Research into biosignature recognition is rapidly evolving, particularly as our understanding of life’s ability to thrive and survive in extreme environments expands. Despite these advances, unambiguous biosignatures are difficult to diagnose. Biosignatures (in the rock record) are preserved fingerprints of life interacting with fluid and rock, particularly where microbes enhance mineral precipitation during deposition and/or early diagenesis. However, establishing biogenicity of putative biosignatures and preservation of any type of microbial fossil or chemical or textural biosignature depends on the degree of alteration during diagenesis and factors such as exposure to diagenetic fluids. In order to effectively determine the best practices for the interpretation of biosignatures of present and/or past life on Earth or other planets, there exists a crucial need for a forum for discussion of:
– What constitutes a modern biosignature
– How biosignatures are formed
– How biosignatures are preserved and/or altered throughout geologic time
This session will address these issues and facilitate further advances in the search for life on exoplanets.
We look forward to seeing you at GSA in Baltimore
Charity M. Phillips Lander