WorldWideScience

Sample records for exobiology

  1. The NASA Exobiology Programme

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1996-01-01

    NASA will indeed conduct a more active search for life beyond Earth. Research on the Martian meteorites will be augmented by $2 million to be contributed equally by NASA and NSF (National Science Foundation). The science strategy for the NASA Mars Surveyor Program now places a much higher priority on the search for life, particularly fossil evidence. This program features two launches per opportunity (every two years, starting this November). The focus on Exobiology emphasizes high resolution multispectral orbital mapping to locate key aqueous sedimentary minerals, the exploration of ancient terrains by capable rovers, and the need for multiple sample return missions. Additional information is contained within the original extended abstract.

  2. Extreme environments and exobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Friedmann, E. I.

    1993-01-01

    Ecological research on extreme environments can be applied to exobiological problems such as the question of life on Mars. If life forms (fossil or extant) are found on Mars, their study will help to solve fundamental questions about the nature of life on Earth. Extreme environments that are beyond the range of adaptability of their inhabitants are defined as "absolute extreme". Such environments can serve as terrestrial models for the last stages of life in the history of Mars, when the surface cooled down and atmosphere and water disappeared. The cryptoendolithic microbial community in porous rocks of the Ross Desert in Antarctica and the microbial mats at the bottom of frozen Antarctic lakes are such examples. The microbial communities of Siberian permafrost show that, in frozen but stable communities, long-term survival is possible. In the context of terraforming Mars, selected microorganisms isolated from absolute extreme environments are considered for use in creation of a biological carbon cycle.

  3. Overview: Exobiology in solar system exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carle, Glenn C.; Schwartz, Deborah E.

    1992-01-01

    In Aug. 1988, the NASA Ames Research Center held a three-day symposium in Sunnyvale, California, to discuss the subject of exobiology in the context of exploration of the solar system. Leading authorities in exobiology presented invited papers and assisted in setting future goals. The goals they set were as follows: (1) review relevant knowledge learned from planetary exploration programs; (2) detail some of the information that is yet to be obtained; (3) describe future missions and how exobiologists, as well as other scientists, can participate; and (4) recommend specific ways exobiology questions can be addressed on future exploration missions. These goals are in agreement with those of the Solar System Exploration Committee (SSEC) of the NASA Advisory Council. Formed in 1980 to respond to the planetary exploration strategies set forth by the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX), the SSEC's main function is to review the entire planetary program. The committee formulated a long-term plan (within a constrained budget) that would ensure a vital, exciting, and scientifically valuable effort through the turn of the century. The SSEC's goals include the following: determining the origin, evolution, and present state of the solar system; understanding Earth through comparative planetology studies; and revealing the relationship between the chemical and physical evolution of the solar system and the appearance of life. The SSEC's goals are consistent with the over-arching goal of NASA's Exobiology Program, which provides the critical framework and support for basic research. The research is divided into the following four elements: (1) cosmic evolution of the biogenic compounds; (2) prebiotic evolution; (3) origin and early evolution of life; and (4) evolution of advanced life.

  4. Astrobiology from exobiology: Viking and the current Mars probes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soffen, G A

    1997-01-01

    The development of an Astrobiology Program is an extension of current exobiology programs. Astrobiology is the scientific study of the origin, distribution, evolution, and future of life in the universe. It encompasses exobiology; formation of elements, stars, planets, and organic molecules; initiation of replicating organisms; biological evolution; gravitational biology; and human exploration. Current interest in life on Mars provides the scientific community with an example of scientific inquiry that has mass appeal. Technology is mature enough to search for life in the universe.

  5. Carbon-Based Compounds and Exobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kerridge, John; DesMarais, David; Khanna, R. K.; Mancinelli, Rocco; McDonald, Gene; diBrozollo, Fillipo Radicati; Wdowiak, Tom

    1996-01-01

    The Committee for Planetary and Lunar Explorations (COMPLEX) posed questions related to exobiological exploration of Mars and the possibility of a population of carbonaceous materials in cometary nuclei to be addressed by future space missions. The scientific objectives for such missions are translated into a series of measurements and/or observations to be performed by Martian landers. These are: (1) A detailed mineralogical, chemical, and textural assessment of rock diversity at a landing site; (2) Chemical characterization of the materials at a local site; (3) Abundance of Hydrogen at any accessible sites; (4) Identification of specific minerals that would be diagnostic of aqueous processes; (5) Textual examination of lithologies thought to be formed by aqueous activity; (6) Search for minerals that might have been produced as a result of biological processes; (7) Mapping the distribution, in three dimensions, of the oxidant(s) identified on the Martian surface by the Viking mission; (8) Definition of the local chemical environment; (9) Determination of stable-isotopic ratios for the biogenic elements in surface mineral deposits; (10) Quantitative analysis of organic (non-carbonate) carbon; (11) Elemental and isotopic composition of bulk organic material; (12) Search for specific organic compounds that would yield information about synthetic mechanisms, in the case of prebiotic evolution, and about possible bio-markers, in the case of extinct or extant life; (13) and Coring, sampling, and detection of entrained gases and cosmic-ray induced reaction products at the polar ice cap. A discussion of measurements and/or observations required for cometary landers is included as well.

  6. How Can Linguistics Help to Structure a Multidisciplinary Neo Domain such as Exobiology?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Condamines A.

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available This chapter examines the contribution that corpus linguistics can make towards stabilising definitions within exobiology. By using the clues provided by natural language processing tools, linguists build an interpretation of contexts and try to show how the meaning is constructed, taking into account the different points of view of the disciplines involved in exobiology. Examples of contextualised interpretations are proposed.

  7. European activities in space radiation biology and exobiology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Horneck, G. [Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Koeln (Germany)

    1996-12-31

    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)

  8. Exobiology opportunities from Discovery-class missions. [Abstract only

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Michael A.; Rummel, John D.

    1994-01-01

    Discovery-class missions that are now planned, and those in the concept stage, have the potential to expand our knowledge of the origins and evolution of biogenic compounds, and ultimately, of the origins of life in the solar system. This class of missions, recently developed within NASA's Solar System Exploration Program, is designed to meet important scientific objectives within stringent guidelines--$150 million cap on development cost and a 3-year cap on the development schedule. The Discovery Program will effectively enable "faster, cheaper" missions to explore the inner solar system. The first two missions are Mars Environmental Survey (MESUR) Pathfinder and Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR). MESUR Pathfinder will be the first Discovery mission, with launch planned for November/December 1996. It will be primarily a technical demonstration and validation of the MESUR Program--a network of automated landers to study the internal structure, meteorology, and surface properties of Mars. Besides providing engineering data, Pathfinder will carry atmospheric instrumentation and imaging capabilities, and may deploy a microrover equipped with an alpha proton X-ray spectrometer to determine elemental composition, particularly the lighter elements of exobiological interest. NEAR is expected to be launched in 1998 and to rendezvous with a near-Earth asteroid for up to 1 year. During this time, the spacecraft will assess the asteroid's mass, size, density, map its surface topography and composition, determine its internal properties, and study its interaction with the interplanetary environment. A gamma ray or X-ray spectrometer will be used to determine elemental composition. An imaging spectrograph, with 0.35 to 2.5 micron spectral range, will be used to determine the asteroid's compositional disbribution. Of the 11 Discovery mission concepts that have been designated as warranting further study, several are promising in terms of determining the composition and

  9. About Exobiology: The Case for Dwarf K Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuntz, M.; Guinan, E. F.

    2016-08-01

    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.

  10. 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.

  11. Feasibility of an integrated X-ray instrument for Mars exobiology and geology. [Abstract only

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1994-01-01

    By employing an integrated X-ray instrument on a future Mars mission, data obtained will greatly augment those returned by Viking; details relevant to the possibility of the origin and evolution of life on Mars will be acquired. An integrated combined X Ray Fluorescence/X Ray Detection (XRF/XRD) instrument has been breadboarded and demonstrated to accommodate important exobiology and geology experiment objectives outlined for Mars Environmental Survey (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 epochs; 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.

  12. Miniaturized monolithic columns for the electrochromatographic separation and SERS detection of molecules of exobiological interest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carbonnier, Benjamin; Guerrouache, Mohamed

    Development of miniaturized separation and detection media represents one of the major challenges in the field of modern analytical chemistry dedicated to space exploration. To date, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry has been selected as the method of choice for exobiology flight experiments for seeking for organic molecules and especially potential chemical indicators of life. [1] Liquid phase separation methods have also been developed with for instance, the so-called Mars Organic Analyzer (MOA) capillary electrophoresis (CE) microchip.[2] Although CE offers the advantages of easy miniaturization and high separation efficiency it suffers from a lack of selectivity towards a broad range of analytes with varied chemical nature. In this respect, we propose the use of capillary columns filled with monolithic stationary phases for the electrochromatographic separation of organic molecules of exobiology interest. Polymer monoliths have attracted a great deal of interest in analytical science over the last years as (electro)chromatographic stationary phases [3], immunosensors [4]. Beyond the intrinsic properties of monolithic polymers, i.e. fast mass transport between the monolithic support and the surrounding fluid and high permeability, other major advantages are their easy in situ preparation and tuning of surface functionality. Indeed, monoliths can be simply prepared through free radical copolymerization of a homogeneous mixture made of monomers, cross-linkers, porogenic solvents and initiator. UV-initiation process has been exploited to the synthesis of a discrete section of monolith as a flow-through active element within the confines of micro channels [5,6] while two-step strategies have been reported for the design of varied adsorbent starting with a generic monolith [7,8]. Although a nearly limitless range of monolithic supports can be prepared by this traditional method, the resulting monoliths exhibit unique function. In this contribution, we describe an

  13. Physical Conditions and Exobiology Potential of Icy Satellites of the Giant Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simakov, M. B.

    2017-05-01

    All giant planets of the Solar system have a big number of satellites. A small part of them consist very large bodies, quite comparable to planets of terrestrial type, but including very significant share of water ice. Galileo spacecraft has given indications, primarily from magnetometer and gravity data, of the possibility that three of Jupiter's four large moons, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto have internal oceans. Formation of such satellites is a natural phenomenon, and satellite systems definitely should exist at extrasolar planets. The most recent models of the icy satellites interior lead to the conclusion that a substantial liquid layer exists today under relatively thin ice cover inside. The putative internal water ocean provide some exobiological niches on these bodies. We can see all conditions needed for origin and evolution of biosphere - liquid water, complex organic chemistry and energy sources for support of biological processes - are on the moons. The existing of liquid water ocean within icy world can be consequences of the physical properties of water ice, and they neither require the addition of antifreeze substances nor any other special conditions. On Earth life exists in all niches where water exists in liquid form for at least a portion of the year. Possible metabolic processes, such as nitrate/nitrite reduction, sulfate reduction and methanogenesis could be suggested for internal oceans of Titan and Jovanian satellites. Excreted products of the primary chemoautotrophic organisms could serve as a source for other types of microorganisms (heterotrophes). Subglacial life may be widespread among such planetary bodies as satellites of extrasolar giant planets, detected in our Galaxy.

  14. Dinitrogen as a Possible Biomarker for Exobiology: The Case of Titan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simakov, Michael

    Nitrogen is an essential element for life. There are only two bodies in our Solar System which have a large amount of gaseous dinitrogen in their atmospheres - Earth and Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. On Earth the biological nitrogen cycle is responsible for the presence of dinitrogen in the atmosphere. Despite of initial form of nitrogen (dinitrogen or ammonia) in primordial atmosphere, it is converted to other forms by several effective processes through time of planetary development. These reactions resulted in fixing almost all nitrogen at the end stage of accretion or early stage of planetary evolution. The fixed nitrogen could have been a significant source of energy for the earliest biosphere. It is possible that only living or near living (protobiont) systems could support high concentration of dinitrogen in the atmosphere. Therefore, the first candidate for possible exobiology activity is Titan with its dense nitrogen atmosphere. The protobiont- like systems on Titan may have chemolithoautotrophical nature and use a reaction of nitrate reduction as source of energy. Electron donors that may be important for such systems include Fe (II), pyrite and organic material. The most appropriate sites for such activity are: (1) the upper layers of internal water ocean when a cycle of freezing - thawing can generate electric potentials and accelerate the reactions; (2) the sites of cryogenic volcanism; (3) liquid water pools on the surface originated from meteoritic strikes. Some possible protobiont-like structures and mechanisms which could be responsible for evaluating of gaseous dinitrogen together with approaches for determining of such biological or prebiological activity on other planets outside of our Solar System will be discussed.

  15. Growth of a lower eukaryote in non-aromatic hydrocarbon media ⩾C 12 and its exobiological significance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marcano, Vicente; Benitez, Pedro; Palacios-Prü, Ernesto

    2002-06-01

    The fungus termed Fusarium alkanophyllum Palacios-Prü & V. Marcano is able to grow in and degrade several saturated hydrocarbons in the presence of UV radiation at 253.7 nm or 354.5 nm, H 2O 2, and CO 2, with little or no oxygen and with minimum water requirements showing several phenotypes and optimal growth. Further, this species is also able to produce important amounts of metabolic water from the substrate. Therefore, different simulation experiments were done to evaluate the biological, physiological and biochemistry responses taking into account conditions similar to solar and extrasolar environments having various CO 2 contents and occupying the habitable zone around the main sequence stars with spectral types in the F to mid-K range with L ( L/) ˜1. Solar and extrasolar environments similar to those of the jovian satellites and Titan were also considered. Accordingly, the growth of F. alkanophyllum was inhibited in culture media of hydrocarbons containing albumin, glycoprotein and gammaglobulin as a source of carbon and nitrogen; however, in media containing other proteins that lack sulphur linkages, no growth was observed. Analysis by electron microscopy (EM) of F. alkanophyllum grown from germinated spores in heavy and light hydrocarbon media in the presence or absence of UV radiation and oxidizing or reducing gases revealed the absence of plasmalemma, nuclear membranes and other cytomembranes as an adaptative response. Aqueous extracts of secreted material from several hydrocarbon cultures analysed by FTIR spectroscopy revealed the presence of fatty acids and UV-protective indole pigments. An additional protection against UV radiation is offered by the hydrocarbon media which have substantial absorbances between 200 and 354 nm. The absence of lipidic membranes in F. alkanophyllum constitute an important finding in the cell biology of the terrestrial species that deserve careful evaluation. The results of this work allows to encourage exobiology

  16. 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

  17. Life sciences and space research XXIII(1): Exobiology science and primitive solar system bodies; Proceedings of Workshop XXII of the 27th COSPAR Plenary Meeting, Espoo, Finland, July 18-29, 1988

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oro, J.

    1989-01-01

    Papers on exobiology and primitive solar system bodies are presented, covering topics such as observational astrochemistry, interstellar dust as a source of organic molecules in Comet Halley, the origin of the P/Halley dust component, polymeric organic molecules in Comet Hally, organic ions in the atmosphere of Comet Halley, and organic solids produced from C/H/O/N ices by carged particles. Other topics include cometary organics and the 3.4-micron spectral feature, organic compounds in carbonaceous chondrites, macromolecular carbon compounds on the dark surfaces of asteroids and comets, results concerning Titan, a possible ocean on Europa, comets as a source of preformed material for prebiotic evolution, and the Gas-Grain Simulation Facility on the Space Station. In addition, consideration is given to the origin of precursors of organic molecules during evaporation of meteorites and rocks, the origin of organics on clays, and chemical evolution of primitive solar system bodies.

