First European Workshop on Exo/Astrobiology

(Masatoshi Yamauchi, )

First European Workshop on Exo/Astrobiology was held in ESRIN/Italy from 21-23 May, 2001 This is the first of an intended series of workshops aimed at bringing together European scientists to review the status of the field and develop future plans and perspectives. The scientific program is as follows;
Key-note lecture

Perez-Mercader, J. (CSIC-INTA, ES)
Scaling Phenomena and the Emergency
of Complexity in Astrobiology
* Power law (dynamic system) <-> Gaussian (static system)
Therefore, life system must obey poler law
*comment: But break down of power law is important.
Plenary Session 1: National and International Activities in Exo/Astrobiology
Raulin, F. (LISA, FR) The French GDR Exobio
* Explanation of GDR Exobio (established 1997) in France, which studies
(1) Understanding terrestrial "life",
(2) origin of terrestrial life,
(3) exobiology in the solar system and interstellar medium,
(4) life in the universe

Penny A. (RAL, UK) The UK Astrobiology Forum
* Role of UFAF (UK astrobiology forum)
Blumberg B. (NASA, USA) The US Astrobiology Institute
* NAI (NASA astrobiology institute)
1996 pre-start / 1999 official start
Science program budget increase $20 M -> $100 M
Clancy, P. (ESA/ESTEC, NL) ESA Life Sciences, Exobiology and Exploration
* Role of ESA in life science
e.g., re-entry experiment (Can organics on meteorite survive?)
e.g., planetary mission (remote sencing -> in-situ analyses -> sample teturn)
as the preparation for human mission

Plenary Session 2: Life in the Extremes, Terrestrial Analogues for Extraterrestrial Habitats

Stan-Lotter, H. (U.Salzburg, AT) Viable Halobacteria from Permo-Triassic Salt Deposits and the Possibility Of Extraterrestrial Microbial Life
* Salt
Organics in ancient sea salt.

Gilichinsky, D. (Russian Academy of Sciences) The Current Study of the Earth Cryosphere as a Model Of Extraterrestrial Microbial Habitat
* Permafrost:
How long can organic material survive?
Cell structure can be identified after 30,000 year.

Prieur, D. (U. de Bretagne Occidentale, FR) Metabolic Diversity and Physiological Adaptions of Deep-sea Hydrothermal Vent Prokaryotes: Lessons for Astrobiology
* Deep sea = high P + (high T: > 60C, ex-high T: > 80C)
Do Thermophiles prefer high T or hgih grad-T?
Optimum P/T is even higher.
Some can survive from gamma ray (e.g., 30 kGy)

Plenary Session 3: The Ingredients of Life and Chemistry of Primitive Life
Ehrenfreund, P. (Leiden Obs., NL) From Astrochemistry to Astrobiology: Research at the Sackler Laboratory for Astrophysics, Leiden, NL
* In IS cloud, up to HC11N is identified.
* Reaction chain from CH4 (some idetified, some predicted)
* Two types of chondrite (CM type - asteroid, CI type - comet)
* Examine which form can survive the best (dmino is unstable for UV)

Krueger, F. (IBK Darmstadt, DE) Chemical Thermodynamics of Systemic
Self-Organization Towards Live by Nano-structured Cosmic Dust Particles
* Chemical reaction (non-linear) equation using Gibbs function.
* Problem is how to include the boundary condition.
* Need 3-body reaction (or bi-catalytic surface interaction)

Brack, A. (Centre de Biophysique Moleculaire, FR) Life in the Solar System: Prebiotic Chemistry, Chirality, Life on Mars
* C, H, O, N, S + H2O -> robot/catalyst -> RNA world
* Need "liquid water"
* BIOPAN experiment (leave amino in space and recover)
* Chirality found in chondrite

Colangeli, L. (Oss. Astro. Capodimonte, IT) Simulation of Cosmic Materials in Laboratory
* UV as the best energy source for prebiotic chemical reaction
(C+H <--> CH quilibrium)
* Even silicon crystal is found in space (but mechanism unknown).

Plenary Session 4: Extraterrestrial/Extrasolar Habitability

Udry, S. (Geneva Obs. CH) Extra-Solar Planets: Discoveries and Constraints on Planet-Formation Scenarios

* Examine the stars (isotope ratio, metal ratio etc) with/without planet

* 67 planets have been found (both circular/ecliptic)
* "hot" Jupitor (0.09 AU) / Jupitor with ice core (> 5AU)
* high Fe/H but same L/H ratio for stars with planet.

Franck, S. (Potsdam Inst. Climate Impact Res., DE) Planetary
Habitability: Estimating the Number of Gaias in the Milky Way
* Drake equation estimate

Selsis, F. (Obs. Bordeaux, FR) Atmospheric Modelling and Spectroscopic
Signatures of Life on Terrestrial Extra-Solar Planets
* 1-D photolys model with star type / planet position parameters
Simulation of O3 foramtion (as the indicator of O2-rich atomosphere)
Habitant possibility is included (greehouse effect / escape)
* only G, H type star may allow O3 formation.

Plenary Session 5: The Nature of and Search for Life in the Solar System and Beyond
Westall, F. (Lunar and Planetary Inst., USA) The Oldest Fossil Life on Earth, its Geolocical Context and Life on Mars
* Identification of "life" of > 3.7 B yeas ago (fossil of abcteria).
So far only by morphology

Hofmann, B.A. (Natural History Museum Bern, CH) Morphological Biomarkers
Derived from Filamentous Microbes: Application in the Search for Life on Mars
* Minelarization of fossil -> make it difficult to identify
* Morphology of fossil -> sigma/M is smaller for fossil.

