Indiana University Research & Creative Activity


Volume XXVII Number 1
Fall 2004

<< Table of Contents

IU's Favorite Martians

David Bish, who presented his work on X-ray diffractometers to members of the European Space Agency in summer 2004, isn't the only Martian scientist at Indiana University. Several IU Bloomington faculty and staff members are doing Mars-related work.

  • In 2003, NASA made Bloomington the center of the Indiana-Princeton-Tennessee Astrobiology Institute (IPTAI), directed by IUB Geological Sciences Professor Lisa Pratt (see story, Page 11). Other IUB members of IPTAI are geologist Edward Ripley, artist Ruth Droppo, and University Information Technology Services staff members Douglas Pearson and Michael Jasiak.
  • Distinguished Professor of chemistry Gary Hieftje is helping Pratt develop a life-sensing probe that the scientists plan to test-deploy in the Arctic in 2005. Some version of the probe could be used in a future Mars mission, perhaps dropped into one of Mars's icy poles from an orbiting satellite.
  • Carl Bauer, the Clyde Culbertson Professor of biology, is collaborating with Pratt on "life in extreme environments" research in Oregon. Bauer was also a member of Arizona State University's astrobiology institute from 1997 to 2002.
  • In 2003, Associate Professor of Geological Sciences Juergen Schieber co-authored a paper in the journal Geology that suggested the meteorite ALH84001, which crashed in Antarctica but is presumed to have originated on Mars, probably does not contain a fossil of Martian life, as some scientists and life-on-Mars enthusiasts had hoped.
  • Abhijit Basu, chair of the IUB geological sciences department, is a petrologist and sedimentologist who has studied both the moon and Mars. Basu is particularly interested in the geological processes that are likely to have pushed silt, dirt, and mud around the Martian surface.
  • --D.B.

Related Articles:

The Red Stuff