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2001 Annual Science Report

University of Colorado, Boulder Reporting  |  JUL 2000 – JUN 2001

Setting the Stage for the Origin of Life on Earth

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Setting the stage for the origin of life on Earth (dm)

This effort to investigate the origin of life on Earth was initiated at the CU-Boulder Center for Astrobiology in January, 2001, with the arrival of a new investigator (Mojzsis) from UCLA. We have been laying the foundation for the Astrobiology Materials Research Laboratory (AMRL) centered at the Department of Geological Sciences. The tasks completed so far include: refurbishment of laboratory space, transport of samples from the PI’s UCLA collection to Colorado, purchase of equipment and supplies for the laboratory, establishment of a microscopy system for sample characterization, sample curation, purchase and installation of sample preparation devices (crushing systems, embedding media, etc.). Our current emphasis is on ramping up the laboratory for work following the summer field season.

    Stephen Mojzsis
    Project Investigator

    Ariel Anbar

    T. Mark Harrison

    Bernard Marty

    Kevin McKeegan

    Joyleen Desai
    Doctoral Student

    Nicholas Strohecker
    Undergraduate Student

    Objective 1.0
    Determine whether the atmosphere of the early Earth, hydrothermal systems or exogenous matter were significant sources of organic matter.

    Objective 3.0
    Replicating, catalytic systems capable of evolution, and construct laboratory models of metabolism in primitive living systems.

    Objective 5.0
    Describe the sequences of causes and effects associated with the development of Earth's early biosphere and the global environment.

    Objective 7.0
    Identify the environmental limits for life by examining biological adaptations to extremes in environmental conditions.

    Objective 8.0
    Search for evidence of ancient climates, extinct life and potential habitats for extant life on Mars.

    Objective 9.0
    Determine the presence of life's chemical precursors and potential habitats for life in the outer solar system.

    Objective 12.0
    Define climatological and geological effects upon the limits of habitable zones around the Sun and other stars to help define the frequency of habitable planets in the universe.

    Objective 13.0
    Define an array of astronomically detectable spectroscopic features that indicate habitable conditions and/or the presence of life on an extrasolar planet.