyback flights with BARREL 3 from Esrange, Kiruna, Sweden in August, 2015. USIP_UH II had 8 successful launches with 5 recoveries from Fairbanks, AK in March 2017, 3 piggyback flights with BARREL 4 from Esrange, Kiruna, Sweden in August, 2016, and 1 flight each from CSBF and UH. The great opportunity of this program is capitalizing on the proliferation of electronics miniaturization to create new generations of scientific instruments that are smaller and lighter than ever before. This situation allows experiments to be done more cheaply which ultimately allows many more experiments to be done.

  17. Study and development of an achromatic phase shifter for nulling interferometry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Brachet, Frank

    2005-01-01

    The Darwin mission is a project of the European Space Agency that should allow around 2015 the search for extra-solar planets and a spectral analysis of their atmospheres to detect gases and particularly tracers of life. The basic concept of the instrument is a Bracewell nulling interferometer. It allows the high angular resolution and high dynamic range necessary to cancel the light coming from the star to keep the planetary one. The Darwin mission technological key-points require preliminary laboratory experiments to validate each element before any space application. Among these, the π achromatic phase shifter included in the interferometer to cancel the starlight has to be achromatic in the whole Darwin spectral band from 6 to 18 μm. There are many solutions to create this phase shift. This work presents the study and development of one of these techniques based on dispersive prisms and tested on the polychromatic test bench SYNAPSE. After an introduction of Darwin stakes, both from an exo-planetological and exobiological point of view, we introduce different achromatic phase shifter techniques. The concept based on prismatic dispersive plates is then detailed, along with the development of the SYNAPSE test bench working in near infrared. We finally show that this bench allowed to maintain rejection ratio better than 4 000 (corresponding to a 2,5.10 -4 stellar leaks level) in the whole K band (from 2 to 2,5 μm) during several minutes. These results also show that more than the absolute rejection ratio needed in the whole Darwin spectral band, their stability will be the real stake during observations. (author) [fr

  18. Identification of the Beagle 2 lander on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bridges, J. C.; Clemmet, J.; Croon, M.; Sims, M. R.; Pullan, D.; Muller, J.-P.; Tao, Y.; Xiong, S.; Putri, A. R.; Parker, T.; Turner, S. M. R.; Pillinger, J. M.

    2017-10-01

    The 2003 Beagle 2 Mars lander has been identified in Isidis Planitia at 90.43° E, 11.53° N, close to the predicted target of 90.50° E, 11.53° N. Beagle 2 was an exobiology lander designed to look for isotopic and compositional signs of life on Mars, as part of the European Space Agency Mars Express (MEX) mission. The 2004 recalculation of the original landing ellipse from a 3-sigma major axis from 174 km to 57 km, and the acquisition of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) imagery at 30 cm per pixel across the target region, led to the initial identification of the lander in 2014. Following this, more HiRISE images, giving a total of 15, including red and blue-green colours, were obtained over the area of interest and searched, which allowed sub-pixel imaging using super high-resolution techniques. The size (approx. 1.5 m), distinctive multilobed shape, high reflectivity relative to the local terrain, specular reflections, and location close to the centre of the planned landing ellipse led to the identification of the Beagle 2 lander. The shape of the imaged lander, although to some extent masked by the specular reflections in the various images, is consistent with deployment of the lander lid and then some or all solar panels. Failure to fully deploy the panels-which may have been caused by damage during landing-would have prohibited communication between the lander and MEX and commencement of science operations. This implies that the main part of the entry, descent and landing sequence, the ejection from MEX, atmospheric entry and parachute deployment, and landing worked as planned with perhaps only the final full panel deployment failing.

  19. Exploration of a Subsurface Biosphere in a Volcanic Massive Sulfide: Results of the Mars Analog Rio Tinto Drilling Experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoker, C. R.; Stevens, T.; Amils, R.; Fernandez, D.

    2005-12-01

    Biological systems on Earth require three key ingredients-- liquid water, an energy source, and a carbon source, that are found in very few extraterrestrial environments. Previous examples of independent subsurface ecosystems have been found only in basalt aquifers. Such lithotrophic microbial ecosystems (LME) have been proposed as models for steps in the early evolution of Earth's biosphere and for potential biospheres on other planets where the surface is uninhabitable, such as Mars and Europa.. The Mars Analog Rio Tinto Experiment (MARTE) has searched in a volcanic massive sulfide deposit in Rio Tinto Spain for a subsurface biosphere capable of living without sunlight or oxygen and found a subsurface ecosystem driven by the weathering of the massive sulfide deposit (VMS) in which the rock matrix provides sufficient resources to support microbial metabolism, including the vigorous production of H2 by water-rock interactions. Microbial production of methane and sulfate occurred in the sulfide orebody and microbial production of methane and hydrogen sulfide continued in an anoxic plume downgradient from the sulfide ore. Organic carbon concentrations in the parent rock were too low to support microbes. The Rio Tinto system thus represents a new type of subsurface ecosystem with strong relevance for exobiological studies. Commercial drilling was used to reach the aquifer system at 100 m depth and conventional laboratory techniques were used to identify and characterize the biosphere. Then, the life search strategy that led to successful identification of this biosphere was applied to the development of a robotic drilling, core handling, inspection, subsampling, and life detection system built on a prototype planetary lander that was deployed in Rio Tinto Spain in September 2005 to test the capability of a robotic drilling system to search for subsurface life. A remote science team directed the simulation and analyzed the data from the MARTE robotic drill. The results

  20. Hydrolysis of Laboratory Made Tholins in Aqueous Solutions: Implications for Prebiotic Chemistry on Titan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neish, Catherine; Somogyi, Á.; Lunine, J.; Smith, M.

    2008-09-01

    Laboratory experiments that simulate the reactions occurring in Titan's thick nitrogen-methane atmosphere produce complex organic precipitates known as tholins. Tholins have the general formula CxHyNz, and are spectrally similar to Titan's haze. When placed in liquid water, specific water soluble compounds in the tholins have been shown to produce oxygenated organic species with activation energies in the range of 60 ± 10 kJ mol-1 and half-lives between 0.3 and 17 days at 273 K (Neish et al. 2008). Oxygen incorporation into such materials - a necessary step towards the formation of biological molecules - is therefore fast compared to the freezing of impact melts and cryolavas on Titan. The rates quoted above are for reactions occurring in pure liquid water. The composition of impact melts and lavas on Titan are not likely to be pure water, but rather contain a few percent ammonia. Tobie et al. (2005) predict that Titan has a subsurface water layer with an ammonia concentration of 14 wt. % in the present era. The presence of ammonia would likely change the reaction rates and yields of the hydrolysis reactions of tholins. We have therefore extended our work to include the measurement of tholin hydrolysis rate coefficients in ammonia-water solutions. In this work, tholins were synthesized from a 0.98 N2/0.02 CH4 atmosphere in a high voltage AC flow discharge reactor, and dissolved in a 13 wt. % ammonia-water solution. Rates were determined by monitoring intensity changes of select species over time using high resolution FT-ICR MS. Comparisons between rates of similar species observed at different pH will be presented. This work was supported by the NASA Exobiology Program. C. Neish was supported by an NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship.

