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2002 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Reporting  |  JUL 2001 – JUN 2002

Executive Summary

As it is presently defined, life probably arose on Earth about four billion years ago, and some of the “footprints” of those first organisms and of the countless others that followed have been preserved in various mineralogical records. In their efforts to learn more about the origins of life, of planets, and of biospheres, scientists are working ? with earthly and extraterrestrial samples and remote measurements ? to identify, authenticate, interpret, characterize, and classify these markers, or biosignatures, from life’s beginning.

The JPL1 NAI team began with a very broad approach to investigations of the coevolution of planets and biospheres. The strategy employed began with the use of Earth as a laboratory for the development of a suite of biosignatures that could be used across the range of environments in which life is found. At the same time, the study of ancient and modern environments on Mars ... Continue reading.

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