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Biosignatures and their applicability to astrobiology and primitive life
Convener: F. Foucher  | Co-Convener: F. Westall 
Oral Programme
 / Fri, 27 Apr, 15:30–17:00  / Room 24
Poster Programme
 / Attendance Fri, 27 Apr, 13:30–15:00  / Poster Area BG

Studies related to early life are relatively difficult due to the subtlety of the associated remains in ancient rocks. Observation and analysis demonstrating their biogenicity requires the use of increasingly powerful devices and techniques, in particular compositional imaging techniques (e.g. confocal Raman imaging, ToF-SIMS, MALDI-ToF-imaging, NanoSIMS, AFM, µ-XANES, NEXAFS, HIXE, CLSM, cathodoluminescence…). Furthermore, in astrobiological research, the detection of biosignatures on extraterrestrial bodies in the solar system (Mars, Titan, Europe…) is hampered by the limited instrumentation of space missions. Definitive direct observation of microbial organisms or their remains in the extraterrestrial materials using in situ instrumentation is therefore relatively unlikely in the immediate future. Therefore, future mission plans call for the return of samples from Mars (or a near Earth object) so that samples can be analysed in specialist laboratories.
The discovery and characterization of new biosignatures as well as technical improvements for their detection is therefore crucial for the research related to the origin of life on Earth and to extraterrestrial life.
This session welcomes contributions to:

(1) Recent methodological developments for the analysis of ancient traces of life.
(2) The detection of biosignatures using in situ techniques.
(3) Small scale characterization of biosignatures in ancient rocks and in analogues of early microbial life.

Solicited people: Didier Gourier,