|Purpose:||This project entitled « Detection and Assessment of Microbial Biosignatures in Basalts by UV Raman spectroscopy and Direct Analysis » will ascertain whether there is evidence that life on Mars requires understanding of the signatures life creates and the development of ways to detect these "biosignatures“. Lava flows in the Snake River Plain of Idaho and the Rift Zones in Hawaii represent analogues to basalts on modern and ancient Mars. The project will add new knowledge and develop Canadian expertise in space science via the analogue studies examining microbial populations in volcanic terrains on Earth and how they relate to the geochemical and geological conditions, precisely it will answer the questions how biomarker types and amounts correlate with geochemical conditions (e.g. mineralogy, texture) within the basalts and how their presence and preservation is related to interactions with water. Results will demonstrate the application of Raman spectroscopy for biosignature detection and inform sample site selection for future Mars missions.
This project aims at helping to identify other potential habitable environments on other planets.