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Maria Zuber/Massachusetts Institute Of Technology “A Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes (SETG): An In-situ Detector for Life on Mars Ancestrally Related to Life on Earth”
The Search for Extraterrestrial Genomes (SETG) Project will test the hypothesis that life on Mars, if it exists, shares a common ancestor with life on Earth. There is increasing evidence that viable microbes could have been transferred between the two planets, based in part on calculations of meteorite trajectories and magnetization studies supporting only mild heating of meteorite cores. In addition, microbial life has been discovered in Earth environments exposed to high levels of radiation and extremes of temperature, demonstrating the incredible adaptability of microbes. Based on the shared-ancestry hypothesis, we propose to look for DNA and RNA through in-situ analysis of Martian soil (or ice) samples.