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DIX Planetary Science Seminar

Tuesday, February 6, 2024
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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South Mudd 365
Validating Cellular Life and Extant Biological Process from Martian Analog Brines and Evaporites
Scott Perl, Research Scientist, Geobiology & Astrobiology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,

The search for evidence for extant and extinct in hypersaline brine and hydrated salt mineral environments can be difficult due to needing to decipher biogenic/biological components from organic and mineral substrate. This problem persists in Martian settings (RSLs, hydrated mineral veins, etc.) and in Europa ice environments (cryobrines, ocean-ice interfaces, etc.) where the burden of proof for life is higher. Terrestrial extreme environments typically have the benefit of microbial ecology alongside geobiological assessments but for life detection on rocky planets and icy worlds this evidence typically can be limited and other geobiological means need to be employed. The purpose of this talk is to highlight hydrated mineral-microbial features that have been uncovered in geologically modern evaporite mineral and brine samples as well as ancient brines that showcase the loss of biogenic evidence.

For more information, please contact Kim Paragas by phone at 626-395-6960 or by email at [email protected].