  1. Identification of the Beagle 2 lander on Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bridges, J C; Clemmet, J; Croon, M; Sims, M R; Pullan, D; Muller, J-P; Tao, Y; Xiong, S; Putri, A R; Parker, T; Turner, S M R; Pillinger, J M

    2017-10-01

    The 2003 Beagle 2 Mars lander has been identified in Isidis Planitia at 90.43° E, 11.53° N, close to the predicted target of 90.50° E, 11.53° N. Beagle 2 was an exobiology lander designed to look for isotopic and compositional signs of life on Mars, as part of the European Space Agency Mars Express (MEX) mission. The 2004 recalculation of the original landing ellipse from a 3-sigma major axis from 174 km to 57 km, and the acquisition of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) imagery at 30 cm per pixel across the target region, led to the initial identification of the lander in 2014. Following this, more HiRISE images, giving a total of 15, including red and blue-green colours, were obtained over the area of interest and searched, which allowed sub-pixel imaging using super high-resolution techniques. The size (approx. 1.5 m), distinctive multilobed shape, high reflectivity relative to the local terrain, specular reflections, and location close to the centre of the planned landing ellipse led to the identification of the Beagle 2 lander. The shape of the imaged lander, although to some extent masked by the specular reflections in the various images, is consistent with deployment of the lander lid and then some or all solar panels. Failure to fully deploy the panels-which may have been caused by damage during landing-would have prohibited communication between the lander and MEX and commencement of science operations. This implies that the main part of the entry, descent and landing sequence, the ejection from MEX, atmospheric entry and parachute deployment, and landing worked as planned with perhaps only the final full panel deployment failing.

  2. Moon/Mars Landing Commemorative Release: Gusev Crater and Ma'adim Vallis

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    On July 20, 1969, the first human beings landed on the Moon. On July 20, 1976, the first robotic lander touched down on Mars. This July 20th-- 29 years after Apollo 11 and 22 years since the Viking 1 Mars landing-- we take a look forward toward one possible future exploration site on the red planet.One of the advantages of the Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) over its predecessors on the Viking and Mariner spacecraft is resolution. The ability to see-- resolve--fine details on the martian surface is key to planning future landing sites for robotic and, perhaps, human explorers that may one day visit the planet.At present, NASA is studying potential landing sites for the Mars Surveyor landers, rovers, and sample return vehicles that are scheduled to be launched in 2001, 2003, and 2005. Among the types of sites being considered for these early 21st Century landings are those with 'exobiologic potential'--that is, locations on Mars that are in some way related to the past presence of water.For more than a decade, two of the prime candidates suggested by various Mars research scientists are Gusev Crater and Ma'adim Vallis. Located in the martian southern cratered highlands at 14.7o S, 184.5o W, Gusev Crater is a large, ancient, meteor impact basin that--after it formed--was breached by Ma'adim Vallis.Viking Orbiter observations provided some evidence to suggest that a fluid--most likely, water--once flowed through Ma'adim Vallis and into Gusev Crater. Some scientists have suggested that there were many episodes of flow into Gusev Crater (as well as flow out of Gusev through its topographically-lower northwestern rim). Some have also indicated that there were times when Ma'adim Vallis, also, was full of water such that it formed a long, narrow lake.The possibility that water flowed into Gusev Crater and formed a lake has led to the suggestion that the materials seen on the floor of this crater--smooth-surfaced deposits, buried craters, and huge mesas near

  3. Planets and Life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sullivan, Woodruff T., III; Baross, John

    2007-09-01

    Foreword; Preface; Contributors; Prologue; Part I. History: 1. History of astrobiological ideas W. T. Sullivan and D. Carney; 2. From exobiology to astrobiology S. J. Dick; Part II. The Physical Stage: 3. Formation of Earth-like habitable planets D. E. Brownlee and M. Kress; 4. Planetary atmospheres and life D. Catling and J. F. Kasting; Part III. The Origin of Life on Earth: 5. Does 'life' have a definition? C.E. Cleland and C. F. Chyba; 6. Origin of life: crucial issues R. Shapiro; 7. Origin of proteins and nucleic acids A. Ricardo and S. A. Benner; 8. The roots of metabolism G.D. Cody and J. H. Scott; 9. Origin of cellular life D. W. Deamer; Part IV. Life on Earth: 10. Evolution: a defining feature of life J. A. Baross; 11. Evolution of metabolism and early microbial communities J. A. Leigh, D. A. Stahl and J. T. Staley; 12. The earliest records of life on Earth R. Buick; 13. The origin and diversification of eukaryotes M. L. Sogin, D. J. Patterson and A. McArthur; 14. Limits of carbon life on Earth and elsewhere J. A. Baross, J. Huber and M. Schrenk; 15. Life in ice J. W. Deming and H. Eicken; 16. The evolution and diversification of life S. Awramik and K. J. McNamara; 17. Mass extinctions P. D. Ward; Part V. Potentially Habitable Worlds: 18. Mars B. M. Jakosky, F. Westall and A. Brack; 19. Europa C. F. Chyba and C. B. Phillips; 20. Titan J. I. Lunine and B. Rizk; 21. Extrasolar planets P. Butler; Part VI. Searching for Extraterrestrial Life: 22. How to search for life on other worlds C. P. McKay; 23. Instruments and strategies for detecting extraterrestrial life P. G. Conrad; 24. Societial and ethical concerns M. S. Race; 25. Planetary protection J. D. Rummel; 26. Searching for extraterrestrial intelligence J. C. Tarter; 27. Alien biochemistries P. D. Ward and S. A. Benner; Part VII. Future of the Field: 28. Disciplinary and educational opportunities L. Wells, J. Armstrong and J. Huber; Epilogue C. F. Chyba; Appendixes: A. Units and usages; B. Planetary

  4. In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) on the Moon: Moessbauer Spectroscopy as a Process Monitor for Oxygen Production. Results from a Field Test on Mauna Kea Volcano, Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, R.V.; Schroder, C.; Graff, T.G.; Sanders, G.B.; Lee, K.A.; Simon, T.M.; Larson, W.E.; Quinn, J.W.; Clark, L.D.; Caruso, J.J.