  18. Cold prebiotic evolution, tunneling, chirality and exobiology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Goldanskii, V.I. [N.N. Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics Russian Academy of Sciences UL.Kosygina 4, 117334 Moscow (Russia)

    1996-07-01

    The extra-terrestrial scenario of the origin of life suggested by Svante Arrhenius (1) as the {open_quote}panspermia{close_quote} hypothesis was revived by the discovery of a low-temperature quantum limit of a chemical reaction rate caused by the molecular tunneling (2). Entropy factors play no role near absolute zero, and slow molecular tunneling can lead to the exothermic formation of quite complex molecules. Interstellar grains or particles of cometary tails could serve as possible cold seeds of life, with acetic acid, urea and products of their polycondensation as quasi-equilibrium intermediates. Very cold solid environment hinders racemization and stabilizes optical activity under conditions typical for outer space. Neither {open_quote}advantage{close_quote} factors can secure the evolutionary formation of chiral purity of initial prebiotic monomeric medium{emdash}even being temporary achieved it cannot be maintained at subsequent stages of prebiotic evolution because of counteraction of {open_quote}enantioselective pressure{close_quote}. Only bifurcational mechanism of the formation of prebiotic homochiral{emdash}monomeric and afterwards polymeric{emdash}medium and its subsequent transformation in {open_quote}homochiral chemical automata{close_quote} ({open_quote}biological big bang{close_quote}{emdash}passage from {open_quote}stochastic{close_quote} to {open_quote}algorithmic{close_quote} chemistry) is possible and can be realized. Extra-terrestrial (cold, solid phase) scenarios of the origin of life seem to be more promising from that point of view than terrestrial (warm) scenarios. Within a scheme of five main stages of prebiological evolution some problems important for further investigation are briefly discussed. {copyright} {ital 1996 American Institute of Physics.}

  19. Theoretical and experimental prerequisites of exobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oparin, A. I.

    1975-01-01

    Evolutionary development of carbon compounds in the initial formation of life on earth is traced through two paths of nucleosynthesis: one, stable, is related to the mechanism of stellar radiation in stable stars; and the other unstable, is related to supernovae bursts. The possibility of abionic synthesis of biologically significant compounds was demonstrated in model tests for biomonomers and biopolymers.

  20. The Antarctic cryptoendolithic ecosystem: relevance to exobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Friedmann, E I; Ocampo-Friedmann, R

    1984-01-01

    Cryptoendolithic microorganisms in the Antarctic desert live inside porous sandstone rocks, protected by a thin rock crust. While the rock surface is abiotic, the microclimate inside the rock is comparatively mild. These organisms may have descended from early, pre-glaciation Antarctic life forms and thus may represent the last outpost of life in a gradually deteriorating environment. Assuming that life once arose on Mars, it is conceivable that, following the loss of water, the last of surviving organisms withdrew to similar insulated microenvironments. Because such microscopic pockets have little connection with the outside environment, their detection may be difficult. The chances that the Viking lander could sample cryptoendolithic microorganisms in the Antarctic desert would be infinitesimal.

  1. Exobiology: Laboratory tests of the impact related aspects of Panspermia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burchell, M. J.; Shrine, N. R. G.; Bunch, A.; Zarnecki, J. C.

    The idea that life began elsewhere and then naturally migrated to the Earth is known as Panspermia. One such possibility is that life is carried on objects (meteorites, comets and dust) that arrive at the Earth. The life (bacteria) is then presumed to survive the sudden deceleration and impact, and then subsequently develop here on Earth. This step, the survivability of bacteria during the deceleration typical of an object arriving at Earth from space, is studied in this paper. To this end a two-stage light gas gun was used to fire projectiles coated with bacteria into a variety of targets at impact speeds of 3.8 to 4.9 km s-1. Targets used were rock, glass, metal and aerogel (density 100 kg m-3). Various techniques were used to search for bacteria that had transferred to the target material during the impact. These included taking cultures from the target crater and ejecta, and use of fluorescent dyes to mark sites of live bacteria. So far only one sample has shown a signal for bacteria surviving an impact. This was for bacteria cultured from the ejecta spalled from a rock surface during an impact. However, this result needs to be repeated before any firm claims can be made for bacteria surviving a hypervelocity impact event.

  2. Abundant ammonia in primitive asteroids and the case for a possible exobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pizzarello, Sandra; Williams, Lynda B; Lehman, Jennifer; Holland, Gregory P; Yarger, Jeffery L

    2011-03-15

    Carbonaceous chondrites are asteroidal meteorites that contain abundant organic materials. Given that meteorites and comets have reached the Earth since it formed, it has been proposed that the exogenous influx from these bodies provided the organic inventories necessary for the emergence of life. The carbonaceous meteorites of the Renazzo-type family (CR) have recently revealed a composition that is particularly enriched in small soluble organic molecules, such as the amino acids glycine and alanine, which could support this possibility. We have now analyzed the insoluble and the largest organic component of the CR2 Grave Nunataks (GRA) 95229 meteorite and found it to be of more primitive composition than in other meteorites and to release abundant free ammonia upon hydrothermal treatment. The findings appear to trace CR2 meteorites' origin to cosmochemical regimes where ammonia was pervasive, and we speculate that their delivery to the early Earth could have fostered prebiotic molecular evolution.

  3. 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.

  4. Mars environmental and soil simulating facility for geophysical and exobiological studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schibler, Patrick; Heggy, Essam; Lognonné, Philippe; Anglade, André; Gabsi, Taoufik; Pot, Olivier

    Introduction In the framework of Mars exploration programs (with ESA, NASA and ISAS/JAXA), our team is most involved in the development of geophysical instruments. We are using mainly seismic methods that are planed to operate in conjunction with low frequency radars to characterize the Martian subsurface down to few kilometers deep. In order to achieve the optimal performance tests for the seismic experiment and provide a coherent physical relation between the ground mechanical and electromagnetic properties, we developed a "Mars Environmental and Soil Simulating Facility". This facility will allow to study the environmental effect on the instrument performances as well as to study the physical variation in the soil acoustic and electromagnetic properties as a function of temperature, UV, dust ionization and gas inclusions. This facility located at the IPGP campus in Saint-Maur (France) comes to support the performance studies for ESA planetary geophysical instruments and is open to cooperation for NASA Martian missions. Scientific objective The performances of subsurface exploration systems can be summarized to be mainly a function of the following: - The instrument ability to operate properly under constraining Martian surface conditions (thermal noise level, sensitivity variation etc.), - The ground geophysical parameters (acoustical and electromagnetic properties) and their evolution as a function of the Martian environmental conditions (temperature, pressure, density, UV. . . ), In order to address those two issues, our "Environmental and Soil Simulating Facility" will, (1) test the geophysical instrument in Martian-like environmental conditions (2) allow measurements for the environmental dependency of acoustic and electromagnetic properties in Mars-like environment. Facility description Our facility is composed by two general types of equipments, a Martian environmental chamber and specific instrumentation dedicated to dielectric characterization of Martian soil simulant. Martian environmental chamber On IPGP campus, we are already using these existing facilities: - clean-room including a laminar flux tent for integrations of space instrumentation, - seismic vault (including seismic pillar) for functional testing of space seismometers, - Martian environmental chamber (pressure 6 hPa of CO2 gas, temperature from +20 to -120° C) As this facility must be representative of Martian environment, it will be completed by a seismic pillar and a magnetic field compensation (a-magnetic room). Dielectric characterization of Martian soil stimulant We measure complex permittivity of different Martian surface sediments simulating the variety and complexity of the upper crust composition in order to study potential discharge effects on the instruments and to understand the intrinsic electromagnetic properties of such sediments under different environmental parameters.

  5. Exobiology Robotics Laboratory to Search for Life on Martian Subsurface Water and Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gan, D. C.; Kuznetz, L.; Chu, D.; Chang, V.; Yamada, M.; Lee, C.; Lee, R.

    2000-07-01

    A conceptual design of a robotics laboratory was constructed to search for life forms in Martian subsurface water and permafrost by cultivation of bacteria by using a variety of media to grow bacteria of the Archea group and Eubacteria. Other growth, morphology, motility and mode of reproduction of bacteria and organisms of the Protista will be observed with microscopy. The entire operations is controlled by a computer.

  6. The 1st Symposium on Chemical Evolution and the Origin and Evolution of Life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Devincenzi, D. L. (Editor); Pleasant, L. G. (Editor)

    1982-01-01

    This symposium provided an opportunity for all NASA Exobiology principal investigators to present their most recent research in a scientific meeting forum. Papers were presented in the following exobiology areas: extraterrestrial chemistry primitive earth, information transfer, solar system exploration, planetary protection, geological record, and early biological evolution.

  7. 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.

  8. Demonstrations of Extraterrestrial Life Detection Techniques in the High School Biology Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saltinski, Ronald

    1969-01-01

    Discusses the experimental procedures and equipment for exobiology projects at the high school level. An interdisciplinary approach involving electronic equipment and micro-biological laboratory techniques is used. Photographs and diagrams of equipment are included. Bibliography. (LC)

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Devincenzi, D. L. (Editor); model. (Editor)

    1986-01-01

    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).

  10. USSR space life sciences digest

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lewis, C.S.; Donnelly, K.L.

    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.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    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).

  12. Microgravity particle research on the Space Station

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Squyres, S.W.; Mckay, C.P.; Schwartz, D.E.

    1987-12-01

    Science questions that could be addressed by a Space Station Microgravity Particle Research Facility for studying small suspended particles were discussed. Characteristics of such a facility were determined. Disciplines covered include astrophysics and the solar nebula, planetary science, atmospheric science, exobiology and life science, and physics and chemistry.

  13. Aerospace medicine and biology: A continuing bibliography with indexes (supplement 353)

    Science.gov (United States)

    1989-01-01

    This bibliography lists 238 reports, articles, and other documents introduced into the NASA Scientific and Technical Information System in August 1991. Subject coverage includes: aerospace medicine and psychology, life support systems and controlled environments, safety equipment, exobiology and extraterrestrial life, biotechnology, human factors engineering, and flight crew behavior and performance.

  14. 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,…

  15. 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…

  16. 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…

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Life sciences and space research XXIII(2): Planetary biology and origins of life; Proceedings of the Topical Meeting and Workshops XX, XXI and XXIII of the 27th COSPAR Plenary Meeting, Espoo, Finland, July 18-29, 1988

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwartz, A. W. (Editor); Dose, K. (Editor); Raup, D. M. (Editor); Klein, H. P. (Editor); Devincenzi, D. L. (Editor)

    1989-01-01

    This volume includes chapters on exobiology in space, chemical and early biochemical evolution, life without oxygen, potential for chemical evolution in the early environment of Mars, planetary protection issues and sample return missions, and the modulation of biological evolution by astrophysical phenomena. Papers are presented on the results of spaceflight missions, the action of some factors of space medium on the abiogenic synthesis of nucleotides, early peptidic enzymes, microbiology and biochemistry of the methanogenic archaeobacteria, and present-day biogeochemical activities of anaerobic bacteria and their relevance to future exobiological investigations. Consideration is also given to the development of the Alba Patera volcano on Mars, biological nitrogen fixation under primordial Martian partial pressures of dinitrogen, the planetary protection issues in advance of human exploration of Mars, and the difficulty with astronomical explanations of periodic mass extinctions.

  2. Historical development of the distinction between bio- and abiogenesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sheldon, Robert B.

    2005-09-01

    Early greek philosophers laid the philosophical foundations of the distinction between bio and abiogenesis, when they debated organic and non-organic explanations for natural phenomena. Plato and Aristotle gave organic, or purpose-driven explanations for physical phenomena, whereas the materialist school of Democritus and Epicurus gave non-organic, or materialist explanations. These competing schools have alternated in popularity through history, with the present era dominated by epicurean schools of thought. Present controversies concerning evidence for exobiology and biogenesis have many aspects which reflect this millennial debate. Therefore this paper traces a selected history of this debate with some modern, 20th century developments due to quantum mechanics. It finishes with an application of quantum information theory to several exobiology debates.

  3. Fourth Symposium on Chemical Evolution and the Origin and Evolution of Life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wharton, Robert A., Jr. (Editor); Andersen, Dale T. (Editor); Bzik, Sara E. (Editor); Rummel, John D. (Editor)

    1991-01-01

    This symposium was held at the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, July 24-27, 1990. The NASA exobiology investigators reported their recent research findings. Scientific papers were 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).

  4. French space program: report to Cospar

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    1975-01-01

    Programs and results obtained are reviewed for all French laboratories working in areas of research related to space. Main topics include lunar specimen studies; spectroscopic planetology; space radiation; ionospheric and magnetospherics; aeronomy; meteorology, comprising the Meteosat program and the Eole experiment and earth resources investigations; geodesy; and geodynamics-research covering space biology and exobiology is also discussed. French satellites and sounding rockets are listed, as well as French experiments onboard foreign spacecraft. (GRA)

  5. A New Family of Planets ? "Ocean Planets"

    OpenAIRE

    Leger, A.; Selsis, F.; Sotin, C.; Guillot, T.; Despois, D.; Lammer, H.; Ollivier, M.; Brachet, F.; Labeque, A.; Valette, C.

    2003-01-01

    A new family of planets is considered which is between rochy terrestrial planets and gaseous giant ones: "Ocean-Planets". We present the possible formation, composition and internal models of these putative planets, including that of their ocean, as well as their possible Exobiology interest. These planets should be detectable by planet detection missions such as Eddington and Kepler, and possibly COROT (lauch scheduled in 2006). They would be ideal targets for spectroscopic missions such as ...

  6. From the interstellar clouds, through the inner to the outer solar system: a universally distributed complex organic chemistry. Preface.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raulin, F; Greenberg, J M

    1997-01-01

    High molecular weight organic compounds are involved in the chemistry and physics of many astrophysical and planetary objects. They are or should be present in interstellar dust, in comets and meteorites, in the Giant planets and Titan, in asteroids Triton and icy satellites. They represent a class of very complex organic material, part of which may have played a role in the origin of life on Earth. Thus they directly concern prebiotic chemistry and exobiology.

  7. Detection of Extraterrestrial Ecology (Exoecology)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Harry; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Researchers in the Astrobiology Technology Branch at Ames Research Center have begun investigating alternate concepts for the detection of extraterrestrial life. We suggest searching for extraterrestrial ecology, exoecology, as well as for extraterrestrial biology, exobiology. Ecology describes the interactions of living things with their environment. All ecosystems are highly constrained by their environment and are constrained by well-known system design principles. Ecology could exist wherever there is an energy source and living I things have discovered some means to capture, store, and use the available energy. Terrestrial ecosystems use as energy sources, light, organic molecules, and in thermal vents and elsewhere, simple inorganic molecules. Ecosystem behavior is controlled by matter and energy conservation laws and can be described by linear and nonlinear dynamic systems theory. Typically in an ecosystem different molecules are not in chemical equilibrium and scarce material is conserved, stored, or recycled. Temporal cycles and spatial variations are often observed. These and other -eneral principles of exoecology can help guide the search for extraterrestrial life. The chemical structure observed in terrestrial biology may be highly contingent on evolutionary accidents. Oxygen was not always abundant on Earth. Primitive sulfur bacteria use hydrogen sulfide and sulfur to perform photosynthesis instead of water and oxygen. Astrobiologists have assumed, for the sake of narrowing and focusing our life detection strategies, that extraterrestrial life will have detailed chemical similarities with terrestrial life. Such assumptions appear very reasonable and they allow us to design specific and highly sensitive life detection experiments. But the fewer assumptions we make, the less chance we have of being entirely wrong The best strategy for the detection of extraterrestrial life could be a mixed strategy. We should use detailed assumptions based on terrestrial

  8. The solar system: Importance of research to the biological sciences

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klein, Harold P.

    1992-01-01

    An attempt is made to describe the scope of scientific areas that comprise the current field of exobiology in the United States. From investigations of astrophysical phenomena that deal with the birth of stars and planetary systems to questions of molecular biology involving phylogenetic relationships among organisms, from attempts to simulate the synthesis of biological precursor molecules in the chemistry laboratory to making measurements of the organic constituents of Titan's atmosphere, these researches all converge toward a common objective--answering the question of how life came about in the universe.

