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Astrobiology: origin and the detection of life in our solar system

Zita Martins
Imperial College

The origin of life on Earth is one of the biggest scientific questions waiting to be answered. It may have had a contribution from dogenous and/or exogenous sources, with most recent theories suggesting the presence of water and a continuous supply of prebiotic organic compounds as a requirement. The first experimental analysis on the abiotic formation of the building blocks of life was performed in 1953 using laboratory apparatus that simulated the primitive Earth. However, the atmospheric conditions used in this experiment did not correspond to the ones of our primitive planet. The exogenous delivery of organic compounds is an alternative, as the Earth was heavily bombarded by comets, asteroids, meteorites and interplanetary dust particle (IDPs) 4.6 to 3.8 billion years ago. As future space missions will investigate the possibility of past and/or present extra-terrestrial life, it is important to determine how life may have originated in other places of our solar system, and how to detect possible bio-signatures. This talk will discuss how meteorites, asteroids, comets and Mars soil analogues are used to investigate the origin of life on Earth and how to detect any possible signatures of extra-terrestrial life in our solar system.

2015 June 02, 13:30

Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto (Auditorium)
Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto

Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia