KECK INSTITUTE FOR SPACE STUDIES

       

Workshop: The Biology of Biosignature Detection - Part II

January 29 - February 2, 2024
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Workshop Overview:

The current framework for life detection for Mars exploration uses the ancient biosignatures paradigm where robust organics and former lacustrine environments provide assessments of habitability. This framework does not provide the science community with direct evidence of extant life potentially inhabiting these regions. With the recent Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey emphasizing a focus on extant life searches, it is critical to revisit and update our scientific investigations and datasets to more definitively interpret potential extant biology outside of our terrestrial biosphere.

The proposed ordinated sets of experiments and biological measurements decided during the team’s first workshop (July 2023) will be now integrated into the latter two goals for this workshop series. While still maintaining their science-driven approach for biological validation, this team will incorporate and organize the necessary astrobiology and life detection measurements into a measurement, instrument, and sample frameworks necessary for biological validation for in-situ and returned samples from outside our terrestrial biosphere. This incorporation will include the results from their first workshop, protocols necessary for agnostic and terrestrial biology, and pave the way for the future ‘search for life’ mission concepts that will utilize our biological validation set of experiments.


Monday, January 29, 2024
Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker
8:00 - 8:30  Institute Opens - FREE THINK TIME
8:30 - 9:00 

Coffee and Refreshments at Keck Center

Pick up badge and welcome packet, find seat in the Think Tank

9:00 - 9:45

Welcome & Workshop Logistics

Participant Introduction

Janet Seid
9:45 - 10:30

Recap of Workshop #1:

Way Forward and Study Vision, Goals, and Expectations for Workshop #2

Team Leads
10:30 - 11:00 Break
11:00 - 12:30 Finalize Workshop Goals via Plenary Discussion, Solicitation of Lighting Talks Team Leads
12:30 - 2:00 Group Picture and Lunch at the Athenaeum
2:00 - 3:30 Working Group & Report Out: Extinct Life group & Extant Life group

Groups

3:30 - 4:00 Break
4:00 - 4:15 Overview of KISS Breakout Group Format Janet Seid
4:15 - 5:30

Breakout #1:

Topic: Define general 'packages' required to address the objectives we set out in Workshop 1. (e.g. agnostic macromolecule detection, metabolism, 3 others) This exercise is to lay out conceptually the modules of a spacecraft that would deliver on the things we wanted to measure for our matrix that we came up with in workshop 1 - and also a chance to revisit what we decided. No detailed technology to be discussed here - just the principles of the package!

 

Groups:
Breakout Group #1: Microbiology-focused
Breakout Group #2: Biosignatures-focused
Breakout Group #3: Geochemistry & Mineralogy-focused
Breakout Group #4: Technology capabilities and their gaps

All
5:30 - 5:45 Plenary Group Recap and Discuss Direction for Day 2 Team Leads
5:45 - 6:00

Pack up and walk to the Athenaeum

Study Team Leads tag up with KISS

All

Team Leads & KISS

6:00 Dinner at the Athenaeum

Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker
8:00 - 8:30 Institute Opens - FREE THINK TIME
8:30 - 9:00 Enjoy coffee and refreshments in the Keck Center courtyard
9:00 - 9:15 Logistics and Team Lead Goals for the Day

Janet Seid

Woody Fischer & Team Leads

9:15 - 10:00 Group Report Outs from Breakout Session #1 (4 Groups, 10 mins each) Groups
10:00 - 11:00

Lightning Talks - 3 Talks

Isotopes - Henrik Drake

Radiotracer - Tina Treude

BIG Ltime lengthscles (Island vs ecosphere) - Don Giovannelli

Henrik Drake

Tina Treude

Don Giovannelli

11:00 - 11:30 Break
11:30 - 12:30 Plenary Discussion and preparation for afternoon breakout session Group
12:30 - 2:00 Lunch on your own
2:00 - 3:30

Breakout #2:

Topic: Now we have general conceptual packages, what capabilities are needed to amke them 'real'. Identify if you can specific capabilities, e.g. nanopore to detect agnostic macromolecules.

 

Groups:

Breakout Group #1: "Definitive signs of extinct life" package

Breakout Group #2: "Definitive signs of extant life" package

Breakout Group #3: "Viking 2.0 Experiments" package

Breakout Group #4: "Technology capabilities" package

All
3:30 - 4:00 Break
4:00 - 4:40 Group Report outs from Breakout Session #2 (10 mins each) Groups
4:40 - 5:15 Plenary discussion All
5:15 - 5:30 Plenary Group Recap and Discuss Direction for Day 3 All
5:30 Study Team Lead tag up with KISS All
5:30 OPTIONAL: No-Host Dinner in Pasadena

Wednesday, January 31, 2024
Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker
8:00 - 8:30 Institute Opens - FREE THINK TIME
8:30 - 9:00 Enjoy coffee and refreshments in the Keck Center courtyard
9:00 - 9:15 Logistics and Team Lead Goals for the Day

Janet Seid

Charles Cockell & Team Leads

9:15 - 10:00

Lightning Talks

Talk 1: Mars Deep Drill Subsurface access - Philippe Tosi

Talk 2: Importance of Englacial Targets on Mars - Suniti Karunatillake

Phillipe Tosi

Suniti Karunatillake

10:00 - 10:30 Break
10:30 - 12:00

Breakout #3:

Topic: Based on breakout 2, what analytical capabilities are required - what would be measured and how?