  9. Sixth Symposium on Chemical Evolution and the Origin and Evolution of Life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Acevedo, Sara (Editor); DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Editor); Chang, Sherwood (Editor)

    1998-01-01

    The 6th Symposium on Chemical Evolution and the Origin and Evolution of Life was convened at NASA Ames Research Center, November 17-20, 1997. This Symposium is convened every three years under the auspices of NASA's Exobiology Program Office. All Principal Investigators funded by this Program present their most recent research accomplishments at the Symposium. Scientific papers were presented in the following areas: cosmic evolution of the biogenic elements, prebiotic evolution (both planetary and chemical), evolution of early organisms and evolution of organisms in extreme environments, solar system exploration, and star and planet formation. The Symposium was attended by over 200 scientists from NASA centers and Universities nationwide.

  10. 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.

  11. A meeting with the universe: Science discoveries from the space program

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    French, B.M.; Maran, S.P.

    1981-01-01

    A general history of space exploration is presented. The solar system is discussed. The Sun-Earth relationship is considered, including magnetic fields, solar wind, the magnetosphere, and the Sun-weather relationship. The universe beyond the solar system is discussed. Topics include stellar and galactic evolution, quasars and intergalactic space. The effects of weightlessness and ionizing radiation on human beings are considered. The possibility of extraterrestrial life is discussed. Lunar and planetary exploration, solar-terrestrial physics, astrophysics, biomedical research and exobiology are reviewed. Numerous color illustrations are included.

  12. A meeting with the universe: Science discoveries from the space program

    Science.gov (United States)

    French, B. M.; Maran, S. P.

    A general history of space exploration is presented. The solar system is discussed. The Sun-Earth relationship is considered, including magnetic fields, solar wind, the magnetosphere, and the Sun-weather relationship. The universe beyond the solar system is discussed. Topics include stellar and galactic evolution, quasars and intergalactic space. The effects of weightlessness and ionizing radiation on human beings are considered. The possibility of extraterrestrial life is discussed. Lunar and planetary exploration, solar-terrestrial physics, astrophysics, biomedical research and exobiology are reviewed. Numerous color illustrations are included.

  13. Lederberg on bacterial recombination, Haldane, and cold war genetics: an interview.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sarkar, Sahotra

    2014-01-01

    Joshua Lederberg (1925-2008), was one of the pioneers of molecular genetics perhaps best known for his discovery of genetic recombination in bacteria which earned him a Nobel Prize in 1958 (shared with George Beadle and Edward Tatum). Lederberg's interests were broad including the origin of life, exobiology (a term that he coined) and emerging diseases and artificial intelligence in his, later years. This article contains the transcription of an interview in excerpts, docu- menting the interactions between Lederberg and fellow biologist J.B.S. Haldane wlich lasted from 1946 until Haldane's death in Kolkata (then Calcutta) in 1964.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Aerospace medicine and biology: A continuing bibliography with indexes (supplement 395)

    Science.gov (United States)

    1994-01-01

    This bibliography lists 82 reports, articles and other documents introduced into the NASA Scientific and Technical Information System during Nov. 1992. Subject coverage includes: general life sciences; aerospace medicine (including physiological factors, biological effects of radiation, and effects of weightlessness on man and animals); behavioral sciences (including psychological factors, individual and group behavior, crew training and evaluation, and psychic research); man/system technology and life support (including human engineering, biotechnology, and space suits and protective clothing) and space biology (including exobiology, planetary biology, and extraterrestrial life).

  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.

    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.

  1. Aerospace medicine and biology: A continuing bibliography with indexes (supplement 366)

    Science.gov (United States)

    1992-01-01

    This bibliography lists 248 reports, articles, and other documents introduced into the NASA Scientific and Technical Information System during Aug. 1992. Subject coverage 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.

  2. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A continuing bibliography with indexes, supplement 139

    Science.gov (United States)

    1975-01-01

    The biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which man is subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space are referenced. Similar effects on biological organisms of lower order are also included. Related topics such as sanitary problems, pharmacology, toxicology, safety and survival, life support systems, exobiology, and personnel factors are discussed. Applied research is emphasized, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development are also included. A total of 242 reports, articles, and other documents are listed.

  3. Aerospace medicine and biology: A continuing bibliography with indexes (supplement 368)

    Science.gov (United States)

    1992-01-01

    This bibliography lists 305 reports, articles, and other documents introduced into the NASA Scientific and Technical Information System during Sep. 1992. The subject coverage 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 237

    Science.gov (United States)

    1982-01-01

    A bibliography is given on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which man is subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the Earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects of 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. In general, emphasis is placed on applied research, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion.

  5. Implications of abundant hygroscopic minerals in the Martian regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, B. C.

    1978-01-01

    Converging lines of evidence suggest that a significant portion of the Martian surface fines may consist of salts and smectite clays. Salts can form stoichiometric hydrates as well as eutectic solutions with depressed freezing points; clays contain bound water of constitution and adsorb significant quantities of water from the vapor phase. The formation of ice may be suppressed by these minerals in some regions on Mars, and their presence in abundance would imply important consequences for atmospheric and geologic processes and the prospects for exobiology.

  6. Website for the Space Science Division

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schilling, James; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The Space Science Division at NASA Ames Research Center is dedicated to research in astrophysics, exobiology, advanced life support technologies, and planetary science. These research programs are structured around Astrobiology (the study of life in the universe and the chemical and physical forces and adaptions that influence life's origin, evolution, and destiny), and address some of the most fundamental questions pursued by science. These questions examine the origin of life and our place in the universe. Ames is recognized as a world leader in Astrobiology. In pursuing our mission in Astrobiology, Space Science Division scientists perform pioneering basic research and technology development.

  7. [Deep-sea research ground for the study of living matter properties in extreme conditions].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Polikarpov, G G

    2011-01-01

    The Black Sea hollow bottom is a promising research ground in the field of deep-sea radiochemoecology and exobiology. It has turned out to be at the intersection of the earth and cosmic scientific interests such as deep-sea marine radiochemoecology from the perspective of the study of extreme biogeocenological properties of the Earth biosphere and exobiology from the standpoint of the study of life phenomena (living matter) outside the Earth biosphere, i.e. on other planets and during hypothetical transfer of spores in the outer space. The potential of this ground is substantiated with the data published by the author and co-workers on accumulation of 90Sr, 137Cs and Pu isotopes with silts of bathyal pelo-contour, on the quality of deep-sea hydrogen sulphide waters (after their contact with air) for vital functions of planktonic and benthic aerobes, as well as the species composition of marine, freshwater and terrestrial plants grown from the spores collected from the bottom sediments of the Black Sea bathyal. Discussion was based on V.I. Vernadsky's ideas about the living matter and biosphere, which allowed conclusions about the biospheric and outer space role of the described phenomena.

  8. Archaeon and archaeal virus diversity classification via sequence entropy and fractal dimension

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tremberger, George, Jr.; Gallardo, Victor; Espinoza, Carola; Holden, Todd; Gadura, N.; Cheung, E.; Schneider, P.; Lieberman, D.; Cheung, T.

    2010-09-01

    Archaea are important potential candidates in astrobiology as their metabolism includes solar, inorganic and organic energy sources. Archaeal viruses would also be expected to be present in a sustainable archaeal exobiological community. Genetic sequence Shannon entropy and fractal dimension can be used to establish a two-dimensional measure for classification and phylogenetic study of these organisms. A sequence fractal dimension can be calculated from a numerical series consisting of the atomic numbers of each nucleotide. Archaeal 16S and 23S ribosomal RNA sequences were studied. Outliers in the 16S rRNA fractal dimension and entropy plot were found to be halophilic archaea. Positive correlation (R-square ~ 0.75, N = 18) was observed between fractal dimension and entropy across the studied species. The 16S ribosomal RNA sequence entropy correlates with the 23S ribosomal RNA sequence entropy across species with R-square 0.93, N = 18. Entropy values correspond positively with branch lengths of a published phylogeny. The studied archaeal virus sequences have high fractal dimensions of 2.02 or more. A comparison of selected extremophile sequences with archaeal sequences from the Humboldt Marine Ecosystem database (Wood-Hull Oceanography Institute, MIT) suggests the presence of continuous sequence expression as inferred from distributions of entropy and fractal dimension, consistent with the diversity expected in an exobiological archaeal community.

  9. Origins of Life Research: a Bibliometric Approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aydinoglu, Arsev Umur; Taşkın, Zehra

    2017-07-13

    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, Wȁchtershȁuser 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. Science strategy for human exploration of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoker, C. R.; Mckay, C. P.; Haberle, R. M.; Andersen, D. T.

    1992-01-01

    The Martian potential for supporting life is considered in this discussion of scientific exploration objectives related to exobiology, climatology, and geology. Two significant areas of research are identified - the habitability of Mars and the general relationship between planetary parameters and life - and an exploration strategy is developed. Four phases of human exploration are determined including: (1) precursor missions for evaluating the Martian environment; (2) emplacement missions for studying specific landing sites; (3) consolidation missions for the development of permanent exploratory-mission bases; and (4) a final utilization phase in which global Martian exploration is conducted. The logistical considerations related to each phase are discussed with specific references to types of vehicles and technology required.

  11. Moessbauer-Spectrometer MIMOS II: Future applications

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Klingelhoefer, Goestar; Blumers, Mathias; Schroeder, Christian; Fleischer, Iris; Lopez, Jordi G.; Sanchez, Jose F.; Hahn, Michaela; Upadhyay, Chandan [Institut fuer Anorganische Chemie und Analytische Chemie, Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet, Staudinger Weg 9, 55128 Mainz (Germany); Rodionov, Daniel [Institut fuer Anorganische Chemie und Analytische Chemie, Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet, Staudinger Weg 9, 55128 Mainz (Germany); Space Research Institute IKI, 117997 Moskau (Russian Federation)

    2007-07-01

    The Miniaturized Moessbauer Spectrometer MIMOS II operates on the surface of Mars for the last three years (part of NASA Mars Exploration Rovers scientific payload). Successful application of MIMOS II as a tool for detection/analysis of Fe-bearing minerals on the extraterrestrial surfaces has proven its use for other missions. Currently MIMOS II is a part of ExoMars and Phobos-Grunt missions. ExoMars is managed by the European Space Agency and planned to be launched in 2013. It involves the development of a sophisticated Mars rover with set of instruments to further characterize the biological environment on Mars in preparation for robotic missions and human exploration. Data from the mission should provide an input for broader studies of exobiology. Phobos-Grunt is developed by Russian Space Agency. Currently, launch is planned in 2009. The main goals of the mission are Phobos regolith sample return, Phobos in situ study and Mars/Phobos remote sensing.

  12. Dosimetric results on EURECA

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Reitz, G.

    1995-02-01

    Detector packages were exposed on the European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA) as part of the Biostack experiment inside the Exobiology and Radiation Assembly (ERA) and at several locations around EURECA. The packages consist of different plastic nuclear track detectors, nuclear emulsions and thermoluminescence dosimeters (TLD`s). Evaluation of these detectors yields data on absorbed dose and particle and LET spectra. Preliminary results of absorbed dose measurements in the EURECA dosimeter packages are reported and compared to results of the LDEF experiments. The highest dose rate measured on EURECA is 63.3 plus or minus 0.4 mGy d(exp -1) behind a shielding thickness of 0.09 g cm(exp -2) in front of the detector package.

  13. 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.

  14. The second conference on lunar bases and space activities of the 21st Century, volume 2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mendell, W.W.; Alred, J.W.; Bell, L.S.; Cintala, M.J.; Crabb, T.M.; Durrett, R.H.; Finney, B.R.; Franklin, H.A.; French, J.R.; Greenberg, J.S.

    1992-09-01

    These 92 papers comprise a peer-reviewed selection of presentations by authors from NASA, the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), industry, and academia at the Second Conference on Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century. These papers go into more technical depth than did those published from the first NASA-sponsored symposium on the topic, held in 1984. Session topics included the following: (1) design and operation of transportation systems to, in orbit around, and on the Moon; (2) lunar base site selection; (3) design, architecture, construction, and operation of lunar bases and human habitats; (4) lunar-based scientific research and experimentation in astronomy, exobiology, and lunar geology; (5) recovery and use of lunar resources; (6) environmental and human factors of and life support technology for human presence on the Moon; and (7) program management of human exploration of the Moon and space. Separate abstracts have been prepared for articles in this report.

  15. The Second Conference on Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century, volume 1

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mendell, W.W.; Alred, J.W.; Bell, L.S.; Cintala, M.J.; Crabb, T.M.; Durrett, R.H.; Finney, B.R.; Franklin, H.A.; French, J.R.; Greenberg, J.S.

    1992-09-01

    These papers comprise a peer-review selection of presentations by authors from NASA, LPI industry, and academia at the Second Conference (April 1988) on Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century, sponsored by the NASA Office of Exploration and the Lunar Planetary Institute. These papers go into more technical depth than did those published from the first NASA-sponsored symposium on the topic, held in 1984. Session topics covered by this volume include (1) design and operation of transportation systems to, in orbit around, and on the Moon, (2) lunar base site selection, (3) design, architecture, construction, and operation of lunar bases and human habitats, and (4) lunar-based scientific research and experimentation in astronomy, exobiology, and lunar geology. Separate abstracts have been prepared for articles from this report.

  16. Raman spectra of organic compounds kladnoite (C6H4(CO)2NH) and hoelite (C14H8O2)--rare sublimation products crystallising on self-ignited coal heaps.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jehlicka, J; Zácek, V; Edwards, H G M; Shcherbakova, E; Moroz, T

    2007-12-15

    As minerals, aromatic compounds occur very rarely in nature. Not more than 10 of such minerals are known and most of them were described in the coal deposits where they were formed as a result of coal bed fires or burning of coal waste heaps. Raman spectra of kladnoite C(6)H(4)(CO)(2)NH (natural phthalimide) and hoelite C(14)H(8)O(2), (natural 9,10-anthraquinone) display complex features. Raman microspectroscopy help to detect these phases non-destructively directly in the frame of rare samples. Investigated minerals are transformation products formed from gaseous phase originating in natural pyrolytical process occurring in the frame of coal heaps and coal series outcrops. It is recommended to include Raman spectroscopic characteristics of similar materials in databases for exobiological studies.

  17. Exo/Astrobiology in Europe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brack, André; Horneck, Gerda; Wynn-Williams, David

    2001-08-01

    The question of the chemical origins of life is engraved in the European scientific patrimony as it can be traced back to the pioneer ideas of Charles Darwin, Louis Pasteur, and more recently to Alexander Oparin. During the last decades, the European community of origin of life scientists has organized seven out of the twelve International Conferences on the Origins of Life held since 1957. This community contributed also to enlarge the field of research to the study of life in extreme environments and to the search for extraterrestrial life, i.e. exobiology in its classical definition or astrobiology if one uses a more NASA-inspired terminology. The present paper aims to describe the European science background in exo/astrobiology as well as the project of a European Network of Exo/Astrobiology.

  18. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 482

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 477

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP-1998-7011) 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    1997-01-01

    This issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes NASA SP-7O11 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes. Supplement 478

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP-1998-7011) 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.

  9. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography. Supplement 476

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    This supplemental issue of Aerospace Medicine and Biology, A Continuing Bibliography with Indexes (NASA/SP-1998-7011) 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.

  10. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A Continuing Bibliography. Supplement 475

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. The northwestern slope valleys (NSVs) region, Mars: A prime candidate site for the future exploration of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dohm, J.M.; Ferris, J.C.; Barlow, N.G.; Baker, V.R.; Mahaney, W.C.; Anderson, R.C.; Hare, T.M.

