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Program and Presenter Information

For details, view the program and abstracts. Authors will not receive notification letters, so they should check the author index to see where their presentations have been scheduled.

In addition to field trip activities on November 6, the conference program consists of oral presentations, lightning talks, small- and large-group discussions, afternoon poster sessions, and wrap-up discussions.

November 5 Oral presentations, lightning talks, formation of small groups, poster session
November 6 1/2-day field trip to Carlsbad Caverns, coupled with several afternoon field options in the area
November 7 Oral presentations, poster session, small group activity
November 8
Half Day
Oral presentations, small group reports, discussion, wrap-up, and planning for next steps


In general, the conference program is organized around the following major themes:

  • Candidate environmental niches on Mars that form the basis for one or more hypotheses for extant martian life
  • The types of measurements necessary to test these hypotheses
  • The kinds of present and future missions, including the associated instrumentation, that could contribute to the search for evidence of extant life.


Note:  We are interested in both life as we know it and novel life forms of which we are currently unaware (aka life as we don’t know it).

Key aspects of the conference will be time allocated for discussion and the extent to which the conference participants can identify or establish consensus positions involving these topics. At the end of the conference, we will have a short session where, as a group, we will discuss a synthesis of the recommendations to come out of the conference in the form of a listing of key questions, future research directions, and possible options for the Mars flight program. It is intended that this output will constitute a portion of the planning material being developed as input to the coming planetary Decadal Survey, including the contribution of white paper(s).

Bob Bruner, Denver Museum of Nature and Science volunteer, will be onsite with exhibits:
            Meteorites and Minerals Associated with the Origin of Life
            Understanding the Origin of Life
            Percival Lowell Life on Mars Advocate Over 100 Years Ago

Early morning and afternoon coffee breaks will be provided. Participants are on their own for breakfast and lunch. 

Oral Presentation Information

Oral presentations are scheduled for 12 minutes per talk with an additional 3 minutes allotted for question and answer.

A PC laptop, LCD projector, and speaker remote will be available for oral presentations. In order to facilitate a smooth transition between speakers, all presentations need to be preloaded onto the session room laptop each morning 7:45–8:15 a.m. and during breaks.

To aid in the preloading process, a folder labeled “Mars Extant Life” will be available on the presentation laptop. Using a flash drive, copy your presentation into this folder. Please include your last name in the naming of your presentation file.

Hardware and Software Specifications for Oral Presentations —

The plenary room will be equipped with a laptop computer that has Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Reader. Please design your oral presentation to work with these programs.

Poster Presentation Information

Poster Set-up in Exhibit Hall November 5, 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Poster Sessions November 5, 2:50–3:35 p.m. November 7, 2:20–3:05 p.m.
Poster Removal By November 8, 1:00 p.m.
Poster Size 44" × 44" (112 cm × 112 cm) maximum
Materials Provided Pushpins


Any posters left after the conference will be discarded.

Note: All electronic submission forms are part of the Meeting Portal, which requires users to set up a personal profile to access our electronic forms (setting up a profile is quick and easy, requiring only a few minutes of your time).