Toporski, Jan (U. Portsmouth, UK) Life Detection in Astrobiological Research
* How to identify "life" in Mars and others?
-> Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry metho images for Si, e-, etc., and compare them.
* bacterious contamination is very fasty and very deep into meteorite

Meierhenrich, U. (Centre de Biophysique Moleculaire, FR) Analysis of Enantioenrichments in Cometary Matter by ROSETTA/RoLand
* Chirality instrument on board Rosetta.
* high-T and high humidity -> racemi

Plenary Session 6: Search for Life in the Solar System (Missions)
Horneck, G. (DLR, Inst. Aerospace Medicine, DE) Studies on Microorganisms in Space, a Contribution to the Discussion on Panspermia, Search For Life
on Mars and Interaction of Life with its Environment, in General.
* Can bacteria transport from Mars to Earth?
(1) Vacuum = ok, (2) cosmic ray = small, (3) UV = problem!
* If UV is well protected, bacteria can survive 6 years.

Debus, A. (CNES, FR) Planetary Protection Aspects for In-situ and Sample Return Exobiological Experimentations
* Policy (UN->COSPAR->society) for not contaminating the planet.

Foing, B. (ESTEC, ESA, NL) Space activities in Exo-Astrobiology
* ESA missions related to exobiology.

Splinter Session 1: Chemistry of the Origins of Life and Extraterrestrial Organic Chemistry

Llorca, Jordi (Inst. d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, ES) Build Up Of Organic Molecules From Simple Precursors Under Nebular Conditions Through Gas-Grain Reactions
* How can chondrite (meteorite with C) be formed?
Simulation of metal-gas reaction during solar nebula condition (473 K). C-rich and S-rich envuronment is possible.

Strazzulla, G. (Obs. Astro. di Catania, IT) Researches of Exo/Astrobiological interest at the Laboratory of Experimental Astrophysics in Catania (Italy)
* Fast ions colliding with solid

Dulieu, F. (Obs. de Paris-Meudon, FR) VUV Response of Prebiotic and Biotic Molecules
* Photochemical reaction experiment Source = syncrotron radiation (6-25 eV VUV light) Look at UV characteristics of HCOOH etc. for future detection.
Ruiterkamp, R. (Leiden Obs., NL) Large Organic Molecules in Space and Their Implications for the Origin of Life
* ISO observations of heavy organic molecules (# of C = 50).
* Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) is the most common in intersteller.

Guillemin, J-C. (LSAB. CNRS, FR) Photolysis in Gaseous Phase.
Simulations of Planetary Atmospheres.
* UV experiment with model atmosphere (Jupitor type) Different gas ratio (including PH3 and NH3) --> different chain reaction
Kaiser, R. (U. York, UK) The Role of Cyano (CN) and Ethynyl (C2H) Radicals in Astrobiology and Implications to the Origin of Life on Earth
* -C=N vs. -C=C-H --> reaction with C2H2, C2H4, CH3CCH, C6H6 These reaction (making N-compund) proceed in cold (like Titan)

Lammer, H. (Austrian Academy of Sciences, AT) Titan Lightning: an Energy Source for Biochemistry
* Lightning in Titan

Casavecchia, P. (U. of Perugia, IT) Experimental Studies on the Formation of CN Containing Organic Molecules in the Atmosphere of Titan and Implications for Prebiotic Earth
* Formation of -C=N radical. beam + C,N,OH,C --> examine the angular distribution

Yamauchi, M. (IRF, SE) The Origin of Chirality in Biomolecules; are Electromagnetic Forces Important

Wahlund, J-E. (IRF, SE) Toward an Investigation on the Origin of Chirality of Biomolecules

Meierhenrich, U. (Centre de Biophysique Moleculaire, FR)
Photochemical Origin of Biomolecular Asymmetry
* simulation of Chilarity developement

Bingham, R. (RAL, UK) Coherent Cyclotron Radiation and Enantiometric Excess
* AKR mechansim (= maser) during solar nebula --> polarized radiation.

Bianciardi, G. (Inst. Anatomia e Istologia Patologica, IT) Origin(s)
of Life in the Primitive Earth and Chaos Science. Probability of Spontaneous Merging of a Biosphere
* Fractal dimension of DNA code --> ewven early DNA/RNA is dimension-free

Garcia-Ruiz, J-M. (CSIC, U. of Granada, ES) Morphological Behaviour of Inorganic Precipitation Systems
* Symetricity of "life" and "crystal" -> how to "judge" the geochemical marker.

Franchi, M. (U. Florence, IT) A Possible Model of a Prebiotic Self-Replicating Sustem on Mineral Surfaces
* Fate of DNA in soil -> Clay system (1) protector (from UV), (2) catalyst, (3) abosorber

Rothen, F. (U. Lausanne, CH) Complementary Symmetry of DNA Sequences and the Possible Form of an Early Genetic Code
* Chance of mis-reading DNA code when devided 3 + 3 + 3+ 3 + ....

Roten, C.-A.H. (Inst. Genetique et de Biologie Microbiennes, CH)
Genometrics: Unique Origins of DNA Replication in all Sequenced Archaebacterial Chromosomes Suggest that the last Universal Common Ancestor had a Similar Genomic Structure
* Seek "core" DNA code using nucleotide skew method
* Examine "Archaebacterial chromosomes" and they have common ancestor.

Cruzeiro-Hansson, L. (U. Algarve, PT) How do proteins work
* protain energy has multi-minimum for at different shape (form). lifetime of and condition for each form?

(please see Web site for the followings)

Splinter Session 2: How can we search for Life in the Solar System?

Splinter Session 3: How does Life adapt to the Extremes

Splinter Session 4: Are we alone in the Universe?


Return to English contents

Return to English top page