AbSciCon 2019 Session: Salty Goodness: Understanding Life, Biosignature Preservation, and Brines In The Solar System

Status Report From: AbSciCon 2019
Posted: Sunday, January 6, 2019

Submission Deadline: 23 January 2019 23:59 EST

Pure liquid water is only stable in a small fraction of the Solar System; however, salty aqueous solutions (i.e., brines) are more broadly stable. These brine systems however, prove to be some of the most challenging environments for microorganisms, where biology must overcome extreme osmotic stresses, low water activities, chemical toxicity, and depending on the location of the environment, temperature extremes, UV radiation, and intense pressure.

This session is intended to encourage multidisciplinary and cross planetary discussions focused on the phase space of habitability within brines. We seek to discuss 1) the potential and stability of brines on host worlds through both laboratory and modeling experiments, 2) microbial ecology and adaptations to brines, 3) the effects of water activity and chaotropicity on habitability, 4) the ability of hypersaline systems to preserve biomolecules and 5) techniques and technology needed to detect biosignatures in these unique systems.

Conveners: A. Pontefract, E. Rivera-Valentin, B. Schmidt, J. Bowman, V. Chevrier, J. Hanley, L. Quick, K. Lynch

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