Origin & Evolution of Life

NAI and NSF Provide Joint Funding to Understand the Environment of the Earth More Than 2 Billion Years Ago

By Keith Cowing
October 19, 2006

The NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are providing matching support towards the study of the ancient rock record of the early Earth, between 2.0 and 2.5 billion years ago. This period represents one of the critical transitions in the Earth’s history as it reflects the emergence of the modern aerobic, or oxygen-rich Earth system.

Various lines of evidence continue to indicate that this period witnessed the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere of the Earth, reflecting major changes in the evolution of life on the planet. This project with acquire fresh, i.e., not weathered by surface exposure, drill-core material from deep within the Russian Arctic.

The NAI and NSF support will contribute to major funding from the International Continental Drilling Program, which will be led by investigators at the NAI Penn State University Team. [Source: NAI Newsletter]

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