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Proceedings Paper

The distribution and stereochemistry of amino acids in rocks and sediments from harsh terrestrial environments: analogues for future studies of ancient extraterrestrial materials
Author(s): Michael H. Engel; Debra H. Engel
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Paper Abstract

The search for life elsewhere in the solar system has focused on experiments to detect extant life and on the detection of ancient remnants of life from times in the distant past when planetary bodies may have had more hospitable climates for the proliferation of life as we know it. With respect to the latter, compounds that are ubiquitous to life on Earth (e.g. amino acids) are logical targets when attempting to assess the possible occurrence of ancient extraterrestrial life. However, subsequent to death, the distribution and stereochemistry of amino acids change with the passage of time, and these changes may vary depending on environments of preservation. Amino acid distributions and stereochemistry for microorganisms in desert and arctic environments are presented and compared to those derived from older rocks and sediments that they are associated with. Criteria are suggested for the assessment of ancient, extraterrestrial life based on these distributions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 September 2010
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 7819, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIII, 781906 (7 September 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.859884
Show Author Affiliations
Michael H. Engel, The Univ. of Oklahoma (United States)
Debra H. Engel, The Univ. of Oklahoma Libraries (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7819:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIII
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Paul C. W. Davies, Editor(s)

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