The continental subsurface biosphere
The Amend lab is part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute Life Underground team that seeks to develop field, laboratory, and modeling approaches aimed at detecting and characterizing microbial life in the subsurface—the intraterrestrials. This study will inform the astrobiology community and guide future missions in the search for extraterrestrial life. The multi-institutional Life Underground team is currently focusing on several primary field locations, including the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in South Dakota, fractured rock near Death Valley, and a high pH serpentinizing system in northern California (The Cedars). We make use of legacy boreholes, advanced drilling technologies, and deeply-sourced springs to obtain samples. This access to the subsurface is complemented by in situ life detection and characterization, guided cultivations of intraterrestrials, and modeling of metabolic energy flow.