    2004-01-01

    The northwestern slope valleys region is a prime candidate site for future science-driven Mars exploration because it records Noachian to Amazonian Tharsis development in a region that encapsulates (1) a diverse and temporally extensive stratigraphic record, (2) at least three distinct paleohydrologic regimes, (3) gargantuan structurally controlled flood valleys that generally correspond with gravity and magnetic anomalies, possibly marking ancient magnetized rock materials exposed by fluvial activity, (4) water enrichment, as indicated by Mars Odyssey and impact crater analyses, (5) long-lived magma and ground water/ice interactions that could be favorable for the development and sustenance of life, and (6) potential paleosol development. This region has high probability to yield significant geologic, climatic, and exobiologic information that could revolutionize our understanding of Mars. ?? 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Chemical analysis in space exploration - A lunar-based chemical analysis laboratory (LBCAL)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hobish, Mitchell K.; Gehrke, Charles W.; Ponnamperuma, Cyril; Zumwalt, Robert W.

    Issues that a well-designed LBCAL must address are examined, and an approach whereby appropriate constituencies can provide input to the design and construction processes is outlined. A ready-made cadre to pursue similar projects in support of human space travel is provided. Goals of an LBCAL are to: define the life sciences, planetary, and materials sciences research objectives of a manned lunar base; elucidate the scientific and analytical requirememnts of lunar-based laboratory instrumentation and sample packaging resources to achieve these objectives; review the current state-of-the-art instrumentation for the analytical requirements of the laboratory; and identify needed techniques and technologies for the laboratory, and improvise or fabricate or modify them to suit such a laboratory. Consideration is also given to measurement of astronaut stress, a dedicated clinical analyzer, exobiological research, lunar science, materials science, interdisciplinary science, and terrestrial benefits and spin-offs.

  14. 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.

  15. Aerospace Medicine and Biology: A continuing bibliography with indexes, supplement 143

    Science.gov (United States)

    1975-01-01

    This supplement to Aerospace Medicine and Biology (NASA SP-7011) lists 251 reports, articles and other documents announced during June 1975 in Scientific and Technical Aerospace Reports (STAR) or in International Aerospace Abstracts (IAA). The first issue of the bibliography was published in July 1964; since that time, monthly supplements have been issued. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, and environmental effects to which man is subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects of 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. In general, emphasis is placed on applied research, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion.

  16. Aerospace medicine and biology: A continuing bibliography with indexes, supplement 107, October 1972

    Science.gov (United States)

    1972-01-01

    This Supplement of Aerospace Medicine and Biology lists 353 reports, articles, and other documents announced during September 1972 in Scientific and Technical Aerospace Reports or in International Aerospace Abstracts. In its subject coverage, Aerospace Medicine and Biology concentrates on the biological, physiological, psychological, and environmental effects to which man is subjected during and following simulated or actual flight in the earth's atmosphere or in interplanetary space. References describing similar effects of 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. In general, emphasis is placed on applied research, but references to fundamental studies and theoretical principles related to experimental development also qualify for inclusion.

  17. Origins of Life Research: a Bibliometric Approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aydinoglu, Arsev Umur; Taşkın, Zehra

    2017-07-01

    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, Wȁchtershȁuser 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.

  18. Mission and system concepts for Mars robotic precursor missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scoon, George E. N.; Hechler, Martin

    1993-01-01

    Mission and system design concepts reflecting the status at about the midpoint of the Marsnet phase A study are reported. The objective of Marsnet is to place three to four small stations (approximately 80 kg) on the surface of Mars to perform scientific measurements in the areas of geophysics (seismology), geology, geochemistry, mineralogy, meteorology, and exobiology. The ESA Landers will constitute part of a global network to which NASA is planning to contribute up to 16 other stations. The Mars Global Network may be seen as a precursor to the exploration of Mars by mobile vehicles in terms of its scientific measurements. But, also, some aspects of mission and system design addressed may be applicable to more complex robotic missions to Mars, for example, the development and testing of feasible probe delivery concepts; the design of low mass, low power components, and solar arrays suited for the Mars environment; and the development of a low complexity mobile instrument deployment device.

  19. 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.

  20. About the presence of arsenic in prebiotic species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ellinger Y.

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available The recent publication that some bacteria could use arsenic instead of phosphorus for building their DNA triggered a large controversy in the astro/exobiology community. Most comments claim that such a substitution is not possible. Here, we address the same question of the presence of As in DNA from a pure theoretical point of view, beyond any biological consideration. By means of “First principle“ quantum calculations we found that there is no energetical or structural argument to reject the As to P substitution in the DNA helix. However, a topological analysis of the electron density shows that As-DNA is much more fragile and most probably will not survive because it lacks the covalent bonds that insure the stability of biological P-DNA.

  1. Life at the Limits: Capacities of Isolated and Cultured Lichen Symbionts to Resist Extreme Environmental Stresses

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Vera, J.-P.; Rettberg, P.; Ott, S.

    2008-10-01

    Lichens are described as a symbiosis formed by a myco- and photobiont, capable of colonizing habitats where their separate symbionts would not be able to survive. Space simulation studies on the separated symbionts of the lichen Xanthoria elegans have been performed to test their capacity to resist the most extreme conditions. The isolated cultured symbiont cells were exposed to different doses of the UV spectrum, and to vacuum. Cultures of both symbionts were analysed by specific vitality tests (LIVE/DEAD-staining detected by Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy). Growth capacity of symbiont cultures on different media was analysed after exposure to extreme environmental stresses. The data obtained support the hypothesis that the symbiotic state considerably enhances the ability of the respective symbionts to survive exposure to extreme conditions, including the conditions of space simulation. Species such as X. elegans may, therefore, be suitable for use as model organisms in exobiological studies.

  2. 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?

  3. 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,...

  4. National Workshop on Astrobiology: the life science involvement of AAS-I Laben.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adami, Giorgio

    2006-12-01

    The search for traces of past and present life is a complex and multidisciplinary research activity involving several scientific heritages and a specific industrial ability for planetary exploration. Laben was established in 1958 to design and manufacture electronic instruments for research in nuclear physics. In the mid 2004 the company was merged with Alenia Spazio. It is now part of Alcatel Alenia Space, a French Italian joint venture. Alcatel Alenia Space Italia SpA is a Finmeccanica Company. Currently the plant of Vimodrone provides a wide heritage in life science oriented to space application. The experience in Space Life Science is consolidated in the following research areas: (1) Physiology: Mouse models related to studies on human physiology Human neuroscience research and dosimetry (2) Animal Adaptation and Behaviour: mice behaviour related to stabling stress (3) Developmental Biology: aquatic microorganisms cultivation (4) Cell culture & Biotechnology: Protein crystal growth General purpose Multiwell Next Biotechnology studies and development: Bio reactor, mainly oriented to tissue engineering Microsensor for tissue control (organ replacement) Multiwell for adherent cell culture or for automated biosensor based on cell culture Experiment Container for organic systems Experiment Container for small animals Instrumentation based on fluorescent Biosensors Sensors for Life science experiments for Biopan capsule and Space Vehicle Ray Shielding Materials Random Positioning Machine specialisation (Support ground equipment) The biological features of this heritage is at disposal for the exobiology multi science. The involvement of industries, from the beginning of the exobiology projects, allows a cost effective technologies closed loop development between Research Centres, Principal Investigators and industry.

  5. NIR spectral constraints of Europa's surface with ESO/VLT/ SINFONI

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-04-01

    Europa is a major exobiological target with its possible sub-surface briny ocean buried under a water-ice dominated crust of several km-thick. The upcoming ESA L-class mission JUICE to the Jupiter system and its payload will partly address this question, in particular through compositional remote sensing in the near-infrared (using the MAJIS imaging hyperspectral spectrometer) and visible (using MAJIS and the camera JANUS) wavelength range. A global compositional mapping campaign was performed between October 2011 and January 2012 with the integral field spectrograph SINFONI on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile for increasing our knowledge acquired with the NIMS instrument onboard the Galileo spacecraft and previous telescopic observations. The high spectral binning of this instrument (0.5 nm) is suitable to detect any narrow 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). Depending on the hemisphere, our spectra are globally (1) dominated by crystalline water-ice distorted and asymmetric absorption features, or (2) dominated by sulfuric acid hydrate (Carlson et al. 1999b) coming from Iogenic sulfur ion bombardment. However, some well-identified geological structures such as crater (Pwyll) and some chaos regions (Tara Regio, Powys Regio) look spectrally different. Although hydrated magnesium sulfates as epsomite (MgSO4.7H2O) and chlorine hydrated salts were proposed to be present on the surface (Brown et al. 2013, Hanley et al. 2014), our preliminary fits from linear spectral modeling (using cryogenic laboratory spectra of these materials) cannot reproduce this result. Finally, no narrow signature, which could indicate the presence of material of exobiological interest, has been so far detected in this complex data set.

  6. National Workshop on Astrobiology: The Life Science Involvement of AAS I Laben

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adami, Giorgio

    2006-12-01

    The search for traces of past and present life is a complex and multidisciplinary research activity involving several scientific heritages and a specific industrial ability for planetary exploration. Laben was established in 1958 to design and manufacture electronic instruments for research in nuclear physics. In the mid 2004 the company was merged with Alenia Spazio. It is now part of Alcatel Alenia Space, a French Italian joint venture. Alcatel Alenia Space Italia SpA is a Finmeccanica Company. Currently the plant of Vimodrone provides a wide heritage in life science oriented to space application. The experience in Space Life Science is consolidated in the following research areas: (1) Physiology: Mouse models related to studies on human physiology Human neuroscience research and dosimetry (2) Animal Adaptation and Behaviour: mice behaviour related to stabling stress (3) Developmental Biology: aquatic microorganisms cultivation (4) Cell culture & Biotechnology: Protein crystal growth General purpose Multiwell Next Biotechnology studies and development: Bio reactor, mainly oriented to tissue engineering Microsensor for tissue control (organ replacement) Multiwell for adherent cell culture or for automated biosensor based on cell culture Experiment Container for organic systems Experiment Container for small animals Instrumentation based on fluorescent Biosensors Sensors for Life science experiments for Biopan capsule and Space Vehicle Ray Shielding Materials Random Positioning Machine specialisation (Support ground equipment) The biological features of this heritage is at disposal for the exobiology multi science. The involvement of industries, from the beginning of the exobiology projects, allows a cost effective technologies closed loop development between Research Centres, Principal Investigators and industry.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. The Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment (MECA)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meloy, Thomas P.; Marshall, John; Hecht, Michael

    1999-01-01

    The Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment (MECA) will evaluate the Martian environment for soil and dust-related hazards to human exploration as part of the Mars Surveyor Program 2001 Lander. Sponsored by the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) enterprise, MECA's goal is to evaluate potential geochemical and environmental hazards that may confront future martian explorers, and to guide HEDS scientists in the development of high fidelity Mars soil simulants. In addition to objectives related to human exploration, the MECA data set will be rich in information relevant to basic geology, paleoclimate, and exobiology issues. The integrated MECA payload contains a wet-chemistry laboratory, a microscopy station, an electrometer to characterize the electrostatics of the soil and its environment, and arrays of material patches to study the abrasive and adhesive properties of soil grains. MECA is allocated a mass of 10 kg and a peak power usage of 15 W within an enclosure of 35 x 25 x 15 cm (figures I and 2). The Wet Chemistry Laboratory (WCL) consists of four identical cells that will accept samples from surface and subsurface regions accessible to the Lander's robotic arm, mix them with water, and perform extensive analysis of the solution. Using an array of ion-specific electrodes (ISEs), cyclic voltammetry, and electrochemical techniques, the chemistry cells will wet soil samples for measurement of basic soil properties of pH, redox potential, and conductivity. Total dissolved material, as well as targeted ions will be detected to the ppm level, including important exobiological ions such as Na, K+, Ca++, Mg++, NH4+, Cl, S04-, HC03, as well as more toxic ions such as Cu++, Pb++, Cd++, Hg++, and C104-. MECA's microscopy station combines optical and atomic-force microscopy (AFM) to image dust and soil particles from millimeters to nanometers in size. Illumination by red, green, and blue LEDs is augmented by an ultraviolet LED intended to excite

  10. Melanin, Radiation, and Energy Transduction in Fungi.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casadevall, Arturo; Cordero, Radames J B; Bryan, Ruth; Nosanchuk, Joshua; Dadachova, Ekaterina

    2017-03-01

    Melanin pigments are found in many diverse fungal species, where they serve a variety of functions that promote fitness and cell survival. Melanotic fungi inhabit some of the most extreme habitats on earth such as the damaged nuclear reactor at Chernobyl and the highlands of Antarctica, both of which are high-radiation environments. Melanotic fungi migrate toward radioactive sources, which appear to enhance their growth. This phenomenon, combined with the known capacities of melanin to absorb a broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation and transduce this radiation into other forms of energy, raises the possibility that melanin also functions in harvesting such energy for biological usage. The ability of melanotic fungi to harness electromagnetic radiation for physiological processes has enormous implications for biological energy flows in the biosphere and for exobiology, since it provides new mechanisms for survival in extraterrestrial conditions. Whereas some features of the way melanin-related energy transduction works can be discerned by linking various observations and circumstantial data, the mechanistic details remain to be discovered.

  11. The Marco Polo space mission: sample return from a primitive Near-Earth Object under assessment study in the Cosmic Vision Program of the European Space Agency

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michel, P.

    2008-09-01

    Marco Polo is a joint European-Japanese mission study to perform a sample return from a primitive Near-Earth Object (NEO). On October 2007, this mission project passed the first evaluation process in the framework of the ESA Cosmic Vision Programme 2015-2025. The aim of Marco Polo is to reach a primitive NEO, to perform a multiple scale characterization of its physical properties, and to bring samples back to the Earth for detailed analysis in laboratory. The NEO population is composed by asteroids and comets that are thought to be the primitive leftover building blocks of the Solar System formation process. Due to their small sizes, their chemical composition is believed to have kept some memory of the original chemical composition of the solar nebula, contrary to larger planetary bodies who experienced major thermal processes in their interior. They may also carry some important information related to life formation as current exobiological scenarios invoke an exogeneous delivery of organic matter to the early Earth for the origin of terrestrial life. Finally, the hazard caused by these small bodies needs mitigation strategies which efficiency relies on our understanding of their physical properties. Marco Polo will give us the first opportunity for detailed laboratory study of the most primitive materials. This sample return space mission has therefore the potential to revolutionize our understanding of primitive materials, essential to undestand the conditions for planet formation and emergency of life. Current mission studies and expected results will be presented and discussed.

  12. Strategies for the Astrobiological Exploration of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farmer, Jack

    2000-07-01

    The search for evidence of past and present life and/or prebiotic chemistry has been identified as the primary focus of the current Mars Surveyor (MS) Program. In this context, recent exploration strategies have emphasized the need to explore three basic geological environments: A) sites of ancient surface water, B) sites of ancient subsurface water and C) sites of present subsurface water. In previous implementation strategies it has been generally assumed that if subsurface water exists on Mars today it will be located at a depth of several km. Access will require deep drilling that is beyond the capabilities of current robotic platforms. Logically, the exploration for deposits of ancient hydrological systems may be much easier and has, therefore, given priority. However, recent discoveries from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission have demonstrated that we still have a lot to learn about past and present Martian environments and the potential for life. Advances in our understanding of Martian surface topography, geomorphology and composition, as well as in our knowledge of life in extreme environments on Earth, indicate the value of considering a broadly-based, flexible strategy that will balance elements of both Exopaleontology (the search for a fossil record) and Exobiology (the search for extant life). Because exploration strategies for past and present life are fundamentally different, it is appropriate to consider each separately before seeking to define a program architecture that will effectively combine both aspects during future robotic exploration.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Habitability on planetary surfaces: interdisciplinary preparation phase for future Mars missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peeters, Z.; Quinn, R.; Martins, Z.; Sephton, M. A.; Becker, L.; van Loosdrecht, M. C. M.; Brucato, J.; Grunthaner, F.; Ehrenfreund, P.

