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Astrobiology of CometsWe review the current state of knowledge concerning microbial extremophiles and comets and the potential significance of comets to Astrobiology. We model the thermal history of a cometary body, regarded as an assemblage of boulders, dust, ices and organics, as it approaches a perihelion distance of - IAU. The transfer of incident energy from sunlight into the interior leads to the melting of near surface ices, some under stable porous crust, providing possible habitats for a wide range of microorganisms. We provide data concerning new evidence for indigenous microfossils in CI meteorites, which may be the remains of extinct cometary cores. We discuss the dominant microbial communities of polar sea-ice, Antarctic ice sheet, and cryoconite environments as possible analogs for microbial ecosystems that may grow in sub-crustal pools or in ice/water films in comets.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Hoover, Richard B. (National Space Science and Technology Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Wickramasinghe, Nalin C. (Cardiff Univ. United Kingdom)
Wallis, Max K. (Cardiff Univ. United Kingdom)
Sheldon, Robert B. (National Space Science and Technology Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Instruments, Methods and Missions for Astrobiology VIII
Volume: 5555
ISSN: 0277-786X
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
SPIE Paper 5555-11
Meeting Information
Annual Meeting of the SPIE International Symposium on Optical Science and Technology(Denver, CO)
Distribution Limits