The 3.5 year UK Space Agency PhD Studentship “Chemolithotrophs on Mars: metabolic pathways and biosignatures” will explore the metabolisms and stable isotope fractionation patterns produced by microbial communities in Mars analogue environments, and will be co-supervised by Dr Aubrey Zerkle. This will help us understand what kind of evidence we might expect to be left by any microbial life that existed billions of years ago when Mars was a less hostile planet.
Complementing this studentship is a 3-year postdoctoral project that will explore the habitability of hydrothermal fluids on Mars, Europa and Enceladus (“Frozen but not forgotten: microbial habitability and preservation in planetary fluids”; The Leverhulme Trust). This project will combine natural mineral springs in the Canadian High Arctic and Iceland with experimental studies to investigate how microbial communities survive and are preserved in simulated planetary environments. Dr Gordon Osinksi from the University of Western Ontario who visited DEES during his sabbatical in April 2016 is a Co-Investigator on this project, along with Dr Mark Claire (DEES) and Prof Charles Cockell (University of Edinburgh).
the ExoMars PanCam in Iceland in 2013 |
Links to related research:
Selecting the geology filter wavelengths for the ExoMars Panoramic Camera Instrument, Cousins, C. R., et al., 2012, In: Planetary and Space Science.
Mars surface context cameras past, present, and future, Cousins, C. R., et al., 27 April 2016, In: Earth and Space Science.
Glaciovolcanic hydrothermal environments in Iceland and implications for their detection on Mars, Cousins, C. R., et al., Cousins, C. R., et al., 15 Apr 2013, In: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 256, p. 61-77.
Volcano-Ice Interaction as a Microbial Habitat on Earth and Mars, Claire R. Cousins and Ian A. Crawford. Astrobiology. September 2011, 11(7): 695-710.
Related media stories:
New Scientist: ExoMars rover's Martian-hunting camera takes test run in Iceland
Imperative Space: Aurora and ExoMars Films for UK Space Agency
The Leverhulme Trust: Looking for life in the UV: fluorescence as a tool for planetary exploration