    2009-01-01

    several rover concepts designed to excavate and transfer regolith to the stationary hydrogen reduction plants. Spaceflight versions of the MIMOS II are part of the instrument payloads of NASA s Mars Exploration Rovers and still operating five years after landing on the surface of the planet. MIMOS II was also selected for Phobos-Grunt, a Russian sample return mission to the martian moon Phobos scheduled to launch in 2009, and ESA s ExoMars rover, an exobiology mission scheduled to launch in 2013. An advanced version of the instrument is currently under development. A new detector system with a higher energy resolution will not only reduce the necessary measurement time considerably, but also allow the simultaneous acquisition of an X-ray fluorescence spectrum to determine the elemental composition of samples.

  5. Planetary protection issues related to human missions to Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debus, A.; Arnould, J.

    2008-09-01

    In accordance with the United Nations Outer Space Treaties [United Nations, Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, UN doc A/RES/34/68, resolution 38/68 of December 1979], currently maintained and promulgated by the Committee on Space Research [COSPAR Planetary Protection Panel, Planetary Protection Policy accepted by the COSPAR Council and Bureau, 20 October 2002, amended 24 March 2005, http://www.cosparhq.org/scistr/PPPolicy.htm], missions exploring the Solar system must meet planetary protection requirements. Planetary protection aims to protect celestial bodies from terrestrial contamination and to protect the Earth environment from potential biological contamination carried by returned samples or space systems that have been in contact with an extraterrestrial environment. From an exobiology perspective, Mars is one of the major targets, and several missions are currently in operation, in transit, or scheduled for its exploration. Some of them include payloads dedicated to the detection of life or traces of life. The next step, over the coming years, will be to return samples from Mars to Earth, with a view to increasing our knowledge in preparation for the first manned mission that is likely to take place within the next few decades. Robotic missions to Mars shall meet planetary protection specifications, currently well documented, and planetary protection programs are implemented in a very reliable manner given that experience in the field spans some 40 years. With regards to sample return missions, a set of stringent requirements has been approved by COSPAR [COSPAR Planetary Protection Panel, Planetary Protection Policy accepted by the COSPAR Council and Bureau, 20 October 2002, amended 24 March 2005, http://www.cosparhq.org/scistr/PPPolicy.htm], and technical challenges must now be overcome in order to preserve the Earth’s biosphere from any eventual contamination risk. In addition to the human dimension of

  6. Are Aquatic Viruses a Biological Archive of Genetic Information from Universe?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toparceanu, F.; Negoita, Gh. T.; Nita, I. I.; Sava, D.

    2009-04-01

    After 1990, when the viruses were admited as the most abundant lifeforms from aquatic environments, it became obvious that viral lysis had an essential role on release and recycling of nutrients. Studies on cellular cultures and modeling suggest that this is an important quantitative process. The viruses from oceans represent the widest source of genetic diversity on the Earth, uncharacterized yet. The ancient lifeforms records stretching back a million years are locked in ice caps. The trend of glaciers melting as effect of actual climate change will promote the release of ancient viruses from ice caps. The increasing of the freshwater layer led to the replace of some algae species by others. Law-Racovitza Station (69o23'S 76o23'E) from East Antarctica (Larsemann Hills Oasis) offers opportunities to study the Antarctic marine ecosystem, as well as archaic aquatic ecosystems from this area ( 150 lakes and waterways resulted from ice and snow melting during the austral summer). According to Law-Racovitza Station Scientific Program, we are performing studies regarding the effect of climate changes on virus-algae host relationship in these aquatic ecosystems. Phycodnaviruses, that infect the eukaryote algae, are comprised of ancient genes and they are considered a "peek" of genetic diversity useful in biological studies and exobiology regarding the evolution of genetic sequencing. The latest discoveries of the giant aquatic viruses open the unexpected perspectives for understanding the role of viral infection in global ecosystem; beyond the old concept which considered that the viruses were only etiological agents of human, animals and plants illnesses. The aquatic viruses which infect microalgae contain similar genes of other viruses, bacteria, arhebacteria and eukaryotes, all of them being on the same genome. Which is the signification of enormous abundance of viruses and excessive diversity of genetic information encoded by viruses? There is the possibility that

  7. New Interpretation of Crustal Extension Evidences on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grin, E. A.

    The record of early evolution of life on Earth has been obscured by extensive surface activity. On the opposite, large fractions of the martian surface date back to an early clement epoch favorable to the needs of biological systems [1]. The upper martian surface reflects a wide variety of modifying processes which destroy the geological context. However, due to endogenic causes acting after the end of the primordial bombardment, abundant extensional structures display vertical sequences of stratigraphic units from late Noachian to early Hesperian periods [2]. Deep structural incisions in the upper crust provide unaltered strata, open flanks, and slope deposits that favor the use of an autonomous lander-rover-penetrator The strategy for an exobiology search of such an optimum site should be guided by the recent attention devoted to extensional structures and their global significance [4]. Geological evidence supporting the martian crustal extension is suggested by abundant fractures associated with the dichotomy boundary northland-south upland, i.e., Aeolis Region, and peak igneous activity (Elysium bulge). As pointed out by [5], the system of fractures correlates with the endogenic origin of the dichotomy, as related to a major difference in the thicknessof the crust. Perpendicular to this boundary, fractures of deep graben testify to a general tectonic crust relaxation. The opening of the graben, joined with compressive wrinkles, is the signature of a dynamical pervasive stress regime that implies a large scale roll-over of the upper crust over the ductile interface of a more dense mantle. This general motion is not a transport of material, as there is no thickening on the boundary of the dichotomy. The horizontal movement is due to the gravitational mechanism and differential thermal convection cells in the upper crust over the slope of the anti-flexure rigid interface consequential to Elysium bulge. The fracturation occurs as the neutral zone of the crust rises

  8. Sixth Annual NASA Ames Space Science and Astrobiology Jamboree

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hollingsworth, Jeffery; Howell, Steve; Fonda, Mark; Dateo, Chris; Martinez, Christine M.