Groups:

Breakout Group #1: Subsurface access section

Breakout Group #2: Sample needs and handling section

Breakout Group #3: Proof of life, extant and extinct section

All
12:00 - 12:30 Group Report outs from Breakout Session #3 (10 mins each) All
12:30 - 2:00  Lunch at the Athenaeum
2:00 - 2:30 Group Pulse: One thing you found stimulating this week and One thing you hope to accomplish by the end of this week. Team Leads
2:30 - 2:45 Lightning Talk: Astrobiology perspective of MSR - Lisa Guan Lisa Guan
2:45 - 3:00 Writing Assignment #1 Overview Team Leads
3:00 - 3:30 Break
2:45 - 5:00

Writing Assignment #1 Writing and Edit Pair-ups

1) What are the terrestrial microbiology experiments you would want to see on Mars and the Icy Moons?

2) What capabilites don't yet exist to accomplish this?

Team Leads
5:00 - 5:15 Key Topic & Key Figures; 1) What are the take home figures you would want to showcase in our publications? 2) Let's start compiling the message needs Team Leads
5:15 - 5:30 Plenary Group Recap and Discuss Direction for Day 4 Team Leads
5:30 Study Team Leads tag up with KISS Team Leads & KISS
5:30 Dinner on your own

Thursday, February 1, 2024
Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker
8:00 - 8:30 Institute Opens - FREE THINK TIME
8:30 - 9:00 Enjoy coffee and refreshments in the Keck Center courtyard
9:00 - 9:15 Logistics and Team Lead Goals for the Day

Janet Seid

Scott Perl & Team Leads

9:15 - 10:15 "Power Hour": Deliverables, Stakeholder and Target Audience KISS and Team Leads
10:15 -12:15 Writing Session Groups
Break (Open Break Time During Writing Session)
12:15 - 12:30 Plenary Discussion & Pulse Check of Writing All
12:30 - 2:00  Lunch on your own
2:00 - 3:00

Lightning Talks:

SHS Raman - Sona Hosseini

Low Biomass sampling - Devan Nisson

Achieving Mars and synergies with humans - Kennda Lynch

Sona Hosseini

Devan Nisson

Kennda Lynch

3:00 - 3:30 Are we missing anything? What ancillary measurements would be needed to make these packages as biologically effective as possible, e.g., pH, radiation levels etc. Only items to enhance what we've converged on All
3:30 - 4:00 Break
4:00 - 5:15 "Power Hour Plus": Discussion on Path Forward for Collaboration, Advocacy throughout the Community and To-Do List for Completion of Final Report All
5:15 - 5:30 Plenary Group Recap and Discuss Direction for Day 5 Team Leads
5:30

Pack up and walk to the Athenaeum

Study Team Leads tag up with KISS

All

Team Leads & KISS

6:00 Dinner at the Athenaeum 

Friday, February 2, 2024
Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker
8:00 - 8:30 Institute Opens - FREE THINK TIME
8:30 - 9:00 Enjoy coffee and refreshments in the Keck Center courtyard
9:00 - 9:15 Logistics and Team Lead Goals for the Day

Janet Seid

Woody Fischer & Team Leads
9:15 - 10:00

Importance of Illustrations - KISS Gallery

Discussion of Final Report Imagery

Janet Seid

Team Leads

10:00 - 10:30 Break
10:30 - 11:30 Breakouts and report outs on final report images All
11:30 - 12:30 Writing Session and Peer Review All
12:30 - 1:30 Informal lunch in the Courtyard
1:30 - 3:45 Writing Session and Peer Review All
3:45 - 4:15 Break
4:15 - 4:45 Workshop Summary and next steps Team Leads
4:45 - 5:00 Workshop Closeout Janet Seid
5:00 Workshop Concludes

Workshop Participants:

  • Justin Boland - JPL
  • Kathryn Bywaters – Honeybee Robotics
  • Aaron Celestian – Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
  • Charles Cockell – University of Edinburgh
  • Henrik Drake - Linnaeus University
  • Woody Fischer – Caltech  
  • Kevin Freedman – University of California, Riverside 
  • Donato Giovannelli - University of Naples Federico II
  • Lisa Guan - JPL
  • Sona Hosseini - JPL
  • Yadira Ibarra – San Francisco State University
  • Suniti Karunatillake – Louisiana State University
  • Jared Leadbetter - Caltech
  • Karen Lloyd – University of Tennessee
  • Kennda Lynch – Universities Space Research Association
  • Mike Malaska – JPL 
  • Ashley Murphy – Planetary Science Institute (PSI)
  • Devan Nisson – Princeton
  • Scott Perl – JPL
  • Sunanda Sharma – JPL
  • Sanjoy Som – Blue Marble Space Institute of Science 
  • Luis Phillipe Tosi - JPL
  • Tina Treude - University of California, Los Angeles
  • Madelyne Willis – Montana State University 
  • Laurence Wilson - University of York