Looking for life in the deep Earth

Steel beams support the mine walls along a salt road 1.1 km below the surface of the Earth.
Boulby Mine viewed from the road.
Halite crystal found near the Dark Matter Lab, field of view is approximately 3 inches.
Back lighting the polyhalite shows off the strong banding.

It’s important to look at life in minerals, and life around the minerals in these very briny and salty environments, because this is what we think might exist on other planets and moons. So by examining what’s happening here in this mine, we can then extrapolate that information to other parts of the solar system.

The Origins and Habitability team from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in their element. Left to right: Dr. Scott Perl, Dr. Aaron Celestian, Preston Tasoff, Erika Flores. Photo by Trevor Palin, and used with permission.
Dr. Scott Perl working with the Digital Holographic Microscope near a man-made brine pool. Photo by Trevor Palin, and used with permission.
Other minerals that were found in the Boulby Mine. Top Row (left to right) trambathite (black) in sylvite (red) and halite (grey) rock, mirabilite grown from evaporated brine fluids, and volkovskite blades. Bottom Row (left to right) boracite with higardite, a neat halite stalactite, and anhydrite pseudomorphs after gypsum.

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Keeping science accessible. Researching how minerals can be used to solve problems like climate change, pollution, and disease. @ NHMLA, USC, NASA-JPL

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Aaron Celestian, Ph.D.

Aaron Celestian, Ph.D.

Keeping science accessible. Researching how minerals can be used to solve problems like climate change, pollution, and disease. @ NHMLA, USC, NASA-JPL

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