The geology and habitability of terrestrial planets: fundamental requirements for life

Southam, G., Rothschild, L. J. and Westall, F. (2007). The geology and habitability of terrestrial planets: fundamental requirements for life. In: Kathryn E. Fishbaugh, Philippe Lognonné, François Raulin and David J. Des Marais, Geology and Habitability of Terrestrial Planets. Workshop on Geology and Habitability of Terrestrial Planets, Bern, Switzerland, (7-34). 05-09 September 2005. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-74288-5_2


Author Southam, G.
Rothschild, L. J.
Westall, F.
Title of paper The geology and habitability of terrestrial planets: fundamental requirements for life
Conference name Workshop on Geology and Habitability of Terrestrial Planets
Conference location Bern, Switzerland
Conference dates 05-09 September 2005
Proceedings title Geology and Habitability of Terrestrial Planets
Series Space Sciences Series of ISSI
Place of Publication New York, USA
Publisher Springer
Publication Year 2007
Year available 2007
Sub-type Fully published paper
DOI 10.1007/978-0-387-74288-5_2
ISBN 9780387742878
9780387742885
ISSN 1385-7525
Editor Kathryn E. Fishbaugh
Philippe Lognonné
François Raulin
David J. Des Marais
Volume 24
Start page 7
End page 34
Total pages 28
Chapter number 2
Total chapters 11
Collection year 2008
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
The current approach to the study of the origin of life and to the search for life elsewhere is based on two assumptions. First, life is a purely physical phenomenon closely linked to specific environmental conditions. From this, we hypothesise that when these environmental conditions are met, life will arise and evolve. If these assumptions are valid, the search for life elsewhere should be a matter of mapping what we know about the range of environments in which life can exist, and then simply trying to find these environments elsewhere. Second, life can be clearly distinguished from the non-living world. While a single feature of a living organism left in the rock record is not always sufficient to determine unequivocally whether life was present, life often leaves multiple structural, mineralogical and chemical biomarkers that, in sum, support a conclusion that life was present. Our understanding of the habitats that can sustain or have sustained life has grown tremendously with the characterisation of extremophiles. In this chapter, we highlight the range of environments that are known to harbour life on Earth, describe the environments that existed during the period of time when life originated on Earth, and compare these habitats to the suitable environments that are found elsewhere in our solar system, where life could have arisen and evolved.
Keyword Origin of life
Extremophiles
Earth
Life requirements
Barberton greenstone belt
Sulfate reducing bacteria
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Earth Sciences Publications
 
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