Research That Is Out of The World 

Georgetown professor and researcher Sarah Johnson has received a grant from NASA to continue her pursuit of understanding biosignatures within planetary environments.  With research expeditions in Antarctica, Idaho, and Chile, Johnson has investigated multiple Mars analog sites—including silica sinters, acid salt lakes, and ancient deposits in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. These environments help us imagine the makeup of aqueous environments on Mars a few billion years ago. This is useful for understanding how life survives in extreme depositional environments, the persistence of lipid biomarkers over ancient timescales, and the ways in which biology affects patterns of mineralization.

NASA grants are awarded to encourage and facilitate researchers contributing to knowledge within the aerospace field. These grants also help promote awareness of NASA’s mission and ongoing research into space exploration. Johnson’s work will be a valuable asset in the implementation of planetary exploration, by analyzing data from current spacecraft and devising instrumentation for future missions.

Professor Johnson currently teaches Environmental Geoscience (STIA-227/228) as well as a freshman proseminar, The Search for Life on Mars (INAF-100). She involves a myriad of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. candidates and research assistants in her work. Her research expeditions provide unique, exciting and enriching educational opportunities for aspiring scientists.

To learn more about Johnson and her research, please see the link to her website below.