2001 Annual Science Report
University of Colorado, Boulder Reporting | JUL 2000 – JUN 2001
Setting the Stage for the Origin of Life on Earth
Setting the stage for the origin of life on Earth (dm)
This effort to investigate the origin of life on Earth was initiated at the CU-Boulder Center for Astrobiology in January, 2001, with the arrival of a new investigator (Mojzsis) from UCLA. We have been laying the foundation for the Astrobiology Materials Research Laboratory (AMRL) centered at the Department of Geological Sciences. The tasks completed so far include: refurbishment of laboratory space, transport of samples from the PI’s UCLA collection to Colorado, purchase of equipment and supplies for the laboratory, establishment of a microscopy system for sample characterization, sample curation, purchase and installation of sample preparation devices (crushing systems, embedding media, etc.). Our current emphasis is on ramping up the laboratory for work following the summer field season.
PROJECT MEMBERS:Stephen Mojzsis
T. Mark Harrison
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 1.0
Determine whether the atmosphere of the early Earth, hydrothermal systems or exogenous matter were significant sources of organic matter.
Replicating, catalytic systems capable of evolution, and construct laboratory models of metabolism in primitive living systems.
Describe the sequences of causes and effects associated with the development of Earth's early biosphere and the global environment.
Identify the environmental limits for life by examining biological adaptations to extremes in environmental conditions.
Search for evidence of ancient climates, extinct life and potential habitats for extant life on Mars.
Determine the presence of life's chemical precursors and potential habitats for life in the outer solar system.
Define climatological and geological effects upon the limits of habitable zones around the Sun and other stars to help define the frequency of habitable planets in the universe.
Define an array of astronomically detectable spectroscopic features that indicate habitable conditions and/or the presence of life on an extrasolar planet.