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Geological Spectroscopy Lab

World’s Oldest Fossils Unearthed.

“Our discovery supports the idea that life emerged from hot, seafloor vents shortly after planet Earth formed. This speedy appearance of life on Earth fits with other evidence of recently discovered 3,700 million year old sedimentary mounds that were shaped by microorganisms. These discoveries demonstrate life developed on Earth at a time when Mars and Earth had liquid water at their surfaces, posing exciting questions for extra-terrestrial life. Therefore, we expect to find evidence for past life on Mars 4,000 million years ago, or if not, Earth may have been a special exception.” explained first author, PhD student Matthew Dodd (UCL Earth Sciences and the London Centre for Nanotechnology).  More...


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Planetary Ices Group



The Planetary Ices Group carries out world leading research into the structure, dynamics and astrobiological potential of icy planetary bodies, with a particular focus on determining the properties of their constituent icy ‘minerals’. Planetary bodies are essentially crystalline aggregates: the structure and evolution of all such bodies are thus fundamentally due to the microscopic behaviour of the component crystals – equilibrium structures, elasticity, and transport properties for example. In determining the magnitudes of these properties for different ices and for the highly hydrated phases thought to exist in the interiors of outer solar-system moons we employ a coordinated multidisciplinary approach involving a combination of experimental and computational techniques.