Fossils from the Deep Biosphere: Implications for Life on Mars

UK Centre for Astrobiology seminar

Fossils from the Deep Biosphere: Implications for Life on Mars

  • Event time: 1:30pm
  • Event date: 20th November 2018
  • Speaker: Magnus Ivarsson (Natural History Museum, Stockholm)
  • Location: Room 4325B,

Event details

The exploration of Mars is largely based on comparisons with Earth analogue environments and processes. The up-coming NASA Mars mission 2020 has the explicit aim to search for signs of life on Mars. During preparations for the mission, glaring gaps in one specific field was pointed out: the lack of a fossil record in igneous and volcanic rock. Earth´s fossil record is almost exclusively based on findings in sedimentary rocks, while igneous rocks have been considered barren of life. Since Martian volcanic rocks will be targeted in the search for biosignatures, the lack of a terrestrial analogue fossil record is an obvious impediment to the scientific aim of the mission.

My talk will be on the underexplored fossil environments in deep crustal rocks, and on ancient environments harbouring early prokaryotic and eukaryotic lineages. We have begun to elucidate and even fill some of the gaps, and we now propose the establishment of a microfossil atlas to be used on future Mars explorations. 

About UK Centre for Astrobiology seminars

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..

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