2005 Annual Science Report

Indiana University, Bloomington Reporting  |  JUL 2004 – JUN 2005

Executive Summary

Future exploration for life on Mars and icy bodies in the outer region of our solar system necessitates rapid development of innovative instruments and techniques for life-detection that can be field tested in analogue environments on Earth. With this goal in mind, IPTAI scientists are leading a highly collaborative effort to core, sample and characterize the microbial ecosystems present within regions of persistent permafrost in northern Canada. We intend to core a sequence of bore holes using aseptic procedures and starting from lichen-encrusted rocks at the ground surface (Figure 1), extending through hundreds of meters of rocky permafrost, and penetrating into deep sub-permafrost brines contained in fractured bedrock. We seek direct evidence of microbial biomass and activity, as well as indirect evidence of microbial metabolism in the form of distinctive chemical and isotopic anomalies in gases, aqueous species and minerals. Instrumental and assay techniques that ... Continue reading.

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