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Determining D/L Ratios of Amino Acids Found in Ice Above Lake Vostok Using ESI/CIT Mass SpectroscopyAstrobiology is an area where longevity of (micro) organisms is of great interest. Cryospheres are common phenomena in the solar system, particularly on satellites, comets and asteroids, as well as at least some of the planets. Recent data from the Mars Global Surveyor mission suggest the possibility of permafrost or perhaps even liquid water under the Martian surface [2]. These environments may be the areas in which the probability of finding life is the highest. This issue is of concern due to the probable evolution of planetary environments such as that of Mars from more hospitable to less hospitable conditions over the history of the solar system. In addition, evaluation of the possible transfer of living organisms between planets via impact ejecta [3] is dependent on knowledge of the maximum time periods over which microorganisms can remain dormant and subsequently revive and reproduce.Amino acid racemization dating, or aminostratigraphy, has been used for many years to date biological systems, and has been examined as a possible biosignature detection technique for Mars. We have suggested using amino acid racemization as one of the most indicative biosignatures [4]. Only life systems produce preferential synthesis of L-amino acids versus D-amino acids. Almost all amino acids in terrestrial organisms can be found only in the L-enantiomeric form.We studied the level of amino acid racemization, specifically of aspartic acid, in permafrost samples from eastern Siberia. Also we analyzed samples of ice from borehole drilled to lake Vostok, Antarctica.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Conference Paper
Tsapin, A.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Kanik, I.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Beegle, L. W.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Wu, L.
(Purdue Univ. West Lafayette, IN, United States)
Cooks, R. G.
(Purdue Univ. West Lafayette, IN, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIV
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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