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Spaceward Bound Expedition: Australia 2009

photo of Reut Abromovich

Reut S. Abramovich
PhD student, Microbiology
Australian Centre for Astrobiology, UNSW

If I were a poet I would describe what science cannot. I choose science to observe reality and explore it from alien angles.

Following an exciting career in the software industry, I received a Biology (B.Sc.) degree from Tel Aviv University in 2005, and currently I am a post graduate student in the University of New South Wales at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology.

As an Astro-microbiologist I’ve explored the bacterial diversity in Antarctic ice cores originating from permafrost and glacier environments. This in turn helps us to understand how life may persist in extreme environments (like Mars or Europa).

I’ve also carefully studied modern Stromatolites in Shark Bay, Western Australia. These beautiful rock-like structures contain important microbial key players for life on earth. Ancient fossilized remains of Stromatolites, (3.43 billion years old!), were found in Pilbara Craton, Australia. The connection between old and modern enables us to theorize how life began on Earth and where else life forms might surface.

During this expedition I hope to collect samples and identify bacteria which trap Nitrogen from the atmosphere and provide it to other bacteria, eventually passing the element along the food chain and into our own body.

I feel very lucky (and yes, honored) to participate in Spaceward Bound Expedition Australia 2009. I would like to thank NASA Ames and Mars Society Australia for inviting me onboard.


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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: April 2007
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe