2002 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Reporting  |  JUL 2001 – JUN 2002

Fe Isotope Biosignatures

Project Summary

Our research program in Year 4 has focused on five aspects of Fe isotope geochemistry, and our findings are based on ~1,000 new high-precision Fe isotope analyses using the new NAI-funded MC-ICP-MS lab

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Our research program in Year 4 has focused on five aspects of Fe isotope geochemistry, and our findings are based on ~1,000 new high-precision Fe isotope analyses using the new NAI-funded MC-ICP-MS lab:

  • Determining the extent of Fe isotope variations in natural samples from the modern and ancient Earth [3 papers]
  • Experimentally calibrating biological controls on Fe isotope fractionations during dissimilatory Fe reduction and photosynthetic Fe oxidation [3 papers]
  • Experimentally calibrating equilibrium Fe isotope fractionation factors for geologically relevant inorganic systems [2 papers]
  • Field-based studies of Fe isotope fractionation in biologically complex ecosystems that may be analogs to ancient Fe deposits on Earth and Mars [several abstracts]
  • Exploratory work on development of spacecraft-based, in situ Fe isotope measurements for future Mars lander missions [work in progress]
  • PROJECT INVESTIGATORS:
  • PROJECT MEMBERS:
    Clark Johnson
    Project Investigator

    Brian Beard
    Co-Investigator

    Nicolas Beukes
    Collaborator

    Paul Braterman
    Collaborator

    Laura Croal
    Collaborator

    David Des Marais
    Collaborator

    Cornelis Klein
    Collaborator

    Kenneth Nealson
    Collaborator

    Dianne Newman
    Collaborator

    Hiroshi Ohmoto
    Collaborator

    Beverly Pierson
    Collaborator

    Eric Roden
    Collaborator

    Mahadeva Sinha
    Collaborator

    Henry Sun
    Collaborator

    Karen Von Damm
    Collaborator

    Susan Welch
    Postdoc

    Kosei Yamaguchi
    Postdoc

    Rebecca Poulson
    Undergraduate Student

  • RELATED OBJECTIVES:
    Objective 3.0
    Replicating, catalytic systems capable of evolution, and construct laboratory models of metabolism in primitive living systems.

    Objective 5.0
    Describe the sequences of causes and effects associated with the development of Earth's early biosphere and the global environment.

    Objective 6.0
    Define how ecophysiological processes structure microbial communities, influence their adaptation and evolution, and affect their detection on other planets.

    Objective 7.0
    Identify the environmental limits for life by examining biological adaptations to extremes in environmental conditions.

    Objective 8.0
    Search for evidence of ancient climates, extinct life and potential habitats for extant life on Mars.

    Objective 10.0
    Understand the natural processes by which life can migrate from one world to another. Are we alone in the Universe?

    Objective 12.0
    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.