I am delighted to offer a NERC-funded PhD project in the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh for admission in 2020. This project will be supervised by me and co-supervised by Cambridge's Dr Alex Liu. Follow this link to find out more about the project. Application deadline: 9th January 2020 Summary: The fossil … Continue reading PhD project: Ediacaran matground communities
I am delighted to offer a NERC-funded PhD project in the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh for admission in 2020. This project will be supervised by me and co-supervised by Dr Geoff Bromiley. Follow this link to find out more about the project. Application deadline: 9th January 2020 Summary: Micro-organisms like bacteria … Continue reading PhD project: the afterlife of a microbe
Some naturally occurring iron-mineral filaments. Fossil microbes? (c) The author. For billions of years, microbes like bacteria have quietly transformed the Earth. They have re-routed the flow of nutrients around our planet, infused the atmosphere with oxygen, and built the biosphere from the bottom up. It is hard to overstate the palaeontological importance of “simple” … Continue reading New paper: The trouble with tubules
Fossils provide our most decisive evidence for testing hypotheses about the abundance, diversity, and evolution of life on Earth over the past three-and-a-half billion years. They are also our best hope for answering one of the most compelling questions in science: was there ever life on Mars?
This week I had two new papers formally published. The first of these, A Field Guide to Finding Fossils on Mars, was written with a host of co-authors from the NASA Astrobiology Institute. This paper aims to help forthcoming NASA and European missions to search for traces of ancient life on the red planet. Three … Continue reading New papers: To Mars and beyond! (But with a conscience)
Is the exploration of space justified by our natural wanderlust? Are we morally obliged to terraform other planets in order to avert stagnation or extinction on Earth? Should we worry about the socio-economic consequences of asteroid mining, or the aesthetic damage done by the extraction of Helium-3 from the moon?
Mars has been a wandering star, a vengeful God, and latterly a storied world of shifting greenery, huge canals, carved faces, pyramids, aliens, and warrior princesses. Today, it is hard to see Mars through the haze of these cultural-historical associations. In the midst of this haze, it seems quite reasonable to talk about terraforming. If … Continue reading The Aesthetic Objection to Terraforming Mars