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2016 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Icy Worlds Reporting  |  JAN 2016 – DEC 2016

Executive Summary

In this interdisciplinary research we conduct a highly synergistic combination of experimental, theoretical, and field-based lines of inquiry focused on answering a single compelling question in astrobiology: How can geochemical disequilibria drive the emergence of metabolism and ultimately generate observable signatures on icy worlds?

Astrobiology at water-rock interfaces found on icy bodies (e.g., Europa, Enceladus and Ganymede) in our Solar System (and beyond) is the unifying theme for the proposed research. Several of the icy moons in our Solar System have subsurface oceans that, combined, contain many times the volume of liquid water on Earth. All of these icy worlds may host or may have once hosted water-rock interfaces generating energy from geochemical gradients. Our highly interdisciplinary team of researchers will be working together to examine bio-geochemical/-geophysical interactions taking place between rock/water/ice interfaces in these environments to better understand and constrain ... Continue reading.

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