Publications

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29 Apr
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New Paper: Formation of nucleobases in a Miller–Urey reducing atmosphere

Ferus et al., 2017, PNAS vol. 114, no. 17.

The Miller–Urey experiments pioneered modern research on the molecular origins of life, but their actual relevance in this field was later questioned because the gas mixture used in their research is considered too reducing with respect to the most accepted hypotheses for the conditions on primordial Earth. Here, we report an experimental work, combined with state-of-the-art computational methods, in which both electric discharge and laser-driven plasma impact simulations were carried out in a reducing atmosphere containing NH3 + CO.

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13 Nov
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Emergent Chemical Behavior in Variable-Volume Protocells

Artificial protocellular compartments and lipid vesicles have been used as model systems to understand the origins and requirements for early cells, as well as to design encapsulated reactors for biotechnology. One prominent feature of vesicles is the semi-permeable nature of their membranes, able to support passive diffusion of individual solute species into/out of the compartment, in addition to an osmotic water flow in the opposite direction to the net solute concentration gradient. Crucially, this water flow affects the internal aqueous volume of the vesicle in response to osmotic imbalances, i

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13 Nov
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Constraining planet structure from stellar chemistry: the cases of CoRoT-7, Kepler-10, and Kepler-93

We explore the possibility that the stellar relative abundances of different species can be used to constrain the bulk abundances of known transiting rocky planets. We use high resolution spectra to derive stellar parameters and chemical abundances for Fe, Si, Mg, O, and C in three stars hosting low mass, rocky planets: CoRoT-7, Kepler-10, and Kepler-93. These planets follow the same line along the mass-radius diagram, pointing toward a similar composition. The derived abundance ratios are compared with the solar values.

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13 Nov
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Ultrastructural Heterogeneity of Carbonaceous Material in Ancient Cherts: Investigating Biosignature Origin and Preservation

Opaline silica deposits on Mars may be good target sites where organic biosignatures could be preserved. Potential analogues on Earth are provided by ancient cherts containing carbonaceous material (CM) permineralized by silica. In this study, we investigated the ultrastructure and chemical characteristics of CM in the Rhynie chert (c. 410 Ma, UK), Bitter Springs Formation (c. 820 Ma, Australia), and Wumishan Formation (c. 1485 Ma, China). Raman spectroscopy indicates that the CM has experienced advanced diagenesis or low-grade metamorphism at peak metamorphic temperatures of 150–350°C. Raman mapping and micro-Fourier transform infrared (micro-FTIR) spectroscopy were used to document subcellular-scale variation in the CM of fossilized plants, fungi, prokaryotes, and carbonaceous stromatolites.

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13 Nov
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Stability and its manifestation in the chemical and biological worlds

Bridging between the phenomenologically distinct biological and physical worlds has been a major scientific challenge since Boltzmann's probabilistic formulation of the second law of thermodynamics. In this review we summarize our recent theoretical attempts to bridge that divide through analysis of the thermodynamic-kinetic interplay in chemical processes and the manner in which that interplay impacts on material stability. Key findings are that the term ‘stability’ manifests two facets – time and energy – and that stability's time facet, expressed as persistence, is more general than its energy facet.

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13 Nov
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Astrobiology from early-career scientists' perspective

What is astrobiology? Which fields does it comprise and what makes an astrobiologist? Ask five scientists and you may end up with six different definitions. This issue was raised at the first symposium of the European network of Astrobiology Graduates (AbGradE), held last year in Edinburgh, when discussing whether the attendees' fields of study were represented in the astrobiology community.

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13 Nov
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Case study of chondrule alteration with IR spectroscopy in NWA 2086 CV3 meteorite

Case study of chondrule alteration with IR spectroscopy in NWA 2086 CV3 meteorite

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13 Nov
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Alteration processes in the CV chondrite parent body based on analysis of NWA 2086 meteorite

Analysis of the NWA 2086 CV3 chondrite showed a matrix/chondrule ratio of 52%, similar to Bali, Mokoia, and Grosanaja. Nearly twice as many chondrule fragments as intact ones demonstrate that an early fragmentation phase occurred prior to final accretion. After this event, no substantial mechanical change or redeposition is evident. Rims with double-layered structures were identified around some chondrules, which, in at least one case, is attributed to an accretionary origin. The rim's outer parts with a diffuse appearance were formed by in situ

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13 Nov
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Searching for springtime zonal liquid interfacial water on Mars

We analyzed the spatial and temporal characteristics of the surface temperature at the northern water ice annulus on Mars that is left behind the receding seasonal carbon dioxide cap in springtime. Using OMEGA hyperspectral images we show that water ice without carbon dioxide ice coverage lasts for 10–30 days between 55° and 70°N. The longest water ice coverage without CO2 ice is observed between 40–55°N and 300–330°E and lasts 80–110 days in ideal case. Using TES temperature data, we show that thin interfacial liquid water may be present at the water ice annulus.

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13 Nov
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Near-ultraviolet bluing after space weathering of silicates and meteorites

Asteroid surface space weathering has been investigated both observationally and experimentally, mostly focusing on the effects on the visible–near infrared (VNIR, 0.4–2.5 μm) spectral range. Here we present laboratory near-ultraviolet (NUV, 200–400 nm) reflectance spectra of ion irradiated (30–400 keV) silicates and meteorites as a simulation of solar wind ion irradiation. These results show that the induced alteration can reproduce the spread observed in the VNIR vs. NUV slope diagram for S-type asteroids. In particular, the well-known spectral reddening effect induced in the VNIR range is accompanied by

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CSO Approval date: 14/11/2013
Starting date: 15/05/2014
Ending date: 14/05/2018

Action Chair:
Dr. Muriel GARGAUD (FR)

Vice chair:
Prof. Wolf GEPPERT (SE)

STSM Manager:
Prof. Nigel MASON (UK)

Web Manager:
Prof. Elias CHATZITHEODORIDIS (GR)

Secretary:
Dr. Zuzana KANUCHOVA

 

Grant Holder Financial Representative:

Mrs Annick Caperan

Science Officer:
Dr. Mafalda QUINTAS

Administrative Officer:
Ms Aranzazu SANCHEZ

 

ORIGINS TD1308

A Trans-Domain Action supported by COST.

COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020

 

 

Involved countries

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of Member Countries

Participating Countries
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

COST International Partner Countries
Canada (UQAM), South Africa (Univ. of Johanesburgh), Russian Federation (Institute of Geology, Petrozavodsk), Australia (University of Sydney), United States of America (University of Hawai)

Specific Organisations
European Space Agency (ESA)

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs)

Aiming at fostering collaboration, sharing new techniques, and infrastructure that may not be available in other participants' institutions or laboratories. STSMs are intended especially for young PhD researchers, but they are open to senior researchers as well. View the documents at this link.

 It should be explicitely noted that Master students are not eligible for STSMs which are for PhD students and more experienced researchers.

The life-Origins COST Project


Life-ORIGINS (TD1308) is a Trans Domain European COST Action dedicated to the scientific investigation of the origins and evolution of life on Earth and habitability of other planets.

The Action has specifically excluded the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life in its portfolio. Creationist theorems are also outside the Action’s remit.

Individuals are not allowed to use the name of the Action, its logo or any corporate identity of COST TD1308 in any communication without prior approval of the Management Committee.

All publications referencing the support of the Action should be sent to the appropriate Working Group chair at the time of submission.