    2018-01-01

    Welcome to the Sixth Annual NASA Ames Research Center, Space Science and Astrobiology Jamboree at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC). The Space Science and Astrobiology Division consists of over 60 Civil Servants, with more than 120 Cooperative Agreement Research Scientists, Post-Doctoral Fellows, Science Support Contractors, Visiting Scientists, and many other Research Associates. Within the Division there is engagement in scientific investigations over a breadth of disciplines including Astrobiology, Astrophysics, Exobiology, Exoplanets, Planetary Systems Science, and many more. The Division's personnel support NASA spacecraft missions (current and planned), including SOFIA, K2, MSL, New Horizons, JWST, WFIRST, and others. Our top-notch science research staff is spread amongst three branches in five buildings at ARC. Naturally, it can thus be difficult to remain abreast of what fellow scientific researchers pursue actively, and then what may present and/or offer regarding inter-Branch, intra-Division future collaborative efforts. In organizing this annual jamboree, the goals are to offer a wholesome, one-venue opportunity to sense the active scientific research and spacecraft mission involvement within the Division; and to facilitate communication and collaboration amongst our research scientists. Annually, the Division honors one senior research scientist with a Pollack Lecture, and one early career research scientist with an Outstanding Early Career Space Scientist Lecture. For the Pollack Lecture, the honor is bestowed upon a senior researcher who has made significant contributions within any area of research aligned with space science and/or astrobiology. This year we are pleased to honor Linda Jahnke. With the Early Career Lecture, the honor is bestowed upon an early-career researcher who has substantially demonstrated great promise for significant contributions within space science, astrobiology, and/or, in support of spacecraft missions addressing such

  9. SPICE: An innovative, flexible instrument concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nishioka, Kenji; Cauffman, D. P.; Jurcevich, B.; Mendez, David J.; Ryder, James T.

    1994-01-01

    Studies and plans for orbital capture of cosmic dust and interplanetary dust particles (IDP's) looked very bright with the advent of space station Freedom (SSF) and formal selection of Cosmic Dust Collection Facility (CDCF) as an attached payload in 1990. Unfortunately it has been downhill since its selection, culminating in CDCF being dropped as attached payload in the SSF redesign process this year. This action was without any input from the science or cosmic dust communities. The Exobiology Intact Capture Experiment (Exo-ICE) as an experiment on CDCF was also lost. Without CDCF, no facility-class instrument for cosmic dust studies is available or planned. When CDCF (and Exo-ICE) was selected as a SSF attached payload, an exercise called the small particle intact capture experiment (SPICE) was started for Exo-ICE to develop an understanding and early testing of the necessary expertise and technology for intact capture of cosmic dust and IDP's. This SPICE activity looks to fly small, meter square or less, collection area experiments on early orbital platforms of opportunity such as EURECA, MIR, WESTAR, and others, including the shuttle. The SPICE activity has focused on developing techniques and instrument concepts to capture particles intact and without inadvertent contamination. It began with a survey and screening of available capture media concepts and then focused on the development of a capture medium that can meet these requirements. Evaluation and development of the chosen capture medium, aerogel (a silicon oxide gel), has so far lived up to the expectations of meeting the requirements and is highlighted in a companion paper at this workshop. Others such as McDonnell's Timeband Capture Cell Experiment (TICCE) on EuReCa and Tsuo's GAS-CAN lid experiments on STS 47 and 57 have flown aerogel, but without addressing the contamination issue/requirement, especially regarding organics. Horz, Zolenskym and others have studied and have also been advocates for its

  10. SPICE: An innovative, flexible instrument concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nishioka, Kenji; Cauffman, D. P.; Jurcevich, B.; Mendez, David J.; Ryder, James T.

    Studies and plans for orbital capture of cosmic dust and interplanetary dust particles (IDP's) looked very bright with the advent of space station Freedom (SSF) and formal selection of Cosmic Dust Collection Facility (CDCF) as an attached payload in 1990. Unfortunately it has been downhill since its selection, culminating in CDCF being dropped as attached payload in the SSF redesign process this year. This action was without any input from the science or cosmic dust communities. The Exobiology Intact Capture Experiment (Exo-ICE) as an experiment on CDCF was also lost. Without CDCF, no facility-class instrument for cosmic dust studies is available or planned. When CDCF (and Exo-ICE) was selected as a SSF attached payload, an exercise called the small particle intact capture experiment (SPICE) was started for Exo-ICE to develop an understanding and early testing of the necessary expertise and technology for intact capture of cosmic dust and IDP's. This SPICE activity looks to fly small, meter square or less, collection area experiments on early orbital platforms of opportunity such as EURECA, MIR, WESTAR, and others, including the shuttle. The SPICE activity has focused on developing techniques and instrument concepts to capture particles intact and without inadvertent contamination. It began with a survey and screening of available capture media concepts and then focused on the development of a capture medium that can meet these requirements. Evaluation and development of the chosen capture medium, aerogel (a silicon oxide gel), has so far lived up to the expectations of meeting the requirements and is highlighted in a companion paper at this workshop. Others such as McDonnell's Timeband Capture Cell Experiment (TICCE) on EuReCa and Tsuo's GAS-CAN lid experiments on STS 47 and 57 have flown aerogel, but without addressing the contamination issue/requirement, especially regarding organics. Horz, Zolenskym and others have studied and have also been advocates for its

  11. Fingerprints of endogenous process on Europa through linear spectral modeling of ground-based observations (ESO/VLT/SINFONI)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ligier, Nicolas; Carter, John; Poulet, François; Langevin, Yves; Dumas, Christophe; Gourgeot, Florian

    2016-04-01

    Jupiter's moon Europa harbors a very young surface dated, based on cratering rates, to 10-50 M.y (Zahnle et al. 1998, Pappalardo et al. 1999). This young age implies rapid surface recycling and reprocessing, partially engendered by a global salty subsurface liquid ocean that could result in tectonic activity (Schmidt et al. 2011, Kattenhorn et al. 2014) and active plumes (Roth et al. 2014). The surface of Europa should contain important clues about the composition of this sub-surface briny ocean and about the potential presence of material of exobiological interest in it, thus reinforcing Europa as a major target of interest for upcoming space missions such as the ESA L-class mission JUICE. To perform the investigation of the composition of the surface of Europa, a global mapping campaign of the satellite was performed between October 2011 and January 2012 with the integral field spectrograph SINFONI on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. The high spectral binning of this instrument (0.5 nm) is suitable to detect any narrow mineral signature in the wavelength range 1.45-2.45 μm. The spatially resolved spectra we obtained over five epochs nearly cover the entire surface of Europa with a pixel scale of 12.5 by 25 m.a.s (~35 by 70 km on Europa's surface), thus permitting a global scale study. Until recently, a large majority of studies only proposed sulfate salts along with sulfuric acid hydrate and water-ice to be present on Europa's surface. However, recent works based on Europa's surface coloration in the visible wavelength range and NIR spectral analysis support the hypothesis of the predominance of chlorine salts instead of sulfate salts (Hand & Carlson 2015, Fischer et al. 2015). Our linear spectral modeling supports this new hypothesis insofar as the use of Mg-bearing chlorines improved the fits whatever the region. As expected, the distribution of sulfuric acid hydrate is correlated to the Iogenic sulfur ion implantation flux distribution (Hendrix et al

  12. Surface composition of Europa based on VLT observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ligier, N.; Poulet, F.; Carter, J.

