2006 Annual Science Report
University of Washington Reporting | JUL 2005 – JUN 2006
In this, our fifth (and final?) year, our group continues its Year 4 drive at full productivity. It was also the year of Stardust, the highly successful comet return mission with co-I Don Brownlee serving as Mission PI. As in past years, our NAI sponsored research at the University of Washington has concentrated on the following important astrobiological questions:
- What are the characteristics of planets that can evolve complex organisms?
- Where might such planets occur?
- How does biological complexity evolve on a planet, and how might it end?
- What are the limits and permissible chemistries of life and how might they arise?
During the 2005-2006 period significant progress into these problems was made. Below, our results and progress is summarized based on specific research problems defined in our original proposal.
How often, where, and under which conditions do habitable planets form and persist?
Assessing the ...Continue reading.
Earlier in this grant we (PI’s Ward and Farley and UW graduate student Garrison) completed a study (Farley et al. 2005) of the Permian/Triassic Boundary at Opal Creek, Canada, and showed that a) there is no evidence for any extraterrestrial 3He at this boundary, and b) the absence of extraterrestrial 3He is fully expected for sections (like this one) that have been evenly mildly metamorphosed.ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 4.2 4.3 6.1
In collaboration with Mayer, Quinn is exploring the viability of the gravitational instability model for the formation of gas giant planets.ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 1.1 4.3
Our primary research objective is to better understand the origins and adaptive radiation of an ancient and biogeochemically significant assemblage of microorganisms, the sulfate-reducing prokaryotes (SRP).ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 4.1 5.1 5.2 5.3
Research continued in the following 6 areas: late Archean — early Paleoproterozoic hydrocarbon biomarker molecules, Archean sulfur isotopes and sulfur cycling, metamorphism of early Archean biosignatures, nutrient availability (N, P) in Precambrian oceans, paleobarometry of the Archean atmosphere and diamond drilling of astrobiologically significant Archean and early Proterozoic sedimentary horizons in the Pilbara Craton of Australia. Field-work was conducted on early Archean supracrustal rocks of the Fortescue, Warrawoona and Coonterunah Groups in the Pilbara Craton, Australia and the Isua Supracrustal Belt, Greenland.ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 4.1 4.2 7.1
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 4.1 4.2 5.3
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 4.2
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 4.1 4.2 5.2 5.3
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 3.2 3.3 4.1 4.2 5.1 5.2 5.3 6.1
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 1.1 3.1
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 1.1 2.2 3.1 4.1 4.3
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 4.2 4.3 6.1
ROADMAP OBJECTIVES: 1.1 4.3
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Indiana University, Bloomington
Marine Biological Laboratory
Michigan State University
NASA Ames Research Center
NASA Goddard Space Flight 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 Washington
Virtual Planetary Laboratory (JPL/CalTech)