Chemistry Of Life Projects

Using Aromatic Compounds and Related Molecular Species as a Tracer of Carbon in the Universe and Life in the Solar System

Monday, June 13 2011 - 2:06 pm, PDT
This work involves building a database of the spectra of aromatic compounds, for use in interpreting astronomical observations and in developing instrumentation for planetary landers and probes. We are pursuing collaborations in this area with other scientists at NASA, universities, and non-profits.

Preformed Complex Organic Molecules from the Matrix of Magnetic Minerals

Tuesday, August 17 2010 - 4:02 pm, PDT
The hard, dense solid state of magmatic minerals is a medium, in which organic synthesis can take place. When minerals crystallize from magmas laden with H2O, CO/CO2, N2, H2S etc, the gas/fluid-phase components become incorporated, forming oxyanion complexes, best known among them OH (hydroxyl) and CO3^2(carbonate).

Ices and Organic Molecules in Space

Thursday, July 22 2010 - 2:16 pm, PDT
This program focuses on ice experiments for comparison to interstellar and Solar System objects, meteoritic organics, and interstellar dust particles (IDPs). We also are actively pursuing related observational and theoretical projects through collaborations with other scientists at NASA, universities, and non-profits.

Oxidative Stress Responses in Altered Gravity

Monday, March 01 2010 - 4:41 pm, PST
This project looks at the role of oxidative stress responses in the adaptation to changes in the gravity vector, using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. Transcriptional changes in antioxidant cellular systems are mapped in targeted RNAi mutants and linked to the intracellular biochemical alterations that occur in gravity transitions. The goal is to chart the gene networks responsive to gravity stress.

Microbial Ecology of Early Earth and Modern Artificial Environments

Wednesday, February 24 2010 - 4:00 pm, PST
If we are to understand complex microbial communities we need to understand not only the microbes themselves but their community dynamics as well.

Organic Aerosols in the Early Earth Atmosphere: Reaction Network an Its Isotope Signature

Thursday, October 01 2009 - 10:09 am, PDT
Experimental simulations of Titan's atmospheric and surface chemistries in order to understand the formation of complex organic molecules as well as the abiotic formation of prebiotic molecules, providing important clues to the origin of life on the early Earth.

Type 2 MMAMA Proposal: Integrated Field Science and Exploration Activities in a Relevant Underwater Environment

Wednesday, September 09 2009 - 10:58 am, PDT
A multi-disciplinary underwater study to understand the factors influencing microbialite morphogenesis in Lake Pavilion, British Columbia. This study is also used to identify the human factors in exploration of a foreign environment, providing useful information for the design of human missions to the Moon and Mars.

Microbial Contamination Detection at Very Low Levels by [125] I Radiolabeling

Friday, July 17 2009 - 2:16 pm, PDT
The goal of this projects is to develop a new and more sensitive method for the determination of bioburdens for planetary protection purposes.

Calculation of High-Resolution IR Spectra, Including Line Lists and Intensities, for Astronomically Interesting Molecules and their Isotopes: NH3, CO2, SO2, CH3OH, CH3CN, and CH3-O-CH3

Monday, June 01 2009 - 10:04 am, PDT
Determination of line spectra for a range of eigenstates of astrobiologically interesting compounds; this info can be used in interpreting spectra from the Herschel, SOFIA, and JWST missions

Detection of Organics and Bioburden

Sunday, February 01 2009 - 2:56 pm, PST
Testing of a Raman/UV instrument designed for remote detection of organic materials on future astrobiology missions, to assist in the protection of other planets from Earth microbes carried by spacecraft.