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OU PhD student simulates early Martian environment in the lab

Shutterstock-559007341 Microbes

An OU Astrobiology PhD student, will describe how he is simulating the conditions of early Mars in the lab at an OU event on Thursday 22 February 2018.

Alex Price, in the third year of his PhD, is working with the OU’s Astrobiology research group and has taken data from various Mars missions to reconstruct aspects of the early Mars environment, when it was warmer and wetter, so that he can assess the ability of certain microbes to have thrived there.

He will present some early findings and realisations at PubHD, an event where PhD students explain their research in a pub. In this case, it will be at The Cellar Bar at The Open University from 6:00 - 8.30 pm.

Alex will describe how he is introducing Earth microbes to this environment to test whether they can grow and divide or if they will perish under those conditions.

He said: “In order to really explore this, we are now making the simulated early martian conditions in our lab much more accurate so that it reflects the environment as it was then.”

He will also address whether life on early Mars may have left traces in the rock record which can be explored by future missions to Mars.

“What we don’t know is if there was a separate origin of life on Mars, whether life could ever have originated there or indeed have been transferred there,” Alex added. “If life did gain a foothold, what traces might it have left for us to find today?”

Hear what Alex has to say about this research in the video:

Read about PubHD

Read more about Alex Price’s research

Read about OU Space Science research

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