NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Distribution and Diversity of Organic and Biological Signatures in Soils From the Atacama DesertThe Atacama Desert is amongst the driest places on Earth. It is considered to be a suitable analog for the Martian surface in which to conduct studies of life and life detection. Soil samples were collected in June 2005 from the Atacama Desert and analyzed in the lab for amino acid content. HPLC was the primary tool used to analyze samples. The amino acids of interest are aspartic acid, serine, glutamic acid, glycine, and alanine. D and L isomers of each amino acid (except for glycine) were separated through HPLC. The purpose of this study is to find correlations between location of the sample collection sites and amino acid content as well as D/L isomer ratios in order to formulate theories of how different types of environments may affect the abundance and distribution of life forms. Initial analysis of data shows a general lack of or slight correlation between location and amino acid content. Some data appears to contradict the hypothesis that harsher environments would have lower amino acid content than less harsh environments. Further analysis of data is needed to come up with a more conclusive report of the distribution of amino acids in the Atacama Desert.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Sharma, Aditi
(Louisiana State Univ. LA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
August 1, 2005
Publication Information
Publication: Summer Student Research Presentations
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

There are no available downloads for this record.
No Preview Available