EMU Volume 12 – Chapter 11

Chapter 11: Raman spectroscopy in biogeology and astrobiology
Isabelle Daniel and Howell G.M. Edwards

Although Raman spectroscopy has been applied to mineral specimens and their characterization for many years, there is now a renewed impetus for the development of the technique in the area of astrobiology and geobiology because of the development of new techniques allowing intracellular investigations as well as the detection of minute amounts of biological molecules, and because of its proposed adoption in space missions as part of the instrumentation suite of remote planetary landers and rovers for the identification of spectral signatures in the search for extant and extinct extraterrestrial life. The ability of Raman spectroscopy to recognize the presence of biological colonies and their biogeological modifications in host mineral matrices in terrestrial environmental extreme locations has been applied to the characterization of key biomolecular protectants for extremophiles in Mars analogue sites. The historical basis for astrobiology and the development of Raman spectroscopic techniques for the interrogation of relevant biogeological materials will be surveyed.

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