    2009-10-01

    Life on Earth is one of the outcomes of the formation and evolution of our solar system and has adapted to every explored environment on planet Earth. Recent discoveries have shown that life can exist in extreme environments, such as hydrothermal vents, in deserts and in ice lakes in Antarctica. These findings challenge the definition of the ‘planetary habitable zone’. The objective of future international planetary exploration programmes is to implement a long-term plan for the robotic and human exploration of solar system bodies. Mars has been a central object of interest in the context of extraterrestrial life. The search for extinct or extant life on Mars is one of the main goals of space missions to the Red Planet during the next decade. In this paper we describe the investigation of the physical and chemical properties of Mars soil analogues collected in arid deserts. We measure the pH, redox potential and ion concentrations, as well as carbon and amino acid abundances of soils collected from the Atacama desert (Chile and Peru) and the Salten Skov sediment from Denmark. The samples show large differences in their measured properties, even when taken only several meters apart. A desert sample and the Salten Skov sediment were exposed to a simulated Mars environment to test the stability of amino acids in the soils. The presented laboratory and field studies provide limits to exobiological models, evidence on the effects of subsurface mineral matrices, support current and planned space missions and address planetary protection issues.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Perennial water ice identified in the south polar cap of Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bibring, Jean-Pierre; Langevin, Yves; Poulet, François; Gendrin, Aline; Gondet, Brigitte; Berthé, Michel; Soufflot, Alain; Drossart, Pierre; Combes, Michel; Bellucci, Giancarlo; Moroz, Vassili; Mangold, Nicolas; Schmitt, Bernard

    2004-04-08

    The inventory of water and carbon dioxide reservoirs on Mars are important clues for understanding the geological, climatic and potentially exobiological evolution of the planet. From the early mapping observation of the permanent ice caps on the martian poles, the northern cap was believed to be mainly composed of water ice, whereas the southern cap was thought to be constituted of carbon dioxide ice. However, recent missions (NASA missions Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey) have revealed surface structures, altimetry profiles, underlying buried hydrogen, and temperatures of the south polar regions that are thermodynamically consistent with a mixture of surface water ice and carbon dioxide. Here we present the first direct identification and mapping of both carbon dioxide and water ice in the martian high southern latitudes, at a resolution of 2 km, during the local summer, when the extent of the polar ice is at its minimum. We observe that this south polar cap contains perennial water ice in extended areas: as a small admixture to carbon dioxide in the bright regions; associated with dust, without carbon dioxide, at the edges of this bright cap; and, unexpectedly, in large areas tens of kilometres away from the bright cap.

  3. 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.

  4. The Undergraduate Student Instrumentation Projects at the University of Houston

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bering, E. A., III; Talbot, R. W.; Glennie, C. L.; Rodrigues, D.; Jinghong, C.; Alozie, M.; Behrend, C. C.; Bias, C.; Ehteshami, A.; Fenton, A.; Greer, M.; Gunawan, B.; Harrison, W.; Jordan, J.; Lalata, M. C.; Lehnen, J. N.; Martinez, A.; Mathur, S.; Medillin, M.; Nguyen, T.; Nguyen, T. V.; Nowling, M.; Perez, D.; Pham, M.; Pina, M.; Porat, I.; Prince, J.; Thomas, G. C.; Velasquez, B.; Victor, L.

    2016-12-01

    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 this year, 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. Additional flights with BARREL 4 will take place in August 2016. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Miniature high-performance infrared spectrometer for space applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kruzelecky, Roman V.; Haddad, Emile; Wong, Brian; Lafrance, Denis; Jamroz, Wes; Ghosh, Asoke K.; Zheng, Wanping; Phong, Linh

    2017-11-01

    Infrared spectroscopy probes the characteristic vibrational and rotational modes of chemical bonds in molecules to provide information about both the chemical composition and the bonding configuration of a sample. The significant advantage of the Infrared spectral technique is that it can be used with minimal consumables to simultaneously detect a large variety of chemical and biochemical species with high chemical specificity. To date, relatively large Fourier Transform (FT-IR) spectrometers employing variations of the Michelson interferometer have been successfully employed in space for various IR spectroscopy applications. However, FT-IR systems are mechanically complex, bulky (> 15 kg), and require considerable processing. This paper discusses the use of advanced integrated optics and smart optical coding techniques to significantly extend the performance of miniature IR spectrometers by several orders of magnitude in sensitivity. This can provide the next generation of compact, high-performance IR spectrometers with monolithically integrated optical systems for robust optical alignment. The entire module can weigh under 3 kg to minimize the mass penalty for space applications. Miniaturized IR spectrometers are versatile and very convenient for small and micro satellite based missions. They can be dedicated to the monitoring of the CO2 in an Earth Observation mission, to Mars exobiology exploration, as well as to vital life support in manned space system; such as the cabin air quality and the quality of the recycled water supply.

  9. Microscopic physical biomarkers in carbonate hot springs: implications in the search for life on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allen, C. C.; Albert, F. G.; Chafetz, H. S.; Combie, J.; Graham, C. R.; Kieft, T. L.; Kivett, S. J.; McKay, D. S.; Steele, A.; Taunton, A. E.; hide

    2000-01-01

    Physical evidence of life (physical biomarkers) from the deposits of carbonate hot springs were documented at the scale of microorganisms--submillimeter to submicrometer. The four moderate-temperature (57 to 72 degrees C), neutral pH springs reported on in this study, support diverse communities of bacteria adapted to specific physical and chemical conditions. Some of the microbes coexist with travertine deposits in endolithic communities. In other cases, the microbes are rapidly coated and destroyed by precipitates but leave distinctive mineral fabrics. Some microbes adapted to carbonate hot springs produce an extracellular polymeric substance which forms a three-dimensional matrix with living cells and cell remains, known as a biofilm. Silicon and iron oxides often coat the biofilm, leading to long-term preservation. Submicrometer mineralized spheres composed of calcium fluoride or silica are common in carbonate hot spring deposits. Sphere formation is biologically mediated, but the spheres themselves are apparently not fossils or microbes. Additionally, some microbes selectively weather mineral surfaces in distinctive patterns. Hot spring deposits have been cited as prime locations for exobiological exploration of Mars. The presence of preserved microscopic physical biomarkers at all four sites supports a strategy of searching for evidence of life in hot spring deposits on Mars.

  10. Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soffen, G. A.

    1999-01-01

    If we believe life to be a cosmic imperative, the understanding of life processes becomes a universal aspect of cosmology. How does life fit into our understanding of the universe. As a compliment to NASA's `Origins' Program we are developing a new venture to embark on one of the great scientific questions of our time, our origins, evolution and our destiny. NASA already deals with a number of related biological questions. We are introducing a new unifying approach to biology within the NASA... Astrobiology. Astrobiology is the study of the chemistry, physics and adaptations that influence the origin, evolution and destiny of life. We intent to raise the conscious level relating relevant biological questions to the formation and development of the universe through space missions and research programs. By linking certain aspects of exobiology, ecology, gravitational biology, and adding efforts in molecular biology, evolutionary biology, and planetary biology and joining this to Astronomy and planetology, we seek a deeper understanding of where the living process fits in to our cosmological theories. We do this through laboratory experiments, space observations, computer modeling, missions and discovery of what appear to be extreme conditions for us, but conditions in which life thrives. NASA has formed an international `virtual' Astrobiology Institute as a nucleus to initiate this consolidating idea. NASA's technology will play a major role in this endeavor.

  11. The EXPOSE-E Mission on the ISS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rabbow, Elke; Rettberg, Petra; Panitz, Corinna; Reitz, Guenther

    The International Space Station ISS provides a variety of external research platforms for ex-periments aiming at the utilization of space parameters like vacuum, temperature oscillation, extraterrestrial UV and ionizing radiation. For 1.5 years the astrobiological experimental ESA facility EXPOSE-E was accommodated on the EuTEF Platform on one of the external balconies of the Columbus Module with 5 exobio-logical and 3 radiation experiments, exposing the chemical, biological and dosimetric samples to the harsh space environment. The main interest of the experiments was to increase our knowledge on the origin, evolution and distribution of life, on Earth and possibly beyond. The biological experiments investigated resistance and adaptation of organisms like bacteria, Achaea, fungi, lichens and plant seeds to extreme environmental conditions and underlying mechanisms like DNA repair. The organic chemical experiments analyse chemical reactions triggered by the extraterrestrial environment, especially short wavelength UV radiation, to better understand prebiotic chemistry. The facility is optimized to allow exposure of biologi-cal specimen and material samples under a variety of conditions, using optical filter systems. Environmental parameters like temperature and radiation were regularly recorded and down linked by telemetry. The exposure facility EXPOSE-E itself and the accommodated experiments and samples are introduced. A complete Mission overview of this recent long term astrobiological experiment is presented: from the sample preparation and launch to the landing and sample retrieval. Mission data and an assessment of the impacting space parameters during the mission are given. After EXPOSE-E, the sister facility EXPOSE-R was launched and still is in space. A short status information and outlook on this second astrobiological Mission will be included.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment (MECA): Identifying the Hazards of the Martian Soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meloy, T. P.; Hecht, M. H.; Anderson, M. S.; Frant, M. A.; Fuerstenau, S. D.; Keller, H. U.; Markiewicz, W. J.; Marshall, J.; Pike, W. T.; Quate, C. F.

    1999-09-01

    Sometime in the next decade NASA will decide whether to send a human expedition to explore the planet Mars. The Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment (MECA) has been selected by NASA to evaluate the Martian environment for soil and dust hazards to human exploration. The integrated MECA payload contains three elements: a wet-chemistry laboratory, a microscopy station, and enhancements to a lander robot-arm system incorporating arrays of material patches and an electrometer to identify triboelectric charging during soil excavation. The wet-chemistry laboratory will evaluate samples of Martian soil in water to determine the total dissolved solids, redox potential, pH, and quantify the concentration of many soluble ions using ion-selective electrodes. These electrodes can detect potentially dangerous heavy-metal ions, emitted pathogenic gases, and the soil's corrosive potential. MECA's microscopy station combines optical and atomic-force microscopy with a robot-arm camera to provide imaging over nine orders of magnitude, from meters to nanometers. Soil particle properties including size, shape, color, hardness, adhesive potential (electrostatic and magnetic), will be determined on the microscope stage using an ar-ray of sample receptacles and collection substrates, and an abrasion tool,. The simple, rugged atomic-force microscope will image in the submicron size range and has the capability of performing a particle-by-particle analysis of the dust and soil. Although selected by NASA's Human Exploration and Development of Space Enterprise, the MECA instrument suite also has the capability to address basic geology, paleoclimate, and exobiology issues. To understand both contemporaneous and ancient processes on Mars, the mineralogical, petrological, and reactivity of Martian surface materials should be constrained: the NMCA experiment will shed light on these quantities through its combination of chemistry and microscopy. On Earth, the earliest forms of life are

  15. 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 salts (chloride, chlorate, and perchlorate) is supported by linear spectral modeling of the data, while the presence of sulfate salts is challenged. The distribution of some of these species is inconsistent with exogenic processes mainly impacting the trailing orbital hemisphere. These species may be traces of endogenous processes occurring on Europa.

  16. Biospheric energization and stability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Budding, E.; Ozel, M. E.; Gunduz, G.

    2013-09-01

    We utilize the physical properties of a hypothetical molecular schema giving rise to an autocatalytic biosphere. A key concept is the driving of terrestrial life as a parametric oscillation: i.e. that the biosphere behaves fundamentally as an oscillatory system into which solar energy is diurnally deposited. The schema, containing 'A, B and C' type components acting together in a 'bottom-up' driving mechanism, underlies all biospheric superstructure. Surviving modes of the oscillation are consistent with Darwinian organization, or hierarchical structures appearing to have top-down propagation through the growth of cellular replication. The model was detailed by Budding et al (2012), where experimental support from the work of Powner et al (2009) is presented, as well as suggestions on supportive fossil evidence. Although the growth in total energization is very slow in this model, it is important to notice its exponential character, suggestive of potential instability. The model is applicable to generally expectable processes on planets, including zonal segregation, complexity growth and Haeckel's biogenic principle within surviving life-forms. Fermi's exobiological paradox can be resolved in terms of the exponential growth and low L solutions of Drake's equation. Feasible values for the particular growth of selected species (the human one in herelevent terrestrial case) allow for L to be less than a few  100 y, recalling Rees' (2004) 'final century' discussion. This arises when the species' disposable energization attains a value comparable to that of the total available daily driving energy. At that point, accidental, or stochastic disturbances of this species' energy ("error") can significantly disrupt the daily driving mechanism.

  17. Life Beyond Earth and the Evolutionary Synthesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vakoch, Douglas A.

    For many astronomers, the progressive development of life has been seen as a natural occurrence given proper environmental conditions on a planet: even though such beings would not be identical to humans, there would be significant parallels. A striking contrast is seen in writings of nonphysical scientists, who have held more widely differing views. But within this diversity, reasons for differences become more apparent when we see how views about extraterrestrials can be related to the differential emphasis placed on modern evolutionary theory by scientists of various disciplines. One clue to understanding the differences between the biologists, paleontologists, and anthropologists who speculated on extraterrestrials is suggested by noting who wrote on the subject. Given the relatively small number of commentators on the topic, it seems more than coincidental that four of the major contributors to the evolutionary synthesis in the 1930s and 1940s are among them. Upon closer examination it is evident that the exobiological arguments of Theodosius Dobzhansky and George Gaylord Simpson and, less directly, of H. J. Muller and Ernst Mayr are all related to their earlier work in formulating synthetic evolution. By examining the variety of views held by nonphysical scientists, we can see that there were significant disagreements between them about evolution into the 1960s. By the mid-1980s, many believed that "higher" life, particularly intelligent life, probably occurs quite infrequently in the universe; nevertheless, some held out the possibility that convergence of intelligence could occur across worlds. Regardless of the final conclusions these scientists reached about the likely prevalence of extraterrestrial intelligence, the use of evolutionary arguments to support their positions became increasingly common.

  18. 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.

  19. Extreme Environments: Why NASA?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, M. A.

    2002-12-01

    Life on our planet is the only known example in the universe and so we are relegated to this planet for the study of life. However, life may be a natural consequence of planet formation, and so the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life may be greatly informed by planetary exploration. Astrobiology has adopted several approaches to study life on Earth, for deducing our origins, for determining the likelihood of life elsewhere, and for enabling the search for evidence of past or present life. The first approach has been the Exobiology Program, centered around understanding the origins of life and which supports individual investigator research. Second has been the construction of consortia-type research in which researchers from different disciplines focus on a larger problem. This structure began with NASA Specialized Centers of Research and Training and has grown to include the Astrobiology Institute - a collection of competitively selected groups of researchers attacking problems in Astrobiology as individual teams and as a consolidated Institute. With the formation of an intellectual basis for exploring for life elsewhere, Astrobiology has initiated the competitive research and development program in instrument development (Astrobiology Science and Technology for Instrument Development [ASTID] Program) that would enable future mission instruments for the exploration of planetary bodies in the search for prebiotic chemistry, habitable environments (past or present), biomarkers, and possibly life itself. However, the act of exploring requires robust instrumentation, mobile robotic platforms, efficient operations, and a high level of autonomy. To this end, Astrobiology has started a new research activity that promotes scientifically-driven robotic exploration of extreme environments on Earth that are analogous to suspected habitable environments on other planetary bodies. The program is called Astrobiology Science and Technology for

  20. Technologically important extremophile 16S rRNA sequence Shannon entropy and fractal property comparison with long term dormant microbes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holden, Todd; Gadura, N.; Dehipawala, S.; Cheung, E.; Tuffour, M.; Schneider, P.; Tremberger, G., Jr.; Lieberman, D.; Cheung, T.

