Astrobiology (general): February 2008

Presenter: J. William Schopf
Date/Time: 2/25/2008 11:00 AM PST

Throughout recorded Earth history, microbial life has been ubiquitous, abundant, metabolically diverse, and, for the Precambrian four billion years of geologic time, biotically predominant. In the search for life elsewhere in the Cosmos, the prokaryote-dominated world of the Precambrian is the best analogue we know. Though evidence of microbe-level life will thus be sought in rocks returned from Mars, for the first such missions only minimal samples will be available. This raises important questions: What amount of rock is needed to detect past life? What evidence is required to establish biogenicity? How can true fossils be distinguished from contaminants?

Dear ASGSB Members and Friends

The Second Announcement of the ESA ISGP ASGSB ELGRA meeting in Angers, France, June 23-27 will be sent to you soon from the ESA Conference Bureau. The scientific committee is very excited about the developments so far leading up to the meeting, which is titled "Life in Space for Life on Earth". Here are a few things you should know right away.