Life on Earth, Mars, and Beyond

Kat Dawson (Environmental Science)
Nathan Yee (Environmental Science)

Are we alone in the universe? Where did life begin? Is there life on Mars? How do we detect life on another planet? These are some of the biggest questions in science today. Since August 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has been exploring the planet to determine if Mars had an environment capable of supporting small life forms called microbes. In this seminar, we will use what we know about life on Earth to ask questions about the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe. We will search for microbes on our own campus that can provide a living reference for exploring extraterrestrial life. Using environmental samples collected on campus, we will conduct laboratory analyzes to evaluate what signs of life might be left behind by microbes on Mars.