Nathalie Cabrol, Director of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the universe at the SETI Institute.
Credit: SETI Institute

 

Are there ways in which biology and its environment co-evolve? The answer could give essential insight into how we might search for extraterrestrial life.

Today, December 14th, Nathalie Cabrol, Director of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the universe at the SETI Institute, will give the prestigious Sagan Lecture at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco.

Life elsewhere

“On Earth, as soon as life gained a foothold, it began to modify the planet’s environment. Subsequent generations inherited changed surroundings, and introduced their own environmental modifications,” says Cabrol.

“Understanding how this process might have worked on a world with environmental conditions other than Earth’s,” Cabrol adds, “could help in our exploration for life elsewhere.”

Extraterrestrial interplay

The interplay of environment and life is a central theme of astrobiology, and Cabrol will describe how studying its workings can help in the search for ancient or extant biology on Mars.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1521, November 15, 2016.

In its early days, the environments of Mars and Earth were similar, although they eventually diverged dramatically. So understanding the succession of physical and environmental processes in Mars’ first 700 million years is essential to envision what adaptation strategies life would have had to make to survive on the Red Planet, and which biosignatures could be preserved and possibly found.

Tune in resources

The Sagan Lecture is webcast and made available as an archived presentation on the AGU website.

Session: B32D Sagan Lecture

Program: Biogeosciences

Day: Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Time: 10:25 – 11:15 AM PST

Location: Moscone West, San Francisco

For more information, go to:

http://www.seti.org/seti-institute/news/dec-14-nathalie-cabrol-presents-sagan-lecture-agu-2016

To view the event, go to:

AGU on Demand: http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2016/virtual-options/

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