Steven Benner - Life On Mars & Beyond
Dr. Steven Benner discusses the possibility of microbial life on Mars and the role panspermia may have played in seeding it across the solar system.
This discussion is based on Dr. Benner's Nov. 2022 presentation, "The Case for Extant Life on Mars", from the 25th Annual International Mars Society Convention. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMgIOVXQ_sI
Dr. Steven Benner is known for his work in synthetic biology, including creating in the lab DNA that might be found in alien life forms, "Jurassic Park" experiments that resurrect proteins from ancient Earth life, and generating COVID test kits that were used in India, Europe, and the US, among many other contributions.
Dr. Benner has been a professor at Harvard University, ETH Zurich, and the University of Florida where he was the V.T. & Louise Jackson Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. In 2005, he founded The Westheimer Institute of Science and Technology (TWIST) and the Foundation For Applied Molecular Evolution. Benner has also founded the companies EraGen Biosciences and Firebird BioMolecular Sciences LLC.
Benner and his colleagues were the first to synthesize a gene, beginning the field of synthetic biology. He was instrumental in establishing the field of paleogenetics. He is interested in the origin of life and the chemical conditions and processes needed to produce RNA. Benner has worked with NASA to develop detectors for alien genetic materials, using the definition of life developed by the NASA Exobiology Discipline Working Group in 1992, “a self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution”.
Dr. Benner has a BA & MS in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale, and a PhD in Chemistry from Harvard, and has been awarded over a dozen awards and honors related to his research.
LINKS & RESOURCES:
FFAME (Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution)
Dr. Steven Benner (Wikipedia)
Steven Benner - The Case for Extant Life on Mars
Life, The Universe & The Scientific Method
How can crops be grown on Mars? These plants are the key - study
Farming on Mars: Treatment of basaltic regolith soil and briny water simulants sustains plant growth
Martian soil (Perchlorates)
Mars' atmosphere: Facts about composition and climate