Chemistry Of Life Projects

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.

Screen grab of NASA Ames PAH database website

The NASA Ames PAH IR Spectroscopic Database: PAH Spectroscopy at Your Fingertips

Thursday, January 01 2009 - 2:09 pm, PST
The goal of this project is to expand the content and capabilities of the NASA Ames PAH IR Spectroscopic Database ( that we have previously developed with NASA grant support.

From Large PAHs to Very Small Grains: The Mid-IR Spectrum of the Interstellar Medium

Friday, December 05 2008 - 2:07 pm, PST
A comprehensive study of the spectral characteristics of carbonaceous species with the goal of understanding the effects of size, molecular structure, clustering, and charge on the spectra, and allowing us to more accurately interpret the emission characteristics of the interstellar medium.

Biofuels for Sustainable Space Exploration

Monday, September 01 2008 - 10:33 am, PDT
Research into sustainable energy sources for NASA’s long-term missions, with analysis of two of the most promising biofuel feedstocks: cellulose and algae.


Geochemical and Astrobiological Studies on Martian Aqueous Solutions at Subzero Temperatures

Friday, August 01 2008 - 4:43 pm, PDT
Study of aqueous minerals on Mars and testing of a novel methodology to search for traces of current and past life in these minerals.

Detailed Studies of Amorphous and Crystalline Ice in the Solar System

Friday, August 01 2008 - 2:17 pm, PDT
Study of the conditions under which amorphous and crystalline ices form, modeling of the surface environments of outer solar system objects, and development of rules for ice formation in the outer solar system.

sugar model

Prebiotic Synthesis of Autocatalytic and Self-Replicating Molecules from Sugars as the Primary Carbon Source

Monday, June 30 2008 - 2:19 pm, PDT
A study of the chemical processes on the primitive Earth that generated the first autocatalytic molecules and microstructures involved in the origin of life.

An Automated Meteoroid Orbit Survey to Measure the Fragmentation History of (Mostly) Dormant Comets in the Near Earth Orbit Population

Tuesday, May 06 2008 - 10:19 am, PDT
Testing of the hypothesis that the disintegration of dormant comets is the dominant contribution of dust to the zodiacal cloud.

Modeling the Origin and Early Evolution of Life

Monday, September 24 2007 - 2:15 pm, PDT
This study develops techniques for the analysis of astrobiological samples, including laboratory modeling of processes and characterization of known biogeological materials as a benchmark against which to compare field samples.