    2011-10-01

    Technologically important extremophiles including oil eating microbes, uranium and rocket fuel perchlorate reduction microbes, electron producing microbes and electrode electrons feeding microbes were compared in terms of their 16S rRNA sequences, a standard targeted sequence in comparative phylogeny studies. Microbes that were reported to have survived a prolonged dormant duration were also studied. Examples included the recently discovered microbe that survives after 34,000 years in a salty environment while feeding off organic compounds from other trapped dead microbes. Shannon entropy of the 16S rRNA nucleotide composition and fractal dimension of the nucleotide sequence in terms of its atomic number fluctuation analyses suggest a selected range for these extremophiles as compared to other microbes; consistent with the experience of relatively mild evolutionary pressure. However, most of the microbes that have been reported to survive in prolonged dormant duration carry sequences with fractal dimension between 1.995 and 2.005 (N = 10 out of 13). Similar results are observed for halophiles, red-shifted chlorophyll and radiation resistant microbes. The results suggest that prolonged dormant duration, in analogous to high salty or radiation environment, would select high fractal 16S rRNA sequences. Path analysis in structural equation modeling supports a causal relation between entropy and fractal dimension for the studied 16S rRNA sequences (N = 7). Candidate choices for high fractal 16S rRNA microbes could offer protection for prolonged spaceflights. BioBrick gene network manipulation could include extremophile 16S rRNA sequences in synthetic biology and shed more light on exobiology and future colonization in shielded spaceflights. Whether the high fractal 16S rRNA sequences contain an asteroidlike extra-terrestrial source could be speculative but interesting.

  1. 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

  2. Biomarkers in Carbonate Thermal Springs: Implications for Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allen, C. C.; Kivett, S. J.; McKay, D. S.

    1998-01-01

    Evidence of possible relict biogenic activity has been reported in carbonate inclusions within martian meteorite ALH 84001. The initial evidence included ovoid and elongated forms 50 - 500 nanometers in length, morphologically similar to but significantly smaller than many terrestrial microbes. More recently, thin structures resembling the remains of organic biofilms have been reported in the same meteorite. Carbonates have also been discussed in the context of Mars sample return missions. Thermal spring deposits have often been cited as prime locations for exobiological exploration. By analogy to Earth, specialized microbes may have existed in the heated, mineralized waters, and precipitates of carbonate and/or silica from these waters may have trapped and preserved evidence of life. Since the geological interactions that produce thermal springs can be recognized in orbital imagery, directed searches for microfossils in such deposits are deemed possible. We are engaged in a study of the signatures produced by contemporary biogenic activity (biomarkers) in carbonate thermal springs. We are examining the microbes that live in such environments and the preservation of microbial forms, biofilms, and petrographic fabrics indicative of life in thermal spring mineral deposits. This work is part of a much more extensive study to refine the appropriate tools, techniques, and approaches to seek evidence of life in a range of planetary samples. A deeper understanding of biological signatures will prepare us for the detailed search for life on Mars and eventually on other planets. Overall. the study of biomarkers in rocks and soils will provide insight into the evolution of life because such signatures are a record of how life interacts with its environment, how it adapts to changing conditions, and how life can influence geology and climate.

  3. 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.

  4. Interstellar Predation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cockell, C. S.; Lee, M.

    Although chemosynthesis and photosynthesis can theoretically supply enough energy for intelligence, for reasons elucidated here, heterotrophy and specifically phagotrophy (ingestion of prey) are likely to make predation a characteristic of life and extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI). Here, the Earth's biota is used to consider the nature of interstellar predation. The ability of the ETI to directly ingest a biota will be determined by the chiral preference of the ETI, the compatibility of the biochemistry used in life on Earth with the molecules required by the ETI and the potential toxicity of the macromolecules. If chirality is determined by astrophysical factors and not by the specificities of terrestrial origins of life and if molecules found in terrestrial organisms are also represented in ETIs (which could plausibly include hydrated carbohydrides and many amino acids that are similar or identical to amino acids found in meteoritic or cometary material) then the Earth might represent a universally appreciated resource. The Earth's biota could be used as an energy supply or, if other forms of technology have advanced to the point where bioreactors can be exclusively used to supply a civilization with food, as a culinary curiosity. Even in the absence of metabolic compatibility, technology can be used to extract useful products from an undigestible biota, similarly to the industrial biotransformation of cellulose. The value of the resource will also be determined by the availability of prey. Planets at stages in biological evolution where the surface is dominated by just one or several large (>5kg), abundant, easily captured organisms are particu- larly attractive to predators because harvesting techniques can be standardized. We discuss implications for exobiology and the `Fermi Paradox'.

  5. Searching for evidence of hydrothermal activity at Apollinaris Mons, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    El Maarry, M. Ramy; Dohm, James M.; Marzo, Giuseppe A.; Fergason, Robin; Goetz, Walter; Heggy, Essam; Pack, Andreas; Markiewicz, Wojciech J.

    2012-01-01

    A multidisciplinary approach involving various remote sensing instruments is used to investigate Apollinaris Mons, a prominent volcano on Mars, as well as the surrounding plains for signs of prolonged hydrologic and volcanic, and possibly hydrothermal activity. The main findings include (1) evidence from laser altimetry indicating the large thickness (1.5–2 km at some locations) of the fan deposits draping the southern flank contrary to previous estimates, coupled with possible layering which point to a significant emplacement phase at Apollinaris Mons, (2) corroboration of Robinson et al. (Robinson, M.S., Mouginis-Mark, P.J., Zimbelman, J.R., Wu, S.S.C., Ablin, K.K., Howington-Kraus, A.E. [1993]. Icarus 104, 301–323) hypothesis regarding the formation of incised valleys on the western flanks by density current erosion which would indicate magma–water interaction or, alternatively, volatile-rich magmas early in the volcano’s history, (3) mounds of diverse geometric shapes, many of which display summit depressions and occur among faults and fractures, possibly marking venting, (4) strong indicators on the flanks of the volcano for lahar events, and possibly, a caldera lake, (5) ubiquitous presence of impact craters displaying fluidized ejecta in both shield-forming (flank and caldera) materials and materials that surround the volcano that are indicative of water-rich target materials at the time of impact, (6) long-term complex association in time among shield-forming materials and Medusae Fossae Formation. The findings point to a site of extensive volcanic and hydrologic activity with possibly a period of magma–water interaction and hydrothermal activity. Finally, we propose that the mound structures around Apollinaris should be prime targets for further in situ exploration and search for possible exobiological signatures.

  6. Measuring the masses of the habitable planets around the 50 closest solar-type stars with Theia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malbet, Fabien; Leger, Alain; Anglada-Escude, Guillem; Sozzetti, Alessandro; Crouzier, Antooine; Theia Consortium

    2015-07-01

    A major goal of exoplanetary science is the search for possible biosignatures on planets where life similar to ours would have emerged and modified the atmosphere. These planets can be detected by remote sensing using spectroscopic observation of O2, O3, H2O, CO2, and CH4 gases, but in the present context of funding, only missions in the range B$1-2 are seen as feasible for the next decades. This cost cap imposes serious constraints on the number of accessible targets limiting the exploration to the 20 nearest systems with space coronagraphy in the visible wavelength range and 40 systems with space interferometers working in thermal IR. It is thus imperative that promising target be identified ahead of time, to minimize several classes of risks intrinsic to the 'blind search' approach. Furthermore, the masses and the three-dimensional orbits of such habitable planets are key elements for deriving exobiological statements in the future, even the most basic ones. The mission called Theia has been submitted to the ESA call for M4 mission in 2015. Theia is a space observatory able to carry out high precision differential astrometry at the sub-microarcsecond level that allows mass determination of Earth-mass habitable planets around the 50 closest Solar-type stars using 15 - 20 % of the time of a three years mission. Theia is a single telescope designed to perform high accuracy astrometry using interferometric calibration and operating in L2. We will present the mission and its capability to measure the mass and orbit characteristics of the 50 closest planetary systems down to the Earth mass in the habitable zone of solar-type stars.

  7. Dating carbonaceous matter in archean cherts by electron paramagnetic resonance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourbin, M; Gourier, D; Derenne, S; Binet, L; Le Du, Y; Westall, F; Kremer, B; Gautret, P

    2013-02-01

    Ancient geological materials are likely to be contaminated through geological times. Thus, establishing the syngeneity of the organic matter embedded in a mineral matrix is a crucial step in the study of very ancient rocks. This is particularly the case for Archean siliceous sedimentary rocks (cherts), which record the earliest traces of life. We used electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) for assessing the syngeneity of organic matter in cherts that have a metamorphic grade no higher than greenschist. A correlation between the age of Precambrian samples and the shape of their EPR signal was established and statistically tested. As thermal treatments impact organic matter maturity, the effect of temperature on this syngeneity proxy was studied; cyanobacteria were submitted to cumulative short thermal treatment at high temperatures followed by an analysis of their EPR parameters. The resulting carbonaceous matter showed an evolution similar to that of a thermally treated young chert. Furthermore, the possible effect of metamorphism, which is a longer thermal event at lower temperatures, was ruled out for cherts older than 2 Gyr, based on the study of Silurian cherts of the same age and same precursors but various metamorphic grades. We determined that even the most metamorphosed sample did not exhibit the lineshape of an Archean sample. In the hope of detecting organic contamination in Archean cherts, a "contamination-like" mixture was prepared and studied by EPR. It resulted that the lineshape analysis alone does not allow contamination detection and that it must be performed along with cumulative thermal treatments. Such treatments were applied to three Archean chert samples, making dating of their carbonaceous matter possible. We concluded that EPR is a powerful tool to study primitive organic matter and could be used in further exobiology studies on low-metamorphic grade samples (from Mars for example).

  8. Exopaleontology at The Pathfinder Landing Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farmer, Jack D.; DesMarais, David J.; Greeley, Ronald; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    The Mars Pathfinder Mission is a Discovery Class mission that will place a small lander and rover on the surface of Mars in July of 1997. It is primarily a technology demonstration to test the feasibility of a direct entry-delivery system, but carries a nominal scientific payload that includes rover-lander and instrumentation for limited mineralogical analysis. The nominal landing site was selected by the Pathfinder Team under the leadership of Dr. Matthew Golombek (JPL) based input from 60 participants at a Landing Site Workshop held last Spring at the Lunar Planetary Institute in Houston. The mission constraints for the landing site were 0-30 deg. N latitude, and below the 0.0 elevation datum. Over 20 landing sites were proposed and a nominal site was selected on southern Chryse Planitia near the terminae of the Ares and Tui outflow channels. In part, the decision to land at this location was based on the opportunity to sample a potentially large number lithologies in a small area (the rover will have a range of a few tens of meters from the lander). The purpose here is to review the general geological context of the landing site and the rationale for Exobiology's recommendation of the Ares site given at the workshop last spring. Because Ares and Tui Valles are sourced within terranes that may have originated by thermokarst processes, hydrothermal processes could have operated there for some time. Hydrothermal systems are presently regarded as important sites for a fossil record on Mars. Models for the formation of the outflow channels suggest that thermal spring sinters and associated aqueous mineral deposits, high priority targets for Mars Exopaleontology, could have formed in association with thermokarst processes and subsequently been delivered to the landing site in large quantities during the periodic cataclysmic outflows that created the channels.

  9. 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.

  10. Planetary Protection: Two Relevant Terrestrial Examples

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chyba, C.

    2002-09-01

    distances crossed as large as those that would likely exist between any martian organisms and human beings. The possibility that life on the two worlds might share a common ancestor suggests that these distances may not be altogether incomparable, but this remains speculation pending further exploration. This work is supported in part by the NASA Exobiology Program and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

  11. Soil Analysis Micro-Mission Concepts Derived from the MSP 2001 Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment (MECA)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hecht, M. H.; Meloy, T. P.; Anderson, M. S.; Buehler, M. G.; Frant, M. A.; Grannan, S. M.; Fuerstenau, S. D.; Keller, H. U.; Markiewicz, W. J.; Marshall, J.

    1999-01-01

    The Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment (MECA) will evaluate the Martian environment for soil and dust-related hazards to human exploration as part of the Mars Surveyor Program 2001 Lander. The integrated MECA payload contains a wet-chemistry laboratory, a microscopy station, an electrometer to characterize the electrostatic environment, and arrays of material patches to study abrasion and adhesion. Heritage will be all-important for low cost micro-missions, and adaptations of instruments developed for the Pathfinder, '98 and '01 Landers should be strong contenders for '03 flights. This talk has three objectives: (1) Familiarize the audience with MECA instrument capabilities; (2) present concepts for stand-alone and/or mobile versions of MECA instruments; and (3) broaden the context of the MECA instruments from human exploration to a comprehensive scientific survey of Mars. Due to time limitations, emphasis will be on the chemistry and microscopy experiments. Ion-selective electrodes and related sensors in MECA's wet-chemistry laboratory will evaluate total dissolved solids, redox potential, pH, and the concentration of many soluble ions and gases in wet Martian soil. These electrodes can detect potentially dangerous heavy-metal ions, emitted pathogenic gases, and the soil's corrosive potential, and experiments will include cyclic voltammetry and anodic stripping. For experiments beyond 2001, enhancements could allow multiple use of the cells (for mobile experiments) and reagent addition (for quantitative mineralogical and exobiological analysis). MECA's microscopy station combines optical and atomic-force microscopy (AFM) in an actively focused, controlled illumination environment to image particles from millimeters to nanometers in size. Careful selection of substrates allows controlled experiments in adhesion, abrasion, hardness, aggregation, magnetic and other properties. Special tools allow primitive manipulation (brushing and scraping) of samples

  12. Field Experiments using Telepresence and Virtual Reality to Control Remote Vehicles: Application to Mars Rover Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoker, Carol

    1994-01-01

    geologists participated in the mission simulation. The scientific goal of the science mission was to determine what could be learned about the geologic context of the site using the capabilities of imaging and mobility provided by the Marsokhod system in these two modes of operation. I will discuss the lessons learned from these experiments in terms of the strategy for performing Mars surface exploration using rovers. This research is supported by the Solar System Exploration Exobiology, Geology, and Advanced Technology programs.

  13. 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

  14. Differences in Temperature and Water Chemistry Shape Distinct Diversity Patterns in Thermophilic Microbial Communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chiriac, Cecilia M; Szekeres, Edina; Rudi, Knut; Baricz, Andreea; Hegedus, Adriana; Dragoş, Nicolae; Coman, Cristian

    2017-11-01

    areas are isolated and have a limited exchange of organisms, nutrients, and energy with the surrounding environments, hot spring microbial communities can be used in model studies to elucidate the colonizing potential within extreme settings. Thus, they are of great importance in evolutionary biology, microbial ecology, and exobiology. In spite of all the efforts that have been made, the current understanding of the influence of temperature and water chemistry on the microbial community composition, diversity, and abundance in microbial mats is limited. In this study, the composition and diversity of microbial communities developed in thermal gradients in the vicinity of three hot springs from Romania were investigated, each having particular physicochemical characteristics. Our results expose new factors that could determine the formation of these ecosystems, expanding the current knowledge in this regard. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.

