Abstract submissions are open for AbSciCon 2019! You can check out the full selection of sessions here, however, I'd like to draw your attention toward the session Salty Goodness: Understanding life, biosignature preservation, and .... This session targets planetary scientists and microbiologists (and everyone in between), and we welcome submissions on any aspect of brines and habitability. Full text follows:
Pure liquid water is only stable in a small fraction of the Solar System; however, salty aqueous solutions (i.e., brines) are more broadly stable. These brine systems however, prove to be some of the most challenging environments for microorganisms, where biology must overcome extreme osmotic stresses, low water activities, chemical toxicity, and depending on the location of the environment, temperature extremes, UV radiation, and intense pressure. Despite these stressors, hypersaline environments on Earth host an astounding diversity of micro- and macroorganisms. With worlds like Mars, Ceres, and outer Solar System Ocean worlds showing the potential for present-day brines, and with upcoming missions to Europa, it is timely to elucidate the potential for such aqueous systems to sustain and support life as well as the stability of these systems on host worlds.
This session is intended to encourage multidisciplinary and cross planetary discussions focused on the phase space of habitability within brines. We seek to discuss 1) the potential and stability of brines on host worlds through both laboratory and modeling experiments, 2) microbial ecology and adaptations to brines, 3) the effects of water activity and chaotropicity on habitability, 4) the ability of hypersaline systems to preserve biomolecules and 5) techniques and technology needed to detect biosignatures in these unique systems.
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