Astrobiology and Space Biotechnology: Research Highlights from the Chinese State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Sciences

This seminar is part of the EAI on-line seminars

By André Antunes, Leader of the Astrobiology Group, Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST), State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Sciences, CHINA

21 November 2023, 15:00 CET

The Astrobiology Research Group is a recently established addition to the Chinese State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Sciences. Its aim is to help to boost this research field in China, as well as help to promote international collaborations, making use of Macau’s century-long tradition of connecting the East with the West. 

This seminar will provide some highlights of the research done by members of this research group, with a strong emphasis on past, present, and future exploration of relevant terrestrial analogue sites in the context of Mars and the Icy moons of the Outer Solar System. These include several expeditions to extreme environments, ranging from hydrothermal sites, to deep-sea brines and other hypersaline locations. The focus is on isolation and characterization of new microbes from these sites, as well as some potential applications. Furthermore, the seminar will include some highlights of ongoing exposure-based experiments and how they give vital insight into the planned use of microbes for in situ resource utilization (ISRU) and some potential challenges. To finalize, I will introduce some of the computer-based tools that we’re currently developing in Macau and how they can help to explore the on-going flood of big data in microbiology, help to identify knowledge gaps, and lead to new discoveries.