Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, and potential for life beyond Earth. The Astrobiologist will search for evidence of life that includes organic chemicals (carbon based, such as ethane and methane), microfossils and/ or microorganisms. Read more about surface radiation levels on Mars, and what lifeforms might be tough enough to survive in the tough Martian conditions. Read more about the chemistry necessary for life (Chemist - Wet Chemistry Lab).

Watch a short video about an Astrobiologist working at NASA. And a scientist exploring Strange white islands on Mars, from the BBC Horizon series.

Work with the Geologist and Chemist. Use the data provided by Satellites (which is displayed as coloured overlays on the Map Control Screen) to select areas most likely to have been formed by sedimentary processes.

Once a target has been selected, the Navigation Engineer will drive the Rover to the location.

The Robotics Engineer can extend the Robotic Arm to examine rocks and soil. The Microscopic Imager and Alpha-Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) located on the end of the Arm can be used to analyse the rocks and soil.

  • The Microscope can help identify microorganisms and/or microfossils. Search particularly for sedimentary rocks such as Mudstone or Limestone.

  • The APXS provides elemental analysis of rocks and minerals.

Soil samples can be collected from under the Rover using the Scoop, and delivered to the internal Mass Spectrometer for analysis. The Mass Spectrometer can detect very low concentrations in chemically complex mixtures, including:

  • Organic (carbon-containing) compounds.

Compare your data with the Mission Control Database Library to identify your samples, and describe the type of environment in which they were formed.

  • Prepare an accurate SURVEY MAP and a REPORT.

To apply for the position of Astrobiologist complete and submit the following application. You can download the application here.