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Meeting Location and Dates

We are happy to announce the Brines Across the Solar System: Ancient Brines conference scheduled for September 12–15, 2022, in Reno, Nevada.

Series Purpose and Scope

The LPI’s Brines Across the Solar System (BAS) initiative dives into brines as a planetary process, from modern to ancient brines and the technologies needed to explore them. Salty aqueous solutions (i.e., brines) are prominent across diverse planetary bodies. They are observed in the gas plumes presently erupting from Enceladus, reconstructed from precipitates on the surface of Ceres and Mars, and inferred from meteoritic samples. Understanding the mechanisms that led to the formation and preservation of these brine systems provides vital clues to their role in geological, geophysical, environmental, and biological processes. In this three-part conference series, we will address questions relating to the thermodynamics and physiochemistry of brines, as well as their occurrence today and throughout time in our solar system and beyond.

Ancient Brines Conference Objectives

The Brines Across the Solar System: Ancient Brines conference will focus on integrating diverse fields of study, including but not limited to geology, mineralogy, (astro)biology, chemistry, planetary science, and physics with particular interest on the intersections of these fields as they apply to understanding the formation, location, and potential habitability of brines on planetary bodies, as well as any possible biosignatures associated with them. Thematically, the conference is focused on four main topics while cementing the discussion around our knowledge of brines throughout the solar system:

  1. Evidence for ancient brines
  2. Formation of brines on early planetary bodies
  3. Habitability of ancient brines
  4. Role of brines in the origins of life

In this conference, we hope to address questions such as:

Where and/or when could brines have formed?
Brines can exist on the surface or in the subsurface, as pools on the seafloor, or beneath ice shells. What are the physical, chemical, and environmental conditions that induce brine formation? In the solar system, brines could occur in the subsurface of Mars or beneath the ice shells of outer planet ocean worlds such as Europa and Enceladus. What is the spatial and temporal extent of brine formation in the solar system?

What were the roles(s) of brines during the emergence of life, and could brines have preserved biosignatures?
On Earth, brines — and hypersaline ecosystems in general — are environments that can favor the preservation of organic matter. Biosignatures of microorganisms can be sequestered into host matrices that allow the formation of biofilms or microbial mats in aqueous and terrestrial environments. Do brines in the solar system preserve organic matter and biosignatures similarly to brines on Earth? Brines can influence or place constraints upon the boundaries for biological activity and habitability by affecting the water activity of an environment. For example, some brines on Mars have water activities below the minimum threshold to support life. Did ancient brines promote habitable environments? What were the roles that brines played during the emergence and evolution of primitive and complex life forms?

How have brines altered the surfaces and interiors of planetary bodies in the past, and how do we find evidence of ancient brine environments?
Brine systems are dynamic and can display properties that impact morphology, connectivity, structural deformation, and fluid diffusivity. How do brines alter the surfaces and interiors of planetary bodies in the past? What are the key characteristics, and how can we find evidence for ancient brine systems?

Code of Conduct

The LPI is committed to providing a harassment-free experience for participants regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, religion, or other protected status. While attending the meeting or any related ancillary or social events, participants should not engage in harassment in any form. All participants are expected to behave according to professional standards and in accordance with their employers’ policies on appropriate workplace behavior.

To report issues or concerns, contact LPI management at USRA-LPI Meetings Code of Conduct.

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