  15. Defining Life: Synthesis and Conclusions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gayon, Jean

    2010-04-01

    The first part of the paper offers philosophical landmarks on the general issue of defining life. §1 defends that the recognition of “life” has always been and remains primarily an intuitive process, for the scientist as for the layperson. However we should not expect, then, to be able to draw a definition from this original experience, because our cognitive apparatus has not been primarily designed for this. §2 is about definitions in general. Two kinds of definition should be carefully distinguished: lexical definitions (based upon current uses of a word), and stipulative or legislative definitions, which deliberately assign a meaning to a word, for the purpose of clarifying scientific or philosophical arguments. The present volume provides examples of these two kinds of definitions. §3 examines three traditional philosophical definitions of life, all of which have been elaborated prior to the emergence of biology as a specific scientific discipline: life as animation (Aristotle), life as mechanism, and life as organization (Kant). All three concepts constitute a common heritage that structures in depth a good deal of our cultural intuitions and vocabulary any time we try to think about “life”. The present volume offers examples of these three concepts in contemporary scientific discourse. The second part of the paper proposes a synthesis of the major debates developed in this volume. Three major questions have been discussed. A first issue (§4) is whether we should define life or not, and why. Most authors are skeptical about the possibility of defining life in a strong way, although all admit that criteria are useful in contexts such as exobiology, artificial life and the origins of life. §5 examines the possible kinds of definitions of life presented in the volume. Those authors who have explicitly defended that a definition of life is needed, can be classified into two categories. The first category (or standard view) refers to two conditions

  16. MARCO POLO: near earth object sample return mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barucci, M. A.; Yoshikawa, M.; Michel, P.; Kawagushi, J.; Yano, H.; Brucato, J. R.; Franchi, I. A.; Dotto, E.; Fulchignoni, M.; Ulamec, S.

    2009-03-01

    MARCO POLO is a joint European-Japanese sample return mission to a Near-Earth Object. This Euro-Asian mission will go to a primitive Near-Earth Object (NEO), which we anticipate will contain primitive materials without any known meteorite analogue, scientifically characterize it at multiple scales, and bring samples back to Earth for detailed scientific investigation. Small bodies, as primitive leftover building blocks of the Solar System formation process, offer important clues to the chemical mixture from which the planets formed some 4.6 billion years ago. Current exobiological scenarios for the origin of Life invoke an exogenous delivery of organic matter to the early Earth: it has been proposed that primitive bodies could have brought these complex organic molecules capable of triggering the pre-biotic synthesis of biochemical compounds. Moreover, collisions of NEOs with the Earth pose a finite hazard to life. For all these reasons, the exploration of such objects is particularly interesting and urgent. The scientific objectives of MARCO POLO will therefore contribute to a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Solar System, the Earth, and possibly Life itself. Moreover, MARCO POLO provides important information on the volatile-rich (e.g. water) nature of primitive NEOs, which may be particularly important for future space resource utilization as well as providing critical information for the security of Earth. MARCO POLO is a proposal offering several options, leading to great flexibility in the actual implementation. The baseline mission scenario is based on a launch with a Soyuz-type launcher and consists of a Mother Spacecraft (MSC) carrying a possible Lander named SIFNOS, small hoppers, sampling devices, a re-entry capsule and scientific payloads. The MSC leaves Earth orbit, cruises toward the target with ion engines, rendezvous with the target, conducts a global characterization of the target to select a sampling site, and delivers small

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bebout, B. M.; Bucaria, R.

    2004-12-01

    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 small (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 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 even be constructed using materials purchased from biological supply houses. With funding from NASA's Exobiology program, provided as a supplement to our research funding, we are developing curriculum and web-based activities centered on the use of microbial mats as tools for demonstrating general principles in ecology, and the scientific process. A web site with useful background information and links is now on-line. The curriculum, now in the pilot phase, is an integrated module having Science, Math and Language Art threads. A "Web Lab", featuring living mats maintained in a mini-aquarium, and complete with remotely-operable instrumentation not commonly available in classrooms, will be available to classrooms over the Internet. Using that system, the responses of the mat community to changes in environmental parameters, (e.g., light, pH, flow, and temperature) can be monitored using microsensors. Students will be able to develop hypotheses and propose experiments in the Web Lab to test them. Data from these experiments will be posted in real time and students will be able to collect the data, analyze it, and post results and conclusions back to the web page in a true implementation of the scientific inquiry process. The web site

  18. 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

  19. Gas Cromatography In Solar System Exploration:decoding Complex Chromatograms Recovered From Space Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pietrogrande, M. C.; Tellini, I.; Dondi, F.; Felinger, A.; Sternberg, R.; Szopa, C.; Vidal-Madjar, C.

    GC plays a predominant role in solar system explorations: it has been applied to space research related to exobiology: i.e., Cassini-Huygens mission devoted to characterize chemical composition of TitanSs atmosphere [2], Rosetta mission to investigate the nucleus of comet p/Wirtamen (COSAC experiments) [1]. GC analysis of planetary atmosphere is a difficult analytical task because of the unknown and low level of an- alytes present in the sample, the high degree of automatization required, the strong constraints due to the flight (short analysis time, low power consumption, high accu- racy and reliability under extreme space conditions). In these circumstances the use of a signal processing procedure is practically mandatory to efficiently extract useful in- formation from the raw chromatogram ­ i.e. to decode the complex chromatogram to determine the number of components, the separation efficiency and the retention pat- tern. In this work a chemometric approach based on the Fourier analysis is applied to complex chromatograms related to space research: from the autocovariance function (ACVF) computed on the digitized chromatogram, the chromatographic parameters ­ number of components, peak shape parameters, retention pattern ­ can be estimated [3-7]. The procedure, originally developed for constant peak width [3], was extended to variable peak width [4], in order to describe chromatograms obtained in isother- mal conditions, i.e., analysis condition compatible with space flight constraints. The chemometric procedure was applied to chromatograms of standard mixtures repre- sentative of planetary atmospheres ­ hydrocarbons and oxygenated compounds with carbon atom number ranging from 2 to 8 ­ obtained in flight simulating conditions ­ isothermal or pseudo-isothermal conditions. Both the simplified graphic procedure, based on the assumption of constant peak width [3], and the complete approach de- veloped for variable peak width [4], were applied and the results

  20. 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.

  1. Successful Mars remote sensors, MO THEMIS and MER Mini-TES

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silverman, Steven; Christensen, Phil

    2006-10-01

    This paper describes results of the calibration of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) and the thermal emission imaging system (THEMIS) built by Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing (SBRS) under contract to Arizona State University (ASU). This paper also serves as an update to an earlier paper (Silverman et al., 2003) for mission description and instrument designs (Schueler et al., 2003). A major goal of the Mars exploration program is to help determine whether life ever existed on Mars via detailed in situ studies and surface sample return. It is essential to identify landing sites with the highest probability of containing samples indicative of early pre-biotic or biotic environments. Of particular interest are aqueous and/or hydrothermal environments in which life could have existed, or regions of current near-surface water or heat sources [Exobiology_Working_Group, 1995, An Exobiological Strategy for Mars Exploration, NASA Headquarters]. The search requires detailed geologic mapping and accurate interpretations of site composition and history in a global context. THEMIS and Mini-TES were designed to do this and builds upon a wealth of data from previous experiments. Previous experiments include the Mariner 6/7 Mars infrared radiometer (MIR) and infrared spectrometer [G.C. Pimentel, P.B. Forney, K.C. Herr, Evidence about hydrate and solid water in the martian surface from the 1969 Mariner infrared spectrometer, Journal of Geophysical Research 79(11) (1974) 1623 1634], the Mariner 9 infrared interferometer spectrometer (IRIS) [B. Conrath, R. Curran, R. Hanel, V. Kunde, W. Maguire, J. Pearl, J. Pirraglia, J. Walker, Atmospheric and surface properties of Mars obtained by infrared spectroscopy on Mariner 9, Journal of Geophysical Research 78 (1973) 4267 4278], the Viking infrared thermal mapper (IRTM) [H.H. Kieffer, T.Z. Martin, A.R. Peterfreund, B.M. Jakosky, E.D. Miner, F.D. Palluconi, Thermal and albedo mapping of Mars during the Viking

  2. 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.

    1999-01-01

    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

  3. Putative Large and Small Volcanic Edifices in Valles Marineris, Mars, and Evidence of Ground Water/Ice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chapman, M. G.; Smellie, J. L.

    2001-12-01

    exobiologic implications. References: [1] Croft, S.K., 1990. NASA TM 4210, 539-541. [2] Lucchitta, B.K., N.K. Isbell, A. Howington-Kraus 1994. J. Geophys. Res. 99, 3783-3798. [3] Chapman, M.G. and K.L. Tanaka 2001. J. Geophys. Res. 106, 10,087-10,100. [4] Murchie, S., L. Kirkland, S. Erard, J. Mustard, and M. Robinson 2000 Icarus 147, 444-471. [5] Geissler, P.E., R.B. Singer, and B.K. Lucchitta 1990. J. .Geophys. Res. 95, no. B9, 14,399-14,413. [6] Lucchitta, B.K. 1990. Icarus 86, 476-509. [7] Noreen, E., K.L. Tanaka, and M.G. Chapman 2000. GSA abs. with progs. 32, no. 7, A303.

  4. Thermophile bacteria in permafrost: model for astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilichinsky, D.; Rivkina, E.; Shcherbakova, V.; Laurinavichius, K.; Kholodov, A.; Abramov, A.

    2003-04-01

    87^oC and acetogenic, growing up to 92^oC with the optimum at 80^oC. Both isolated bacteria were non-halophiles. Using these data, one can conclude that isolated thermophiles are associated with volcano. The next step of this study was carried out on volcano Tolbachik, south border of permafrost zone, Kamchatka peninsula (Russia). During the volcano eruption in 1975-76 the thick (12 to 16 m) layer of interstratify volcano ash, sand and scoria was accumulated on the elevation 1100 m and to the moment this horizon is complete freeze, t=(-1)-(-2)^oC. The analyses showed that frozen samples extracted from the borehole, crossing these young volcano deposits, contain viable microorganisms and among them, thermophilic anaerobic bacteria. Moreover, biogenic methane (up to 1100-1900 μlCH_4/kg soil) was also found in these samples. Thermophiles were never found before in permafrost thickness and this is why this study demonstrate that there are only one way for thermophilic bacteria to appear within frozen volcanic horizon - during the eruption, from volcano or surrounding associated subsurface geological strata. The most important conclusion is that thermophilic bacteria might survive in permafrost and even produce the biogenic gases. This is why the terrestrial volcano microbial community might serve as an exobiological model for hypothesis of existing ancient microbiocenoses, i. e. extraterrestrial habitats that probably might be found around Martian or other planet volcano in the absence of oxygen.

  5. Variation in Isotopic Biosignatures From Carbonate Rich, Microbial Mats in Saline, Alkaline Lakes on the Cariboo Plateau, B.C.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brady, A.; Slater, G.; Druschel, G.; Lim, D.

    2009-05-01

    metabolic effects on entire lake system. Deer Lake carbonate δ13C values from the upper oxygenated 5 mm are similar to the lake water DIC δ13C values, however carbonate recovered from below this photosynthetic zone was 13C- depleted with respect to the DIC by 5 ‰ indicating dominant heterotrophic activity in this region. Recognition of heterotrophic versus autotrophic biosignatures in modern systems is important for interpretation of dominant processes that existed in past ecosystems. Observations of variable δ13C values between and within Cariboo Plateau microbial mats suggest that both autotrophic and heterotrophic metabolic processes are linked to biologically induced carbonate precipitation in these systems. Biologically influenced 13C-content of the local DIC pool and precipitated carbonate has the potential to be preserved in ancient or exobiological systems. Understanding variation in modern planetary analogue sites is crucial to interpretation of astrobiological carbonate deposits.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. MNSM - A Future Mars Network Science Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chicarro, A. F.

    2012-04-01

    Following ESA' s successful Mars Express mission, European efforts in Mars Exploration are now taking place within the joint ESA-NASA Mars Exploration Programme, starting in 2016 with the Trace Gases Orbiter (TGO) focusing on atmospheric trace gases and in particular methane, and with the Entry and Descent Module (EDM). In 2018, a joint NASA-ESA rover will perform sample caching as well as geological, geochemical and exobiological measurements of the surface and the subsurface of Mars. A number of missions for 2020 and beyond are currently under study. Among those, a possible candidate is a Mars Network Science Mission (MNSM) of 3-6 surface stations, to investigate the interior of the planet, its rotational parameters and its atmospheric dynamics. These important science goals have not been fully addressed by Mars exploration so far and can only be achieved with simultaneous measurements from a number of landers located on the surface of the planet such as a Mars Network mission. In addition, the geology, mineralogy and astrobiological significance of each landing site would be addressed, as three new locations on Mars would be reached. Such Mars Network Science Mission has been considered a significant priority by the planetary science community worldwide for the past two decades. In fact, a Mars Network mission concept has a long heritage, as it was studied a number of times by ESA, NASA and CNES (e.g., Marsnet, Intermarsnet, Netlander and MarsNEXT mission studies) since 1990. Study work has been renewed in ESA recently with MNSM Science and Engineering Teams being set up to update the scientific objectives of the mission and to evaluate its technical feasibility, respectively. The current mission baseline includes three ESA-led small landers with a robotic arm to be launched with a Soyuz rocket and direct communications to Earth (no need of a dedicated orbiter). However, a larger network could be put in place through international collaboration, as several

  9. Might astronauts one day be treated like return samples?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnould, Jacques; Debus, André

    2008-09-01

    The next time humans set foot on the Moon or another planet, will we treat the crew like we would a sample return mission when they come back to Earth? This may seem a surprising or even provocative question, but it is one we need to address. The hurdles and hazards of sending humans to Mars for example, the technology constraints and physiological and psychological challenges are many; but let us not forget the need to protect populations and environments from the risk of contamination [United Nations, treaty on principles governing the activities of states in the exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies (the “Outer Space Treaty”) referenced 610 UNTS 205 - resolution 2222(XXI) of December 1966]. The first hurdle is the size of crew modules. It is hard to envisage being able to decontaminate a crew module as thoroughly as we can interplanetary probes at launch. And once a crew arrives on Mars, it will not be easy either to break the chain of contact between their habitat and the Martian environment. How will astronauts avoid coming into direct contact with Mars dust when they remove their spacesuits in the airlock? How will they avoid bringing it into the crew module, and then back to Earth? At this stage, it would seem vital to do preliminary research on unmanned exobiology missions to identify zones that do not, a priori, pose a contamination hazard for astronauts. However, this precaution will not dispense with the need to perfect methods to chemically sterilize Mars dust inside airlocks, and quarantine procedures for the return to Earth. While the technology challenges of protecting astronauts and their habitat are considerable, the ethical issues are not to be underestimated either. They must be addressed alongside all the other issues bound up with human spaceflight, chief among them astronauts’ acceptance of the risk of a launch failure and other accidents, exposure to cosmic radiation and so on. For missions to

  10. 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

  11. The Highland Terrain Hopper: a new locomotion system for exploration of Mars and other low-gravity planetary bodies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gurgurewicz, Joanna; Grygorczuk, Jerzy; Wisniewski, Lukasz; Mege, Daniel; Rickman, Hans

    Field geoscientists need to collect three-dimensional data in order characterise the lithologic succession and structure of terrains, reconstruct their evolution, and eventually reveal the history of a portion of the planet. This is achieved by walking up and down mountains and valleys, conducting and interpreting geological and geophysical traverses, and reading measures made at station located at key sites on mountain peaks or rocky promontories. These activities have been denied to conventional planetary exploration rovers because engineering constraints for landing are strong, especially in terms of allowed terrain roughness and slopes. There are few limitations in the type of scientific payload conventional exploration rovers can carry, from geology and geophysics to geochemistry and exobiology. They lack two skills, however: the ability of working on rugged or unstable terrain, like in canyons and mountains, and on solid bodies having gravity too low for the friction between the wheels and the ground to generate robot displacement. ASTRONIKA Ltd. and the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences are designing Galago, the Highland Terrain Hopper, a small (Ø~50-100 cm), light (5-10 kg), and robust locomotion system, which addresses the challenge of accessing most areas on low-gravity planetary body for performing scientific observations and measurements, alone or as part of a commando. Galago is symmetric and can jump accurately to a height of 4.5 m on Mars, 9 m on the Moon, and much more on Phobos and other small bodies. For one Galago, a nominal horizontal travel distance of 5 km (1000 jumps) is currently planned with the considered energy source, a battery reloaded by solar panels. Galago may assist other types of robots, or humans, in accessing difficult terrain, or even replace them for specific measurements or campaigning. Its three independent legs make possible several types of motions: accurate jumping (to any place identified in advance

  12. Strategies and Technologies for In Situ Mineralogical Investigations on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, J. R.; Bratton, C.; Koppel, L.; Hecht, M.; Metzger, E.