    2016-12-01

    Jupiter's moon Europa may harbor a global salty ocean under an 80-170 km thick outer layer consisting of an icy crust (Anderson et al. 1998). Meanwhile, the 10-50 My old surface, dated by cratering rates (Pappalardo et al. 1999) implies rapid surface recycling and reprocessing that could result in tectonic activity (Kattenhorn et al. 2014) and plumes (Roth et al. 2014). The surface could thus exhibit fingerprints of chemical species, as minerals characteristics of an ocean-mantle interaction and/or organics of exobiological interest, directly originating from the subglacial ocean. In order to re-investigate the composition of Europa's surface, a global mapping campaign of the satellite was performed with the near-infrared integral field spectrograph SINFONI on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. The high spectral binning of this instrument (0.5 nm) and large signal noise ratio in comparison to previous observations are adequate to detect sharp absorptions in the wavelength range 1.45-2.45 μm. In addition, the spatially resolved spectra we obtained over five epochs nearly cover the entire surface of Europa with a pixel scale of 12.5 by 25 m.a.s ( 35 by 70 km on Europa's surface), thus permitting a global scale study. Several icy and non-icy compounds were detected and mapped at <100 km resolution. They are unevenly distributed on the moon's surface. Amorphous and crystalline water ice are both present and, in spite of a particularly strong amorphization process likely engendered by the Io plasma torus, the crystalline form is found to be approximately twice as abundant as the amorphous ice based on the analysis of the 1.65 μm band. If the surface is dominated by small and mid-sized water ice grains (25-200 μm), crystalline water-ice grains exhibit spatial inhomogeneities in their distribution. The sulfuric acid hydrate distribution exhibits the typical "bullseye" feature on the trailing hemisphere. The presence of Mg-bearing chlorinated salts (chloride

  13. Automation &robotics for future Mars exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schulte, W.; von Richter, A.; Bertrand, R.

    2003-04-01

    site. In the frame of near-term Mars exploration a dedicated exobiology mission is envisaged. Scientific and technical studies for a facility to detect the evidence of past of present life have been carried out under ESA contract. Mars soil/rock samples are to be analyzed for their morphology, organic and inorganic composition using a suite of scientific instruments. Robotic devices, e.g. for the acquisition, handling and onboard processing of Mars sample material retrieved from different locations, and surface mobility are important elements in a fully automated mission. Necessary robotic elements have been identified in past studies. Their realization can partly be based on heritage of existing space hardware, but will require dedicated development effort.

  14. Experimental Demonstration of the Formation of Liquid Brines under Martian Polar Conditions in the Michigan Mars Environmental Chamber

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Erik; Martinez, German; Elliott, Harvey; Borlina, Caue; Renno, Nilton

    2014-05-01

    observed within the Martian diurnal cycle. This greatly diminishes the possibility of liquid brine formation without water ice contact and has strong implications on future robotic and manned missions searching for liquid water on Mars. Acknowledgement: This research is supported by a grant from the NASA Astrobiology Program: Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology. Award #09-EXOB09-0050. References: [1] Martínez, G. M. and Renno, N. O. (2013), Water and Brines on Mars: Current Evidence and Implications for MSL, Space Sci. Rev., 175, 29-51. [2] Rennó, N. O., et al. (2009), Possible physical and thermodynamical evidence for liquid water at the Phoenix landing site, J. Geophys. Res., 114, E00E03. [3] Zorzano, M.-P., et al., Stability of liquid saline water on present day Mars, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L20201. [4] Hanley, J. et al. (2009), Low Temperature Aqueous Perchlorate Solutions on the Surface of Mars, Proceedings 40th Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference, The Woodlands, TX, USA. [5] Marion, G. M. et al. (2010), Modeling Aqueous Perchlorate Chemistries with Applications to Mars, Icarus, 207, 675-685.

  15. Autonomous site selection and instrument positioning for sample acquisition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shaw, A.; Barnes, D.; Pugh, S.

    The European Space Agency Aurora Exploration Program aims to establish a European long-term programme for the exploration of Space, culminating in a human mission to space in the 2030 timeframe. Two flagship missions, namely Mars Sample Return and ExoMars, have been proposed as recognised steps along the way. The Exomars Rover is the first of these flagship missions and includes a rover carrying the Pasteur Payload, a mobile exobiology instrumentation package, and the Beagle 2 arm. The primary objective is the search for evidence of past or present life on mars, but the payload will also study the evolution of the planet and the atmosphere, look for evidence of seismological activity and survey the environment in preparation for future missions. The operation of rovers in unknown environments is complicated, and requires large resources not only on the planet but also in ground based operations. Currently, this can be very labour intensive, and costly, if large teams of scientists and engineers are required to assess mission progress, plan mission scenarios, and construct a sequence of events or goals for uplink. Furthermore, the constraints in communication imposed by the time delay involved over such large distances, and line-of-sight required, make autonomy paramount to mission success, affording the ability to operate in the event of communications outages and be opportunistic with respect to scientific discovery. As part of this drive to reduce mission costs and increase autonomy the Space Robotics group at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth is researching methods of autonomous site selection and instrument positioning, directly applicable to the ExoMars mission. The site selection technique used builds on the geometric reasoning algorithms used previously for localisation and navigation [Shaw 03]. It is proposed that a digital elevation model (DEM) of the local surface, generated during traverse and without interaction from ground based operators, can be

