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Habitable Environments and Biosignatures (HEB)


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Developing a science of biosignature detectability

 “An Astrobiology Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe” (NAS 2018):

Detectability:  NASA should support expanding biosignature research to address gaps in understanding biosignature preservation and the breadth of possible false positives and false negative signatures.

The purpose of the HEB effort is to develop an intellectual framework in which existing spacecraft observations, informed by an understanding of Terrestrial biology in its environmental context, can aid in prioritizing science, technology development, and mission implementation for the life detection endeavor:

  1. Tailoring to (prioritizing among) diverse targets for life detection
  2. Target instrument capabilities
  3. Payload options (for life detection and context)
  4. Instrument development and basic research
  5.  Precursor spacecraft observations

HEB Team

7 CS, 2 Contractors, 5 Students, 3 NPP Fellows: leveraging historical Ames strengths in biology, habitability, and biomarker dynamics. 

CS: Thomas Bristow, Alfonso Davila, David Des Marais, Tori Hoehler, Linda Jahnke, Owen Lehmer, Niki Parenteau

Contractors:  Sanjoy Som, Mike Kubo

NPP Fellows:  Jared Broddrick, Noah Randolph-Flagg, Paul Wilburn  

Students:  Shannon Chan, Elias Holte, Carina Lee, Alicia Marley, Rebecca Salcedo

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