Biomarkers and detection of life in our solar system

UK Centre for Astrobiology seminar

Biomarkers and detection of life in our solar system

Event details

The origin of life is one of the biggest scientific questions waiting to be answered. The first experimental analysis about the abiotic formation of the building blocks of life was published in 1953 by Stanley Miller, who synthesised organic compounds using a spark discharge in a mixture of reduced gases. Although this was a ground breaking result, it was later showed that the atmospheric conditions used in this experiment did not correspond to the ones of the primitive Earth. 

As the Earth was heavily bombarded 4.6 to 3.8 million years ago by comets, asteroids, meteorites and IDPs, the exogenous delivery of organic compounds is an alternative. In fact carbonaceous meteorites have a rich organic inventory, and may have provided the first building blocks of life to the primitive Earth. As future space missions will investigate the possibility of past and/or present life in several places of our solar system, it is important to determine how to detect bio-signatures, determine their origin and how to prepare for these future life-detection missions. This talk will discuss how the analysis of meteorites and Mars soil analogue samples is used to study the origin of life on Earth and how to detect any possible signatures of extra-terrestrial life in our solar system.

UK Centre for Astrobiology Seminar Series

The astrobiology seminar series is run by the UK Centre for Astrobiology based in the School of Physics & Astronomy. Astrobiology is a multi-disciplinary subject and the seminar series actively encourages attendance by undergraduates, postgraduates and academic staff from other departments.

The seminar series is partly funded by the researcher-led initiative fund at the University of Edinburgh. Tea and coffee will be provided after the seminar.

Further information or proposals for speakers

Contact casey.bryce [at] ed.ac.uk (Casey Bryce) or d.martin [at] ed.ac.uk (Derek Martin).

Further information

The astrobiology seminar series is run by the UK Centre for Astrobiology based in the School of Physics & Astronomy. Astrobiology is a multi-disciplinary subject and the seminar series actively encourages attendance by undergraduates, postgraduates and academic staff from other departments..

Find out more about UK Centre for Astrobiology seminars.