  16. Analyzers Measure Greenhouse Gases, Airborne Pollutants

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-01-01

    In complete darkness, a NASA observatory waits. When an eruption of boiling water billows from a nearby crack in the ground, the observatory s sensors seek particles in the fluid, measure shifts in carbon isotopes, and analyze samples for biological signatures. NASA has landed the observatory in this remote location, far removed from air and sunlight, to find life unlike any that scientists have ever seen. It might sound like a scene from a distant planet, but this NASA mission is actually exploring an ocean floor right here on Earth. NASA established a formal exobiology program in 1960, which expanded into the present-day Astrobiology Program. The program, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010, not only explores the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe, but also examines how life begins and evolves, and what the future may hold for life on Earth and other planets. Answers to these questions may be found not only by launching rockets skyward, but by sending probes in the opposite direction. Research here on Earth can revise prevailing concepts of life and biochemistry and point to the possibilities for life on other planets, as was demonstrated in December 2010, when NASA researchers discovered microbes in Mono Lake in California that subsist and reproduce using arsenic, a toxic chemical. The Mono Lake discovery may be the first of many that could reveal possible models for extraterrestrial life. One primary area of interest for NASA astrobiologists lies with the hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. These vents expel jets of water heated and enriched with chemicals from off-gassing magma below the Earth s crust. Also potentially within the vents: microbes that, like the Mono Lake microorganisms, defy the common characteristics of life on Earth. Basically all organisms on our planet generate energy through the Krebs Cycle, explains Mike Flynn, research scientist at NASA s Ames Research Center. This metabolic process breaks down sugars for energy

  17. Environmental effects of human exploration of the Moon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mendell, Wendell

    Aerospace engineers use the term Environment to designate a set of externally imposed bound-ary conditions under which a device must operate. Although the parameters may be time-varying, the engineer thinks of the operating environment as being fixed. Any effect the device might have on the environment generally is neglected. In the case where the device is intended to measure the environment, its effect on the measured quantities must be considered. For example, a magnetometer aboard a spacecraft must be extended on a boom to minimize the disturbing influence of the spacecraft on the magnetic field, particularly if the field is weak. In contrast, Environment has taken on political and even ethical connotations in modern Western society, referring to human-induced alterations to those aspects of the terrestrial environment that are required for a healthy and productive life. The so-called Green Movement takes preservation of the environment as its mantra. Scientists are at the center of the debate on environmental issues. However, the concern of scientists over irreversible consequences of hu-man activity extend beyond ecology to preservation of cultural artifacts and to effects that alter the ability to conduct investigations such as light pollution in astronomy. The policy of Planetary Protection applied to science and exploration missions to other bodies in the solar system arises from the concern for deleterious effects in terrestrial ecology from hypothetical extraterrestrial life forms as well as overprints of extraterrestrial environments by terrestrial biology. Some in the scientific community are advocating extension of the planetary protection concept beyond exobiology to include fragile planetary environments by might be permanently altered by human activity e.g., the lunar exosphere. Beyond the scientific community, some environmentalists argue against any changes to the Moon at all, including formation of new craters or the alteration of the natural

  18. Proceedings of the Astrobiology Science Conference 2010. Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    The Program of the 2010 Astrobiology Science Conference: Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond, included sessions on: 50 Years of Exobiology and Astrobiology: Greatest Hits; Extraterrestrial Molecular Evolution and Pre-Biological Chemistry: From the Interstellar Medium to the Solar System I; Human Exploration, Astronaut Health; Diversity in Astrobiology Research and Education; Titan: Past, Present, and Future; Energy Flow in Microbial Ecosystems; Extraterrestrial Molecular Evolution and Prebiological Chemistry: From the Interstellar Medium to the Solar System II; Astrobiology in Orbit; Astrobiology and Interdisciplinary Communication; Science from Rio Tinto: An Acidic Environment; Can We Rule Out Spontaneous Generation of RNA as the Key Step in the Origin of Life?; How Hellish Was the Hadean Earth?; Results from ASTEP and Other Astrobiology Field Campaigns I; Prebiotic Evolution: From Chemistry to Life I; Adaptation of Life in Hostile Space Environments; Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets I: Formation and Composition; Collaborative Tools and Technology for Astrobiology; Results from ASTEP and Other Astrobiology Field Campaigns II; Prebiotic Evolution: From Chemistry to Life II; Survival, Growth, and Evolution of Microrganisms in Model Extraterrestrial Environments; Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets II: Habitability and Life; Planetary Science Decadal Survey Update; Astrobiology Research Funding; Bioessential Elements Through Space and Time I; State of the Art in Life Detection; Terrestrial Evolution: Implications for the Past, Present, and Future of Life on Earth; Psychrophiles and Polar Environments; Life in Volcanic Environments: On Earth and Beyond; Geochronology and Astrobiology On and Off the Earth; Bioessential Elements Through Space and Time II; Origins and Evolution of Genetic Systems; Evolution of Advanced Life; Water-rich Asteroids and Moons: Composition and Astrobiological Potential; Impact Events and Evolution; A Warm, Wet

  19. Europe goes to Mars - preparations are well under way

    Science.gov (United States)

    2001-04-01

    Under the umbrella of the European Space Agency, at least 25 companies from 15 European countries are building hardware or software for the spacecraft, or otherwise contributing their expertise; and more than 200 scientists from research institutes in all ESA member states and beyond are contributing towards the scientific payload. "The Mars Express project is providing about 1000 jobs throughout Europe," estimates Rudi Schmidt, Mars Express Project Manager at ESTEC, the European Space Agency's technical centre in the Netherlands. Preparations are well under way and on schedule for a May/June 2003 launch sending the spacecraft on its six-month voyage. The structure is taking shape under the guidance of the prime contractor Astrium, Toulouse (France), and the scientific teams are on target with scientific instrument development. Water and life ESA's Mars Express mission consists of an orbiter, carrying seven scientific experiments, and a lander, Beagle 2. The two vehicles will play key roles in an international Mars exploration programme spanning the next two decades. The instruments on board the orbiter will provide remote sensing of the atmosphere, the surface and up to 5km below the surface, to a degree of accuracy never before achieved. The information gleaned will help answer many questions outstanding about Mars. One concerns the fate of water that once flowed freely on the planet’s surface; another is whether life ever evolved on Mars. Beagle-2 will be the first lander since NASA’s two Viking probes in the 1970s to look specifically for evidence of past or present life on Mars. No other Mars probe planned so far is making exobiology so central to its mission. When the spacecraft arrives at the Red Planet around Christmas 2003, the Mars Express orbiter will jettison Beagle 2 and then move into a near-polar orbit from which it will observe the whole planet over the next Martian year (equivalent to two Earth years). The lander will make its own way to a

  20. Planetary and Space Simulation Facilities (PSI) at DLR

    Science.gov (United States)

    Panitz, Corinna; Rabbow, E.; Rettberg, P.; Kloss, M.; Reitz, G.; Horneck, G.

