National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Science & Technology
Seeking Signs of Life at the Glacier's Edge
Color image of men drilling in ice on a glacier.
Ice augering at a glacier, taking measurements in Greenland, and collecting a sediment core. Credits: Seth Young, Lisa Pratt DATE: May 17, 2012

Microbes living at the edges of Arctic ice sheets could help researchers pinpoint evidence for similar microorganisms that could have evolved on Mars, the Jovian moon Europa, or Saturn's moon Enceladus. With support from the NASA ASTEP program, a team of scientists recently investigated the western edge of the Greenland ice sheet in order to study the release of methane as the ice sheet recedes. Careful isotopic analysis will help them determine if the methane comes directly or indirectly from methanogenic microbes.

In 2011, the researchers used an infrared laser to look for methane at multiple sites across a valley that extends for tens of miles near the margin of the Greenland ice sheet. In the coming summer, the researchers intend to look for potential subsurface gaseous signs of life with an innovative drill they have developed.

Source: astrobio.net

Last Updated: 29 May 2012

Science Features
Astrobiology
Astronomy Features
Power
Technology Assessment Reports
Sungrazing Comets

 

Best of NASA Science
NASA Science Highlights
Technology Features
Propulsion
Lectures & Discussions

Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 29 May 2012