Dr. Abigail Alwood

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Dr. Abigail Alwood
Dr. Abigail Alwood - Research Scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Oldest life on Earth applied to Mars.

TRANSCRIPT: "Hi. My name is Abigail Alwood. I work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and I’m an astrobiologist. I work on some of the earliest evidence of life on our planet, Earth, and so I do a lot of field work – geological field work out particularly in northwestern Australia in rocks that are about three and a half billion years old. And what I do there is try to look at these rocks which are some of the oldest on Earth and work out whether there is any evidence of life in them. We think that there is and that the evidence there is the oldest evidence of life on Earth. Life on Earth is pretty old. And I’m interested in this, my work for NASA, because understanding the nature of life on Earth is important to understanding how we might look for life on another planet like Mars. If Mars was only habitable for life for a short period of time early in its history, then life didn’t have very long to evolve. We’re only looking at very primitive microorganisms, so a good analog for that is to go back to the very earliest life on Earth and see what that looked like and what kind of traces it leaves in the rock record. So I find that that’s a very interesting application of my work in Western Australia is to figure out how that informs the search for life on Mars."

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Uploaded: Sep17 12
Last Modified: 2016-01-16 09:44:13

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Julia Robinson, University of Utah
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