    2010-05-01

    organisms in space and will contribute to the understanding of the organic chemistry processes in space, the biological adaptation strategies to extreme conditions, e.g. on early Earth and Mars, and the distribution of life beyond its planet of origin The results gained during the simulation experiments demonstrated mission preparation as a basic requirement for successful and significant results of every space flight experiment. Hence, the Mission preparation program that was performed in the context of the space missions EXPOSE-E and EXPOSE-R proofed the outstanding importance and accentuated need for ground based experiments before and during a space mission. The facilities are also necessary for the performance of the ground control experiment during the mission, the so-called Mission Simulation Test (MST) under simulated space conditions, by parallel exposure of samples to simulated space parameters according to flight data received by telemetry. Finally the facilities also provide the possibility to simulate the surface and climate conditions of the planet Mars. In this way they offer the possibility to investigate under simulated Mars conditions the chances for development of life on Mars and to gain previous knowledge for the search for life on today's Mars and in this context especially the parameters for a manned mission to Mars. References [1] Rabbow E, Rettberg P, Panitz C, Drescher J, Horneck G, Reitz G (2005) SSIOUX - Space Simulation for Investigating Organics, Evolution and Exobiology, Adv. Space Res. 36 (2) 297-302, doi:10.1016/j.asr.2005.08.040Aman, A. and Bman, B. (1997) JGR, 90,1151-1154. [2] Fekete A, Modos K, Hegedüs M, Kovacs G, Ronto Gy, Peter A, Lammer H, Panitz C (2005) DNA Damage under simulated extraterrestrial conditions in bacteriophage T7 Adv. Space Res. 305-310Aman, A. et al. (1997) Meteoritics & Planet. Sci., 32,A74. [3] Cockell Ch, Schuerger AC, Billi D., Friedmann EI, Panitz C (2005) Effects of a Simulated Martian UV Flux on the

  1. Obituary: Michael John Klein, 1940-2005

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gulkis, Samuel

    2006-12-01

    Research Council in 1968. He joined JPL as a full time research scientist in 1969 where he remained until his death. He observed the radio emissions from Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and other planets for over thirty-five years. Mike produced the most extensive set of observations of the synchrotron emission from Jupiter ever recorded. When JPL and the NASA Ames Research Center initiated a radio search for signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) in the 1980s, Mike managed the JPL effort to scan the entire sky for signs of narrow band radio signals. He was open-minded about the possible existence of extra-terrestrial intelligent life. Mike devoted much of his energy to education in the last fifteen years of his life. He felt that science created a pathway for learning and remarked that "students need science and science needs students." Using SETI as a vehicle for education, Mike co-authored a book, Cosmic Quest: Searching for Life Among the Stars (with Margaret Poynter) in order to promote public awareness of astronomy and exobiology. In the early 1990s, Mike became a leader and driving force in a collaborative educational effort involving JPL, NASA, the Lewis Center for Educational Research in Apple Valley, California, and the Apple Valley Unified School District. A 34-meter (110-foot) radio antenna at NASA's Deep Space Network's Goldstone Complex was converted into an interactive, research, and teaching instrument available to classrooms throughout the United States and military bases overseas via the Internet. Known as the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope (GAVRT), the project has been in operation for approximately ten years in fourteen countries and three territories. More than 15,000 students from kindergarten through twelfth grade have participated to date and the number is expected to grow to more 50,000 students in the next four years. As a tribute to Mike's leadership, the GAVRT instrument has been named the "Michael J. Klein Radio Telescope." Mike was a

  2. Diagnostic Clast-Texture Criteria for Recognition of Impact Deposits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, J. R.; Bratton, C.; Pope, K. O.; Ocampo, A. C.

    1999-01-01

    It is difficult to find definitive evidence for impact in the geological record because there are many endogenous geological processes that can produce diamictites similar to those generated by impact ejecta. The classic impact criteria of shock fabrics in certain minerals, and iridium layers, for example, may be either difficult to find, or long-since erased from the impact site (shock fabrics also anneal with time). It is important to be able to recognize impact-generated materials in order to understand earth's crustal development and biological evolution. In future exploration of Mars and other solar-system bodies, recognition of impact materials will be important for elucidating planetary evolution, planetary volatile inventories, and exobiological issues. The cobble depicted is typical of many that have been found in diamictite deposits in Belize generated by the Chicxulub K-T impact event. The pebbles are roughly-hewn in general shape with smoothed corners and edges. Surfaces are almost uniformly frosted (on both protuberances and hollows), but some asperities are glazed. Optical microscopy and thin-section petrographic microscopy reveal the frosting to be only a few microns thick, with a well-defined granular structure; grains are the same size as those composing the bulk of the limestone, but their clearer appearance may represent annealing. One or two adjacent pebble faces are often decorated with striated gouges and closely-spaced hemispherical depressions representing indentation hollows produced by well-rounded impacting clasts of up to 0.5 cm in diameter. Some of the impactors are still embedded in the cobble surface. Non-destructive x-ray diffraction techniques showed the impactors to be of the same mineralogy as the target cobble. We believe this unusual glazing and frosting to be related to the impact event, but this must be reconciled with its survival for over 60 my. since it is composed of one of the most alterable substances, CaCO3. We focus

  3. The MECA Payload as a Dust Analysis Laboratory on the MSP 2001 Lander

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, J.; Anderson, M.; Buehler, M.; Frant, M.; Fuerstenau, S.; Hecht, M.; Keller, U.; Markiewicz, W.; Meloy, T.; Pike, T.

    1999-09-01

    In a companion abstract, the "Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment" (MECA) payload for Mars Surveyor Program 2001 (MSP 2001) is described in terms of its capabilities for addressing exobiology on Mars. Here we describe how the same payload elements perform in terms of gathering data about surface dust on the planet. An understanding of the origin and properties of dust is important to both human exploration and planetary geology. The MECA instrument is specifically designed for soil/dust investigations: it is a multifunctional laboratory equipped to assess particulate properties with wet chemistry, camera imagery, optical microscopy (potentially with LTV fluorescence capability), atomic force microscopy (AFM; potentially with mineral-discrimination capabilities), electrometry, active & passive external materials-test panels, mineral hardness testing, and electrostatic & magnetic materials testing. Additionally, evaluation of soil chemical and physical properties as a function of depth down to about 50 cm will be facilitated by the Lander/MECA robot arm on which the camera (RAC) and electrometer are mounted. Types of data being sought for the dust include: (1) general textural and grain-size characterization of the soil as a whole --for example, is the soil essentially dust with other components or is it a clast-supported material in which dust resides only in the clast interstices, (2) size frequency distribution for dust particles in the range 0.01 to 10.00 microns, (3) particle-shape distribution of the soil components and of the fine dust fraction in particular, (4) soil fabric such as grain clustering into clods, aggregates, and cemented/indurated grain amalgamations, as well as related porosity, cohesiveness, and other mechanical soil properties, (5) cohesive relationship that dust has to certain types of rocks and minerals as a clue to which soil materials may be prime hosts for dust "piggybacking", (6) particle, aggregate, and bulk soil electrostatic

  4. Biotic survival in the cryobiosphere on geological scale: implication for astro/terrestrial biogeoscience

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilichinsky, D.

