The Search for Early Life and Prebiotic Processes by the Mars 2020 Rover Mission

Tuesday, January 07, 2020 at 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Building 54, 915
21 AMES ST, Cambridge, MA 02139

The Search for Early Life and Prebiotic Processes by the Mars 2020 Rover Mission
Tanja Bosak
EAPS at MIT
Tuesday, January 7th at 3pm - 4pm followed by Q&A 

The NASA Mars 2020 rover mission aims to identify rocks from past habitable environments that are most likely to preserve the signals of microbial life, sample these rocks, and prepare a cache for possible future return to Earth. If returned, these samples may extend the record of life as we know it or prebiotic chemical reactions that led to life that exists today. To identify the most promising samples, we need to understand morphological, mineralogical and organic biosignatures, microbial metabolisms and fossilization processes under conditions relevant for habitable environments on early Mars. I will discuss the mission and the relevant record of biosignatures on the early Earth such as stromatolites and microbially-induced sedimentary structures and experiments that probe the fossilization and preservation of organic matter in the context of the > 3.8 billion year old landing site at Jezero crater on Mars.

Event Type

Conferences/Seminars/Lectures

Events By Interest

Academic

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Public, Students, Faculty

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School of Science

Department
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
Contact Email

maggie84@mit.edu

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