    1999-01-01

    Surface landers on Mars (Viking and Pathfinder) have not revealed satisfying answers to the mineralogy and lithology of the planet's surface. In part, this results from their prime directives: Viking focused on exobiology, Pathfinder focused on technology demonstration. The analytical instruments on board the landers made admirable attempts to extract the mineralogy and geology of Mars, as did countless modeling efforts after the missions. Here we suggest a framework for elucidating martian, or any other planetary geology, through an approach that defines (a) type of information required, (b) explorational strategy harmonious with acquisition of these data, (c) interpretation approach to the data, (d) compatible mission architecture, (e) instrumentation for interrogating rocks and soil. (a) Data required: The composition of a planet is ordered at scales ranging from molecules to minerals to rocks, and from geological units to provinces to planetary-scale systems. The largest ordering that in situ compositional instruments can attempt to interrogate is rock type "aggregate" information. This is what the geologist attempts to identify first. From this, mineralogy can be either directly seen or inferred. From mineralogy can be determined elemental abundances and perhaps the state of the compounds as being crystalline or amorphous. Knowledge of rock type and mineralogy is critical for elucidating geologic process. Mars landers acquired extremely valuable elemental data, but attempted to move from elements to aggregates, but this can only be done by making many assumptions and sometimes giant leaps of faith. Data we believe essential are elements, minerals, degree of ordering of compounds, and the aggregate or rock type that these materials compose. (b) Explorational strategy: A lander should function as a surrogate geologist. Of the total landscape, a geologist sees much, but gives detailed attention to an infinitesimally small amount of what is seen. To acquire

  13. Foton 11: ESA investigates further the space environment and its impact on organisms

    Science.gov (United States)

    1997-10-01

    Scientific research conducted under space conditions can provide new insight into how processes occur on Earth and organisms function. The unmanned Foton spacecraft has been used since 1988 to conduct such investigations. Now on its 11th mission and the fifth in which ESA has taken part, Foton is carrying some 80 kg of ESA payload: two ESA research facilities (an incubator and an experiment holder on the outside of the spacecraft) are on board along with 12 scientific experiments. The French space agency (CNES) and the German space agency (DARA) also have payload on the spacecraft. ESA's space-qualified incubator, called Biobox, keeps organisms at predefined conditions. During this mission, the three Biobox experiments are looking at the reaction of bone cells in microgravity. The second ESA facility, a pan-shaped container called Biopan attached to the outside of Foton, is used to expose experiment samples directly to the space environment in order to study the impact of space's extreme temperatures, ultraviolet and cosmic radiation, and near-perfect vacuum. On this mission, the six Biopan experiments are concentrating on exobiology, radiation biology and material science. Biopan has a motor-driven, hinged lid and is equipped with devices and sensors that measure the various aspects of the environment to which the experiments are subjected. Once Foton is in orbit, a telecommand is sent from ground and the lid opens to expose the samples to the environment. At the end of the mission, another command is sent and the lid closes. Since Biopan is on the outside of Foton, it also has its own ablative heat shield to protect the facility and samples during the spacecraft's re-entry and landing. Other ESA experiments on board Foton are looking into the effects of weightlessness on bacteria, the biological clocks of beetles and the aging of fruitflies. The scientific investigators responsible for the ESA experiments are from research institutes and universities in Belgium

  14. 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

  15. Secondary chaotic terrain formation in the higher outflow channels of southern circum-Chryse, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez, J.A.P.; Kargel, J.S.; Tanaka, K.L.; Crown, D.A.; Berman, D.C.; Fairen, A.G.; Baker, V.R.; Furfaro, R.; Candelaria, P.; Sasaki, S.

    2011-01-01

    . Within relatively warm upper crustal materials in volcanic settings, or within highly saline crustal materials where cryopegs developed, lenses of volatiles in liquid form within the cryolithosphere could have formed, and/or remained stable.In addition, our numerical simulations suggest that low thermal conductivity, dry fine-grained porous geologic materials just a few tens of meters in thickness (e.g., dunes, sand sheets, some types of regolith materials), could have produced high thermal anomalies resulting in subsurface melting. The existence of a global layer of dry geologic materials overlying the cryolithosphere would suggest that widespread lenses of fluids existed (and may still exist) at shallow depths wherever these materials are fine-grained and porous. The surface ages of the investigated outflow channels and chaotic terrains span a full 500 to 700. Myr. Chaotic terrains similar in dimensions and morphology to secondary chaotic terrains are not observed conspicuously throughout the surface of Mars, suggesting that intra-cryolithospheric fluid lenses may form relatively stable systems. The existence of widespread groundwater lenses at shallow depths of burial has tremendous implications for exobiological studies and future human exploration. We find that the clear geomorphologic anomaly that the chaotic terrains and outflow channels of southern Chryse form within the Martian landscape could have been a consequence of large-scale resurfacing resulting from anomalously extensive subsurface melt in this region of the planet produced by high concentrations of salts within the regional upper crust. Crater count statistics reveal that secondary chaotic terrains and the outflow channels within which they occur have overlapping ages, suggesting that the instabilities leading to their formation rapidly dissipated, perhaps as the thickness of the cryolithosphere was reset following the disruption of the upper crustal thermal structure produced during outflow channel ex

  16. The astrobiology of Titan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raulin, F.; Coll, P.; Cabane, M.; Hebrard, E.; Israel, G.; Nguyen, M.-J.; Szopa, C.; Gpcos Team

    Titan : • liquid water : permanently as a deep sub-surface ocean, and even episodically on the surface, • organic matter : in the internal structure, from chondritic materials, and in the atmosphere and on the surface, from the atmospheric organic chemistry • and energy : in the atmosphere (solar UV photons, energetic electrons from Saturn magnetosphere and cosmic rays) and, probably, in the environment of the sub-surface ocean (radioactive nuclei in the deep interior and tidal energy dissipation) as also supported by the likely presence of cryovolcanism on the surface Thus, it cannot be excluded that life may have emerged on or in Titan. In spite of the extreme conditions in this environment life may have been able to adapt and to persist. Many data are still expected from the Cassini-Huygens mission and future astrobiological exploration mission of Titan are now under consideration. Nevertheless, Titan already looks like another word, with an active prebiotic-like chemistry, but in the absence of permanent liquid water, on the surface: a natural laboratory for prebiotic-like chemistry. References. Fortes, A.D. (2000), `Exobiological implications of a possible ammonia-water ocean inside Titan', Icarus 146, 444-452 Raulin, F. (2005), `Exo-Astrobiological Aspects of Europa and Titan: From Observations to Speculations', Space Science Review 116 (1-2), 471-496. Nature, (2005), `The Huygens probe on Titan', 8 News & Views, Articles and Letters 438, 756-802 Schulze-Makuch, D., and Grinspoon D.H. (2005), `Biologically enhanced energy and carbon cycling on Titan?',Astrobiology 5, 560-567. 2

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. The MSP 2001 Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment (MECA)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hecht, M. H.; Meloy, T. P.; Anderson, M. S.; Buehler, M. G.; Frant, M. A.; Grannan, S. M.; Fuerstenau, D.; Keller, H. U.; Markiewicz, W. J.; Marshall, J.

    1999-09-01

    , will sense both charged dust and free ions in the air. Over and above the potential threat to electronics, the electrostatic environment holds one of the keys to transport of dust and, consequently, Martian meteorology. Viewed with the robot arm camera, the abrasion and adhesion plates are strategically placed to allow direct observation of the interaction between materials and soils on a macroscopic scale. Materials of graded hardness are placed directly under the robot arm scoop to sense wear and soil hardness. A second array, placed on the lander deck, is deployed after the dust plume of landing has settled. It can be manipulated in a primitive fashion by the arm, first having dirt deposited on it from the scoop and subsequently shaken clean. A third array will passively collect dust from the atmosphere. In addition to objectives related to human exploration, the MECA data set will be rich in information relevant to basic geology, paleoclimate, and exobiology issues. To understand both contemporaneous and ancient processes on Mars, the mineralogy, petrology, and reactivity of Martian surface materials should be constrained. The MECA experiment will shed light on these quantities through its combination of chemistry and microscopy. MECA will be capable of measuring the composition of ancient surface water environments, observing microscopic evidence of geological (and biological?) processes, inferring soil and dust transport, comminution and weathering mechanisms, and characterizing soil horizons that might be encountered during excavation.

  20. 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

  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. 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

  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.

    1999-01-01

    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. "Europe lands on Mars" - Media event at ESA/ESOC

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-11-01

    Launched on 2 June 2003 from Baikonur (Kazakhstan) on board a Russian Soyuz operated by Starsem, the European probe - built for ESA by a European team of industrial companies led by Astrium - carries seven scientific instruments that will perform a series of remote-sensing experiments designed to shed new light on the Martian atmosphere, the planet's structure and its geology. In particular, the British-made Beagle 2 lander will contribute to the search for traces of life on Mars through exobiology experiments and geochemistry research. On board Mars Express tests have been run to check that the instruments are functioning correctly. Mars Express has successfully come through its first power test on the whole spacecraft after the gigantic solar flare on 28 October. Since 17 November the onboard software has been 'frozen' after several updates and the spacecraft is now quietly proceeding to its destination. Before even entering into Martian orbit to perform its mission, Mars Express has to face another challenge: safely delivering the Beagle 2 lander to its destination. This task, starting on 19 December, will not be without risk. First of all, to deliver the lander where planned, Mars Express has been put on a collision course with Mars, since Beagle 2 does not have a propulsion system of its own and must therefore be 'carried' precisely to its destination. This means that after separation, Mars Express has to veer away quickly to avoid crashing onto the planet. During the cruise Beagle 2 will take its power from the mother spacecraft, Mars Express. After separation and until its solar arrays are fully deployed on the surface, Beagle 2 must rely on its own battery, which cannot last beyond 6 days. So, like a caring parent, Mars Express must release Beagle 2 at the last possible moment to ensure that the lander has enough power for the rest of its journey to the surface. Only then can Mars Express change its orientation and rapidly fire the thrusters to get away

  5. 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

  6. Work on Planetary Atmospheres and Planetary Atmosphere Probes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lester, Peter

    1999-01-01

    terms of motion not needed on Venus. When the Galileo Probe encountered Jupiter, analysis and interpretation of data commenced. The early contributions of the experiment were to define (1) the basic structure of the deep atmosphere, (2) the stability of the atmosphere, (3) the upper atmospheric profiles of density, pressure, and temperature. The next major task in the Galileo Probe project was to refine, verify and extend the analysis of the data. It was the verified, and corrected data, which indicated a dry abiabatic atmosphere within measurement accuracy. Temperature in the thermosphere was measured at 900 K. Participation in the Mars atmospheric research included: (1) work as a team member of the Mars Atmosphere Working Group, (2) contribution to the Mars Exobiology Instrument workshop, (3) asssistance in planning the Mars global network and (4) assitance in planning the Soviet-French Mars mission in 1994. This included a return to the Viking Lander parachute data to refine and improve the definition of winds between 1.5 and 4 kilometer altitude at the two entry sites. The variability of the structure of Mars atmosphere was addressed, which is known to vary with season, latitude, hemisphere and dust loading of the atmosphere. This led to work on the Pathfinder project. The probe had a deployable meteorology mast that had three temperature sensors, and a wind sensor at the tip of the mast. Work on the Titan atmospheric probe was also accomplished. This included developing an experiment proposal to the European Space Agency (ESA), which was not selected. However, as an advisor in the design and preparation of the selected experiment the researcher interacted with scientist on the Huygens Probe Atmosphere Structure Experiment. The researcher also participated in the planning for the Venus Chemical Probe. The science objectives of the probe were to resolve unanswered questions concerning the minor species chemistry of Venus' atmosphere that control cloud formation

  7. The PanCam instrument on the 2018 Exomars rover: Science Implementation Strategy and Integrated Surface Operations Concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmitz, Nicole; Jaumann, Ralf; Coates, Andrew; Griffiths, Andrew; Hauber, Ernst; Trauthan, Frank; Paar, Gerhard; Barnes, Dave; Bauer, Arnold; Cousins, Claire

    2010-05-01

    Geologic context as a combination of orbital imaging and surface vision, including range, resolution, stereo, and multispectral imaging, is commonly regarded as basic requirement for remote robotic geology and forms the first tier of any multi-instrument strategy for investigating and eventually understanding the geology of a region from a robotic platform. Missions with objectives beyond a pure geologic survey, e.g. exobiology objectives, require goal-oriented operational procedures, where the iterative process of scientific observation, hypothesis, testing, and synthesis, performed via a sol-by-sol data exchange with a remote robot, is supported by a powerful vision system. Beyond allowing a thorough geological mapping of the surface (soil, rocks and outcrops) in 3D, using wide angle stereo imagery, such a system needs to be able to provide detailed visual information on targets of interest in high resolution, thereby enabling the selection of science targets and samples for further analysis with a specialized in-situ instrument suite. Surface vision for ESA's upcoming ExoMars rover will come from a dedicated Panoramic Camera System (PanCam). As integral part of the Pasteur payload package, the PanCam is designed to support the search for evidence of biological processes by obtaining wide angle multispectral stereoscopic panoramic images and high resolution RGB images from the mast of the rover [1]. The camera system will consist of two identical wide-angle cameras (WACs), which are arranged on a common pan-tilt mechanism, with a fixed stereo base length of 50 cm. The WACs are being complemented by a High Resolution Camera (HRC), mounted between the WACs, which allows a magnification of selected targets by a factor of ~8 with respect to the wide-angle optics. The high-resolution images together with the multispectral and stereo capabilities of the camera will be of unprecedented quality for the identification of water-related surface features (such as sedimentary

  8. Are you ready for Mars? - Main media events surrounding the arrival of ESA's Mars Express at Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-11-01

    Launched on 2 June 2003 from Baikonur (Kazakhstan) on board a Russian Soyuz launcher operated by Starsem, the European probe -built for ESA by a European team of industrial companies led by Astrium - carries seven scientific instruments that will perform a series of remote-sensing experiments designed to shed new light on the Martian atmosphere, the planet’s structure and its geology. In particular, the British-made Beagle 2 lander, named after the ship on which Charles Darwin explored uncharted areas of the Earth in 1830, will contribute to the search for traces of life on Mars through exobiology experiments and geochemistry research. On Christmas Eve the Mars Express orbiter will be steered on a course taking it into an elliptical orbit, where it will safely circle the planet for a minimum of almost 2 Earth years. The Beagle 2 lander - which will have been released from the mother craft a few days earlier (on 19 December) - instead will stay on a collision course with the planet. It too should also be safe, being designed for atmospheric entry and geared for a final soft landing due to a sophisticated system of parachutes and airbags. On arrival, the Mars Express mission control team will report on the outcome of the spacecraft's delicate orbital insertion manoeuvre. It will take some time for Mars Express to manouvre into position to pick communications from Beagle 2. Hence, initially, other means will be used to check that Beagle 2 has landed: first signals from the Beagle 2 landing are expected to be available throughout Christmas Day, either through pick-up and relay of Beagle 2 radio signals by NASA’s Mars Odyssey, or by direct pick-up by the Jodrell Bank radio telescope in the UK. Mars Express will then pass over Beagle 2 in early January 2004, relaying data and images back to Earth. The first images from the cameras of Beagle 2 and Mars Express are expected to be available between the end of the year and the beginning of January 2004. The key dates

  9. 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