TDE Workshop: Requirements for Origin of Life Field Investigations
When: October 4, 2016 5PM PDT
Blair Thornton (U Tokyo)
Ken Takai (JAMSTEC)
One objective of the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s “Thermodynamics, Disequilibrium, Evolution” (TDE) focus group is to understand how geochemical disequilibria are generated and how these gradients could have been harnessed to drive early metabolic systems. Studies of different types of hydrothermal vent systems have revolutionized our understanding of how metabolism and energy conversion on Earth might have emerged from a geological setting, and also have advanced our knowledge of possible environments where life could exist on other wet rocky worlds. Past TDE workshops have advanced our knowledge of laboratory simulations and models of far-from-equilibrium systems relevant to the origin of life.
To advance this knowledge even further and to prepare for the exploration of potential habitable environments on other worlds, there is a need for new, innovative in situ exploration technologies and analytical methods. The goals of this workshop are: to define laboratory and analytical requirements for simulating seafloor settings on early Earth and other worlds, and to identify new technologies and operational strategies for the in-situ exploration of energetically active field sites that may represent analogs for environments in which life emerged. The 3-day workshop will gather experts in planetary disequilibrium and origin of life, ocean sciences, experimental design and sensing technologies.