Biofilms in the Deep Subsurface: Implications for Planetary Habitability

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

A major objective of the NASA Planetary Science Program is to determine the potential for life elsewhere in the universe, and understanding life on Earth is a critical step in this process. This study seeks to investigate the habitability of a deep subsurface extraterrestrial analog site at the Deep Mine Microbial Observatory (DeMMO). Specifically, this study aims to link phylogeny to metabolism in mineral-associated biofilms in the terrestrial deep subsurface through field and lab-based cultivation experiments. Findings from this research will provide insight into potential mechanisms for survival and important sources of energy in extraterrestrial subsurface settings. Thus far we have deployed and collected a set of in situ cultivation field experiments using iron, sulfur, and manganese-bearing minerals at two DeMMO sites that have generated promising preliminary results. These results warrant further analyses as well as additional experiments at DeMMO to provide a complete picture of geobiological processes within the terrestrial deep subsurface microbiome.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date9/1/188/31/21

Funding

  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (80NSSC18K1267-P00002)

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