    2003-04-01

    and exposes ancient life to modern ecosystems. It is now possible for the first time to use actual functional indices of viable organisms and the most complete pollen spectrum based on RNA sequences for paleoreconstructions in the frozen mantle of the Earth. Unique to the permafrost, the good preservation DNA the wide implications may have the development of a microbiological time-scale using the progress in molecular biology. The phylogenetic trees of the same organisms from the modern layers to the several millions years old, will help to find out what are the differences among members of the same species as we go back in time. This would be a beginning of studies concerning the rate of evolution and biological clocks extending back the duration of the permanently frozen state in the soils and the age of biota. From an exobiological point of view, the terrestrial permafrost and ice, inhabited by cold adapted microbes and protecting the cells against unfavorable conditions can be considered as an extraterrestrial model. The cells and their metabolic end-products found in the Earth's permafrost provide a range of analogues that could be used in the search for possible ecosystems and potential inhabitants on extraterrestrial cryogenic bodies. If life should be found to have distribution in the Cosmos beyond the Earth and existed on other planets during the early stages of development, then its traces may consist of primitive cryogenic forms at the cell level within the extraterrestrial permanently frozen materials. That is more, it could be hypothesized, for example, that subsurface Martian permafrost might survive the genetic resources of preexisting life that vanished due the catastrophic events on the planet. The main difference between Earth's and Martian permafrost is their age: few million and few billion years, correspondingly. This difference in time scale have a significant impact on the possibility for life preservation and terrestrial frozen sediments

  5. Origin and Reactivity of the Martian Soil: A 2003 Micromission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yen, Albert S.; Kim, S. Sam; Marshall, John; Murray, Bruce C.

    1999-01-01

    absence of liquid water). A test for a meteoritic component of the soil can be conducted, as described below, by searching for the presence of Ni at the martian surface. The average abundance of nickel in an Fe-Ni meteorite is about 7% and, if present at measurable levels in the soil, would be indicative of an exogenic contribution. In addition, it may be possible to directly search for mineral phases common in meteorites. An understanding of the formation and evolution of the martian soil would not be complete without addressing the unusual reactivity discovered by the Viking Landers The presence of an inorganic oxidant, possibly one produced as a results of photochemical processes, is the most widely accepted explanation of the Viking results. Are these chemical species simply adsorbed on soil grains, or have they reacted with the metal oxide substrates and altered the mineral structures? Could a completely different (non-photochemical) process be responsible for the soil reactivity? The various ideas for the nature of this putative oxidant could be constrained by a measurement of the change in reactivity with depth. Different compositions will have different lifetimes and mobilities and thus will have different vertical profiles. Because the oxidizing compounds are believed to actively destroy organic molecules, determination of the reactivity gradient also has significant implications for the search for life on Mars. A DS2-based microprobe system can be instrumented for a 2003 micromission to investigate the origin and reactivity of the martian soil. These measurements would provide invaluable information regarding the climate history and exobiological potential of the planet. The NMR, X ray and chemiresistor measurement approach described embodies a highly synergistic and general set of soil interrogation methods for elements, compounds, and crystal structures and can also be applied to other geologic questions of interest. For example, if the capability for precise

  6. An Invited Preface for the Following Book: Astrobiologia, Uma Ciencia Emergente

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2016-01-01

    atmospheric composition and thus our climate. We have the power to render species extinct, including our own. But we also have the power to use these tools for the common good, to extend our lifetimes and reclaim our rivers and forests. Which will it be? And then there is the question where science fiction becomes a reality: "Are we alone?" While many people are anxious to find signs of intelligent life out there, such a creature may not share either our curiosity or values. But what if there was a beneficent alien civilization that could communicate with us, perhaps forging a mutual understanding? More likely in the forseeable future is finding a small life, less evolved, life form. Note I did not use the word "simple" as there is nothing "simple" about life, ever. Which brings us back to the question: what is life? So where does Brazil come in? For nearly a decade there has been interest in a Brazilian astrobiology program, from a small side meeting held by the Brazilian Exobiology Program (BEP) of the Brazilian National Research Council, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 12, 2009, in association with the IAU Assembly to subsequent workshops held in several locations and membership of the Brazilian program in the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). Each time I go to Brazil, I am impressed by the enthusiasm of the community, both scientific and student, the latter an excellent omen for the future of astrobiology in Brazil. Facilities are being built to supplement the natural laboratories that Brazil is blessed to have. In my own lab I have been privileged to have a wonderful Brazilian postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Ivan Paulino-Lima, resulting in a daily reminder of the program. I am honored to have been part of the development of astrobiology in Brazil, and hope that this relationship will continue to flourish. Clearly to advance astrobiology needs new knowledge, a reorganization of that which is known, and space missions. To help the reader join on this quest, what

  7. Space Biology and Medicine. Volume I; Space and Its Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicogossian, Arnauld E.; Mohler, Stanley R.; Gazenko, Oleg G.; Grigoryev, Anatoliy I.

    1993-01-01

    these other objects. In Chapter 3, Marov describes the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, their history and origin, and their environmental conditions, and in Chapter 4 Owen provides similar information about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, "The Outer Planets of the Solar System." Morrison provides a thorough discussion of "Asteroids, Comets, and Other Small Bodies" in Chapter 5. The understanding of these relics of the formation of the solar system may form the center of our ability to understand the origin of solar systems in general, and of the critical role that the beginning of the solar system had on the prospects for the origin of life and its continued survival and evolution in the face of their recurrent impacts on Earth. In Chapter 6, the first chapter of the third part, Rummel describes the area of "Exobiology," the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the context of the origin and evolution of the universe. The same processes that have given rise to life on Earth may have given rise to life elsewhere. In Chapter 7, the "Earth and the Biosphere," the nature and function of the Earth are discussed as a specific instance of planetary and biological evolution. The effects of biological processes on the Earth under the influence of human activities are also addressed by Moore and Bartlett in Chapter 7. The final chapter in this section concerns the prospects that life in the universe may be widespread; "SETI," the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, by Billingham and Tarter, presents the arguments for conducting a search for evidence of life elsewhere in the galaxy, and describes the various methods proposed for conducting such a search. While SETI has a distinctly exploration al character, more direct means are available for exploring the solar system around us. The fourth part of the volume addresses this subject of space exploration. Considering the prospects for research on space biology and medicine, the means