SETI Institute Principal Investigator
On a planet such as Mars, which once had abundant water on its surface, nitrogen might still be found in the form of ammonium ions attached to clays. Soil and water scientist Amos Banin, an NAI team member, researches the factors that allow minerals to bind to such ammonium ions. In the laboratory, he studies nitrogen under conditions like those found on Mars, building on his thirty years of research into the chemistry, mineralogy, and formation of the enigmatic Martian soil. Seeking terrestrial analogs to Mars in the field, he examines the role of nitrogen in the form of nitrate, exploring environments as diverse as Antarctica and the Atacama Desert. By combining his work in the laboratory and in the field, Banin provides new insights into the habitability of Mars.
- SETI Institute Explorer, Special Edition 2005