A team led by an Indiana University scientist has won a $2.4 million NASA grant for research that could help the space agency search for life elsewhere in the solar system.
The three-year project will be led by IU biogeochemist Lisa Pratt. She and 11 colleagues from IU, Princeton University and four other institutions will travel to Greenland to study cold-weather microbes that are releasing methane along the edges of receding Arctic ice sheets.
Methane is a greenhouse gas that can be produced by microbes and also geologic processes.
NASA wants to know more about how methane is created by hardy microbes like those in Greenland to help future unmanned space probes search for microbial life on Mars and icy moons obiting Jupiter and Saturn.