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2012 Annual Science Report

University of Wisconsin Reporting  |  SEP 2011 – AUG 2012

EPO Activity: Project 2: Biosignatures Museum Exhibit

Project Progress

The second phase of the Biosignature Museum Exhibit is in full swing, with graphic design work, the Aromas of Astrobiology component and online content support being completed. In November, 2010 the UW Geology Museum installed the first phase of a 250 square foot permanent exhibit on early Earth and how NASA-funded research pertains to the search for life elsewhere in the Solar System and beyond. The exhibit highlights Earth’s oldest rocks and fossils, emphasizing that these are our windows into understanding the beginning of life on our own planet. Specimens include: Acasta gneiss from Canada (4.03 Ga), metasediments from the Isua supracrustal belt in Greenland (3.8 Ga), a large chunk of conglomerate from the Jack Hills in Australia (3.0 Ga), Australian Tiger Iron (2.5 Ga), a stromatolite from the Trendall locality in Australia (3.35 Ga), Grypania (1.85 Ga), Gunflint chert microfossils (1.8 Ga), Copper Harbor Stromatolite (1.1 Ga), Burgess Shale Lagerstatte (505 Ma) and Waukesha Lagerstatte (430 Ma).