Edinburgh Research Explorer

Subglacial Environments and the Search for Life Beyond the Earth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Charles S. Cockell
  • Elizabeth Bagshaw
  • Matt Balme
  • Peter Doran
  • Christopher P. McKay
  • Katarina Miljkovic
  • David Pearce
  • Martin J. Siegert
  • Martyn Tranter
  • Mary Voytek
  • Jemma Wadham
  • MC Kennicutt
  • RA Bindschadler

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationANTARTIC SUBGLACIAL AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTS
EditorsMJ Siegert
PublisherAMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
Pages129-148
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-0-87590-482-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameGeophysical Monograph Series
PublisherAMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
Volume192
ISSN (Print)0065-8448

Abstract

One of the most remarkable discoveries resulting from the robotic and remote sensing exploration of space is the inferred presence of bodies of liquid water under ice deposits on other planetary bodies: extraterrestrial subglacial environments. Most prominent among these are the ice-covered ocean of the Jovian moon, Europa, and the Saturnian moon, Enceladus. On Mars, although there is no current evidence for subglacial liquid water today, conditions may have been more favorable for liquid water during periods of higher obliquity. Data on these extraterrestrial environments show that while they share similarities with some subglacial environments on the Earth, they are very different in their combined physicochemical conditions. Extraterrestrial environments may provide three new types of subglacial settings for study: (1) uninhabitable environments that are more extreme and life-limiting than terrestrial subglacial environments, (2) environments that are habitable but are uninhabited, which can be compared to similar biotically influenced subglacial environments on the Earth, and (3) environments with examples of life, which will provide new opportunities to investigate the interactions between a biota and glacial environments.

    Research areas

  • HAUT-GLACIER-DAROLLA, GREENLAND ICE-SHEET, HIGH ARCTIC GLACIER, SURFACE GROUND ICE, LAKE VOSTOK, CERBERUS FOSSAE, NEAR-SURFACE, EARLY MARS, CHEMICAL-COMPOSITION, MICROBIAL COMMUNITY

ID: 25223151