Bring students along on their search for life—teach them about remote sensing and how it can be a tool for their work in their particular location.
Byrd, Deborah, “How Close to Finding Alien Life?” Science Wire, June 25, 2015.
Cooper, Charles. “NASA scientist: evidence of alien life on meteorite.” CBS News, March 7, 2011.
DNEWS, “Earth Fossil Find May Lead to Martian Discoveries.” Seeker, February 11, 2013.
Emspak, Jesse. “What Earth’s oldest fossils mean for finding life on Mars.” Live Science, 2016.
Hegdea, Siddharth et al. “Surface biosignatures of exo-Earths: remote detection of extraterrestrial life.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112 (13), 3886-3891. 2015.
NASA, “NASA spots signs of life...on earth.” earthobservatory.nasa.gov, May 5, 2010.
Seielstad, George and Foster, Jim. Earth Science Picture of the Day, September 12, 2016.
Yirka, Bob, “Researchers find evidence of cavity-dwelling microbial life from 3 billion years ago.” Phys.org, December 28, 2015.
Lab activity, articles, explained images
When I taught this unit, I invited NASA scientists to visit and talk about remote sensing with my students. However, the Remote Sensing Lab packet covers the same material.
Students begin by reading a one-page article from popular science magazine (“How Close to Finding Alien Life?” Byrd, 2015), then read the studies cited in the article, depending on how relevant each study is to the group’s work. The article “NASA Spots Signs Of Life…On Earth” is a must-read.
These articles are a good start for the kind of materials students are going to be sifting through and searching for.
The spectra of selected microbes, presented in the surface biosignatures study (Hegdea, 2015), turned out to be incredibly important. The authors are very reachable.