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Dr. Peter Willis presents the Harrison-MacRae Lecture

Friday, March 15, 2019
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Chernoff Hall
Room: 117
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Dr. Peter A. Willis

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

California Institute of Technology

Title: The Search for Chemical Signatures of Life Beyond Earth

Abstract: An intrinsic component of NASA’s exploration of the Cosmos is the search for life on the molecular scale, inside our own solar system. This chemical search for biosignatures requires a new generation of spaceflight instrumentation capable of characterizing organic compounds present at levels as low as parts-per-billion. In this talk I will highlight key findings from past and present planetary missions of exploration that have critically informed how this search is performed at different planetary destinations. And finally I will describe ongoing efforts at JPL to develop liquid-based chemical analyzers for use on potential future life-detection missions to ocean worlds in the outer solar system.

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