2004 Annual Science Report
University of Washington Reporting | JUL 2003 – JUN 2004
Our group has had a diverse year, with members participating in NASA missions, geological and oceanographic expeditions, and diverse laboratory and theoretical studies. Through all, our NAI-sponsored research at the University of Washington has concentrated on the following important astrobiological questions:
1. What are the characteristics of planets that can evolve complex organisms?
2. Where might such planets occur?
3. How does biological complexity evolve on a planet, and how might it end?
4. What are the limits and permissible chemistries of life and how might they arise?
We are beginning the fourth year of research into these questions. Below, our results and progress are summarized based on specific research problems defined in our original proposal.
How often, where, and under which conditions do habitable planets form and persist?
The rapid discovery of ever more extra-solar planets has now made clear that the Universe is ...Continue reading.
Mayer and Quinn have continued performing simulations of giant planet formation by fragmentation of a gaseous disk.ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 1.1 2.2 4.3
Kress and Brownlee, in collaboration with George Cody, have investigated the thermal alteration of organic material entering the atmosphere in small extraterrestrial particles. An interesting aspect of this process is that even the most severely heated particles eject sublimed compounds that survive.ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 1.1 1.2 3.1 7.2
This project was instituted to examine the relationship between impact and mass extinction. We know that one of the largest mass extinctions of the past 500 million years was caused by impact (the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) event 65 million years ago (Alvarez et al, 1980)).ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 4.2 4.3 6.2
Research continued in the following six areas: late Archean — early Paleoproterozoic hydrocarbon biomarker molecules, early Archean sulfur isotopes, metamorphism of early Archean biosignatures, nutrient availability (N, P) in Archean oceans, geochronology of a late Archean flood basalt province, and diamond drilling of astrobiologically significant Archean and early Proterozoic sedimentary horizons in the Pilbara Craton of Australia.ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 4.1 4.2 7.1
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 1.1
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 3.2
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 4.3
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 3.2 3.3 4.2 5.2 5.3 6.1 6.2
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 5.1 5.3 6.1 6.2 7.2
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 1.1 1.2
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 3.2 3.3 4.1 4.2 5.1 5.2 5.3 6.1
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 5.3
Arizona State University
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Indiana University, Bloomington
Marine Biological Laboratory
Michigan State University
NASA Ames Research Center
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA Johnson Space Center
Pennsylvania State University
University of Arizona
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Hawaii, Manoa
University of Rhode Island
University of Washington
Virtual Planetary Laboratory (JPL/CalTech)