Where Next in the Search for Life on Mars?

Presenter: Christopher McKay, NASA Ames Research Center
When: April 9, 2010 12PM PDT

For the past decade missions to Mars have “followed the water”. In this talk I will argue that future missions should begin directly searching for signs of life. The most important result from the recent Mars missions in this regard was the discovery of perchlorate by the Phoenix lander. Perchlorate could form the basis of a biological redox system on Mars. Furthermore, reanalysis of the Viking GCMS results suggests that perchlorate and organics may have been present at the Viking sites. Ice-cemented ground beneath dry permafrost in the high elevations of the Antarctic Dry Valleys provides a model for considering the search for signs of life at the Phoenix site.

Space Telescope Science Institute Webcast Series

  • Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute present live and on-demand webcasts related to science, technology, and business to the scientific community and the public at-large. Live webcasts, production services, and the webcast archive are managed by the Information Technology Services division of the Space Telescope Science Institute.
  • Subscribe to this series