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Fourier Transform Infrared Spectral Detection of Life in Polar Subsurface Environments and its Application to Mars Exploration

Preston, Louisa J.; Johnson, Diane; Cockell, Charles S. and Grady, Monica M. (2015). Fourier Transform Infrared Spectral Detection of Life in Polar Subsurface Environments and its Application to Mars Exploration. Applied Spectroscopy, 69(9) pp. 1059–1065.

URL: http://asp.sagepub.com/content/69/9/1059
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1366/14-07843
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Abstract

Cryptoendolithic lichen communities of the Dry Valleys, Antarctica, survive in an extremely inhospitable environment, finding refuge in microscopic niches where conditions suitable for life exist. Such “within-rock” communities may have evolved on Mars when conditions for life on the surface deteriorated to such an extent that they could no longer survive. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy of unprepared whole-rock Antarctic Beacon sandstones was used to vertically profile molecular vibrations of fatty acids, proteins, and carboxylic acids created by endolithic communities. Spectral biosignatures were found localized to lichen-rich areas and were absent in crustal regions and the bulk rock substrate. These cryptoendolithic profiles will aid similar spectroscopic investigations of organic biosignatures during future Martian subsurface studies and will help in the identification of similar communities in other localities across the Earth.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 Society for Applied Spectroscopy
ISSN: 1943-3530
Keywords: Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy; FT-IR; biosignature; organics; cryptoendoliths; Antarctica; Mars
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Physical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 45219
Depositing User: Monica Grady
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2016 11:00
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 10:37
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/45219
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