December Regular Meeting at SLAS
Astrobiology: Life In Extreme Environments - and Life In the Solar System?
Friday, December 15, 2006 Meeting Location
McDonnell Hall, Room 162, Washington University
accessible from Forsyth Blvd. via Tolman Way
Astrobiology is the study of life on worlds other than the Earth. The field has moved from science fiction to modern science with discoveries of the building blocks of life and conditions suitable for the development of life in other places in the universe. Since these locations offer conditions very hostile to life as we know it, part of modern astrobiology research involves the study of Earth life in extreme environments - regions where temperatures and pressures and oxygen content are far beyond our everyday experience. Other scientists are investigating , primarily by robot spacecraft and giant telescopes, locations on other planets or on satellites in the solar system where life could possibly originate and evolve. Dr. Blank will present an overview of the emerging science of astrobiology, including the results of her own experiments and observations.
Carrine Blank is an Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the Campus Director of the NASA Missouri Space Grant Consortium at Washington University. Her research interests center upon molecular geomicrobiology - the study of microorganisms and how they co-evolved with the early Earth. In addition to laboratory experiments, Dr. Blank conducts field studies at locations as diverse as the Yellowstone National Park’s boiling hot springs and the fossil reef formations of Glacier National Park.