Space Science & Astrobiology Division

The Space Science and Astrobiology Division at NASA Ames Research Center conducts research and mission-related activities that are structured around the study of the origins and evolution of stars, the interstellar medium, planetary systems, and life on Earth and (perhaps) elsewhere. These address some of the most fundamental questions pursued by science, involving our place in the universe; questions that have been asked by humans since the dawn of time.

Code SS Highlights

Eureka, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada
Eureka

Work on Ellesmere Island has focused on astrobiology technology development of a low power, lightweight deep drill at a site of astrobiology interest. Scientific investigation focuses on micro-organisms within sandstone outcrops and the exploration of deep permafrost to understand the limits of life in cold environments. […]

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Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada
Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada

Axel Heiberg Island is home to a unique perennial saline spring system with liquid water flows existing year-round, even as air temperatures drop below freezing. Scientists are studying these springs as an analog for Mars where liquid water could possible also exist despite cold air and ground temperatures. Researchers are also studying the unique microbiology […]

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Atacama Desert, Chile
Atacama Desert, Chile

The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth and an excellent location to study life in such an extreme environment. Astrobiology research in the Atacama may provide the best terrestrial analog for studies of martian soils. Ames scientists have been studying many aspects of the Atacama including microbial distributions, salt concentrations, geomorphology, […]

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Dry Valleys, Antarctica
Dry Valleys, Antarctica

The Dry Valleys of Antarctica are some of the most Mars-like places on our planet due to the extremely cold and dry conditions. Ames scientists visit the Dry Valleys to conduct scientific investigations of the nature and distribution of snow and ice as well as the habitability of these extreme valleys where life thrives even […]

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Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition
David Bish

David Blake and Tori Hoehler, of ARC’s Exobiology Branch, are participating in the Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) 2006 using it as a Mars test-bed for CheMin (A Miniaturized Simultaneous X-ray Diffraction/X-ray Fluorescence Instrument) which will fly on MSL 2009, along with a suite of other instruments. Blake and Hoehler are operating CheMin (for […]

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Volcanic Lakes at Licancabur
Nathalie Cabrol in the Andes

Nathalie Cabrol and her team go to the Andes mountains to dive in the volcanic lakes at Licancabur at 20,000 feet (See http://www.eventscope.org/highlakes/field/journal/ for more information and images.) […]

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