Achievements - STSMs

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Rotational spectral lines of several water and methanol clusters

Wolf Geppert
Stockholm University

  • A study of the rotational spectral lines of several water and methanol clusters to enable their future detection in the interstellar medium.
  • During the visit the rotational spectrum of acrylonitrile∙water was recorded using the Bologna microwave spectroscopy device.
  • Read more here ...

Replacement of glass in the Nakhla meteorite by berthierine: Implications for understanding the origins of aluminum-rich phyllosilicates on Mars

Elias Chatzitheodoridis
National Technical University of Athens

  • Analytical work on martian meteorites (specifically, Nakhla)
  • TEM microscopic work has shown that glassy phases in Nakhla alter to serpentine (Berthierine) minerals
  • A manuscript has been already published.
  • Read more here ...

Digital image processing in automated extraction of geological features

Eleftherios Profitis
National Technical University of Athens

  • Image processing was used to map specific minerals in sediemntary rocks from Africa
  • Read more here ...

Oligomerisation of RNAs on mineral surfaces

Elias Chatzitheodoridis
National Technical University of Athens

  • Experiments are performed on the synthesis of RNA oligomers on montmorillonite surfaces
  • Complicated chemical work still did not produce any reasults
  • Future experiments follow, refining the experimental method
  • Read more here ...

Emergence and evolution of self-regulation mechanisms in early biological evolution

Igor Balaz
University of Novi Sad (Serbia)

  • Emergence and evolution of self-regulation mechanisms in early biological evolution
  • Algorithms for evolution of regulatory mechanisms in autonomous agents
  • Optimal design of evolvable agent’s interfaces with the environment
  • Read more here ...

Planetary penetrator probes for the astrobiological exploration of Jupiter’s moon Europa

Kostas Konstandinidis
Bundeswehr University Munich (Germany)

  • Accuracy requirements for a planetary penetrator design
  • Modelling the trajectories of the penetrator
  • Read more here ...

Expedition to study ‘in-situ’ the biodiversity within selected Icelandic lava fields

Gayathri Murukesan
University of Turku (Finland)

  • Type and extent of life living in Mars-like environments
  • Factors that allow for colonization of volcanic rocks
  • Simulate and test future astrobiological analytical techniques for Mars
  • Read more here ...

Study aqueous alteration of CV3 chondrites and Martian meteorites

Ildiko Gyollai
Center of Astronomy and Geology in Budapest (Hungary)

  • Study of acqueous alteration of a CV3 chondrite
  • Study of acqueous alteration of four (4) nakhlites (Martian meteorites)
  • Read more here ...

Movile Protists (Movile Cave)

Alexandra Hillebrand-Voiculescu
Emil Racoviţă Institute of Speleology, Romanian Academy – Bucharest (Romania)

  • DNA was isolated from microbial biofilm, water and sediment samples collected from Movile Cave
  • 18S rRNA sequences were amplified by PCR
  • Read more here ...

Primary microbial succession on a fresh lava field

Anu Hynninen
University of Helsinki (Finland)

  • Two sampling trips to Nornahraun lava field that formed during fissure eruptions from August 2014 to February 2015
  • The rock samples are subjected to DNA extraction and sequencing
  • Read more here ...

Icelandic lava fields as Mars analogue environments - life detection techniques

Adam Stevens
University of Edinburgh (UK)

  • Field expedition to test life-detection instrumentation in a Mars-analogue field site
  • A number of life-detection techniques were used (ATP immunoassay and quantitative PCR, Raman spectroscopy, Vis-NIR spectrodcopy, UV-Vis immersion spectrometer, photographic quadcopter drone)
  • Read more here ...

Experimental study of the reaction of C3N anions with acetylene (C2H2) at various energies

Illia Zymak
J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry (ASCR, Prague, Czech Republic)

  • Experimental study of the reaction of C3N anions with acetylene (C2H2) at various energies
  • The absolute cross-section value of C2H- ions formation in the of range collision energy 0.1 – 20 eV was measured
  • Read more here ...

Understanding the activity-induced radial velocity jitter using space-based K2 photometry and HARPS RV observations

Mahmoudreza Oshagh
Institute for Astrophysics (Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany)

  • Understanding the activity-induced radial velocity jitter using space-based K2 photometry and HARPS RV observations
  • Reduction of the photometric observation of K2 (by using the pipeline)
  • Detailed analysis of simultaneous photometric modulation and RV variation establishing possible correlation
  • The correlation can be used to estimate the activity induced RV signal, and remove that signal from RV measurements, enabling the retrieval of the signal of low-mass exoplanets
  • Read more here ...

Identification of extremophilic microbial species isolated from Dallol samples (Ethiopia) using molecular methods and analysis of chemical data

Dr Anabel López-Archilla
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid (ES)

  • expedition to the Dallol hydrothermal area (Danakil depression, Afar region of Ethiopia)
  • advanced the characterization of the microbial diversity in the Dallol samples and the analysis of the physico-chemical (P-C) characteristics of the samples taken
  • statistical analysis using P-C data measured in situ showed that the sampling points which are related with hydrothermal activity have high redox potential (Eh), very low pH and high concentrations of transition metals
  • samples taken in areas remote from the Dallol dome contain relatively lower concentrations of those metals and higher concentrations of halogens as Cl and Br and alkaline earth metals as Mg, Ba and, especially, Ca
  • Read more here ...

Studying the ability to detect exoplanets by looking at our own Sun

Pedro Figueira
Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences, Portugal

  • Analyze the solar spectra obtained with HARPS through sunlight reflection on the Moon's surface
  • Calculation of radial velocities (RV) from the Moon spectra
  • The objective is to associate the measured RV to the activity patterns identified on the surface of the Sun
  • Currently working on developing the best model for the Moon orbital movement down to the RV precision of the acquired data (~50 cm/s)
  • Read more here ...


Experiments with DC gliding discharge fed by CH4-N2 and admixtures for simulation of prebiotic atmosphere

Vera Mazankova
Faculty of Chemistry, Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic

  • Performed experiments with DC gliding discharge fed by CH4-N2 and addition of water vapor
  • Diagnostic methods were used in the experiments: Corona Discharge Ion Mobility Spectrometry (CD IMS) and Fourier Transform Infra Red spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • The dependencies on of ammonia and hydrogen cyanide concentrations on discharge current for different gas mixtures have no significant changes with water addition.
  • Read more here ...





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:



Grant Holder Financial Representative:

Mrs Annick Caperan

Science Officer:
Dr. Mafalda QUINTAS

Administrative Officer:
Ms Ange Marie Ina Uwase



A Trans-Domain Action supported by COST.

COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020



Involved countries

View the Interactive Map
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.