We invite you to submit abstracts to Session 67232 at AbSciCon 2019 titled “Salty Goodness: Understanding life, biosignature preservation, and brines in the Solar System”. AbSciCon 2019 abstracts are due on 06 March 2019 at 11:59 PM ET.
Pure liquid water is only stable in a small fraction of the Solar System; however, salty aqueous solutions (i.e., brines) are more broadly stable. These brine systems, though, prove to be some of the most challenging environments for microorganisms, where biology must overcome extreme osmotic stresses, low water activities, chemical toxicity, and depending on the location of the environment, temperature extremes, UV radiation, and intense pressure. Despite these stressors, hypersaline environments on Earth host an astounding diversity of micro- and macroorganisms. With worlds like Mars, Ceres, and outer Solar System ocean worlds showing the potential for present-day brines, and with upcoming missions to Europa, it is timely to elucidate the potential for such aqueous systems to sustain and support life as well as the stability of these systems on host worlds.
This session is intended to encourage multidisciplinary and cross planetary discussions focused on the phase space of habitability within brines. We seek to discuss 1) the potential and stability of brines on host worlds through both laboratory and modeling experiments, 2) microbial ecology and adaptations to brines, 3) the effects of water activity and chaotropicity on habitability, 4) the ability of hypersaline systems to preserve biomolecules and 5) techniques and technology needed to detect biosignatures in these unique systems.