University of Guelph environmental microbiologist Dr. Jackie Goordial will share her experiences of conducting research in extreme environments during a NASA TV program on astrobiology March 31.
The program, “NASA Science Live: Modern-Day Explorers Search for Life Beyond Earth,” will air at 3 p.m. and will feature Goordial, a professor in U of G’s School of Environmental Sciences, and Dr. Darlene Lim, a NASA geobiologist and exobiologist who prepares astronauts for the scientific exploration of the moon and Mars.
Both researchers have ventured on remote expeditions and traversed some of Earth’s most extreme landscapes.
Goordial has visited the Arctic and Antarctica and has investigated life on and below the sea floor using remotely operated vehicles.
“In all of my environments, my questions were similar: what microorganisms are present and what are they doing?” she said.
She continues to study how microorganisms survive at sub-zero temperatures in permafrost in the Canadian Arctic and how warming temperatures may lead to greenhouse gas release.
Hosted by science communicator and author Kellie Gerardi, the researchers will answer questions from viewers during the live event.
“I am thrilled to get this platform to talk about all of the astrobiology work that microbiologists do,” said Goordial. “Astrobiology is a field that really challenges the mind to think big, as big as the universe, and that pulls in thinkers across many disciplines like astronomy, biology, chemistry, anthropology and others.”
The program will be archived on NASA TV.