BWIS Lecture: "The Planet Within: Caves from Earth to Mars and Beyond"
Professor Penelope Boston, New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology, studies the spectacular underground landscapes of Earth—caves—using them as models for the subsurfaces of other planets. Some of the most magnificent and chemically extreme caves on Earth are inhabited by an amazing array of microorganisms. She studies these unique lifeforms and the biosignatures that they leave behind. Such traces can be used to provide a "Field Guide to Unknown Organisms" for developing life detection space missions can also provide the basis for future human habitations on other planets.