Fabien Stalport

Fabien Stalport
Paris Diderot University | UP7 · Chemistry

About

60
Publications
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3,429
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2010 - present
French National Centre for Scientific Research
Position
  • Centre national de la recherche scientifique

Publications

Publications (60)
Presentation
The search for organic molecules is one of the main goals of current and future Martian space missions. Many sources of organic molecules may exist at the surface of this planet: exogenous sources, such as the interplanetary medium, and/or endogenous sources, like hydrothermalism or a potential biological activity. However, only a few organics have...
Article
Full-text available
The search for organic molecules at the surface of Mars is a key objective in astrobiology, given that many organic compounds are possible biosignatures and their presence is of interest with regard to the habitability of Mars. Current environmental conditions at the martian surface are harsh and affect the stability of organic molecules. For this...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes strategies to search for, detect, and identify organic material on the surface and subsurface of Mars. The strategies described include those applied by landed missions in the past and those that will be applied in the future. The value and role of ESA's ExoMars rover and of her key science instrument Mars Organic Molecule Anal...
Article
Full-text available
Most of the phyllosilicates detected at the surface of Mars today are probably remnants of ancient environments that sustained long-term bodies of liquid water at the surface or subsurface and were possibly favorable for the emergence of life. Consequently, phyllosilicates have become the main mineral target in the search for organics on Mars. But...
Article
Full-text available
The study of the evolution of organic matter subjected to space conditions, and more specifically to Solar photons in the vacuum ultraviolet range (120–200 nm) has been undertaken in low-Earth orbit since the 1990s, and implemented on various space platforms. This paper describes a photochemistry experiment called AMINO, conducted during 22 months...
Article
Full-text available
The study of the evolution of organic matter subjected to space conditions, and more specifically to solar photons in the vacuum ultraviolet range (120-200 nm) has been undertaken in low Earth Orbit since the 90’s, and implemented on various space platforms. The most recent exposure facilities are BIOPAN outside the Russian automatic capsules FOTON...
Article
The search for organic carbon at the surface of Mars, as clues of past habitability or remnants of life, is a major science goal of Mars' exploration. Understanding the chemical evolution of organic molecules under current martian environmental conditions is essential to support the analyses performed in situ. What molecule can be preserved? What i...
Article
Most of the phyllosilicates detected at the surface of Mars today are probably remnants of ancient environments that sustained long-term bodies of liquid water at the surface or subsurface and were possibly favorable for the emergence of life. Consequently, phyllosilicates have become the main mineral target in the search for organics on Mars. But...
Article
Full-text available
The Curiosity rover discovered fine-grained sedimentary rocks, which are inferred to represent an ancient lake and preserve evidence of an environment that would have been suited to support a martian biosphere founded on chemolithoautotrophy. This aqueous environment was characterized by neutral pH, low salinity, and variable redox states of both i...
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Full-text available
Sedimentary rocks examined by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay, Mars, were derived from sources that evolved from an approximately average martian crustal composition to one influenced by alkaline basalts. No evidence of chemical weathering is preserved, indicating arid, possibly cold, paleoclimates and rapid erosion and deposition. The absen...
Article
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Sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay (Gale crater) on Mars include mudstone sampled by the Curiosity rover. The samples, John Klein and Cumberland, contain detrital basaltic minerals, calcium sulfates, iron oxide or hydroxides, iron sulfides, amorphous material, and trioctahedral smectites. The John Klein smectite has basal spacing of ~10 angstroms...
Article
H2O, CO2, SO2, O2, H2, H2S, HCl, chlorinated hydrocarbons, NO, and other trace gases were evolved during pyrolysis of two mudstone samples acquired by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay within Gale crater, Mars. H2O/OH-bearing phases included 2:1 phyllosilicate(s), bassanite, akaganeite, and amorphous materials. Thermal decomposition of carbona...
Article
Full-text available
The ChemCam instrument, which provides insight into martian soil chemistry at the submillimeter scale, identified two principal soil types along the Curiosity rover traverse: a fine-grained mafic type and a locally derived, coarse-grained felsic type. The mafic soil component is representative of widespread martian soils and is similar in compositi...
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“Jake_M,” the first rock analyzed by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer instrument on the Curiosity rover, differs substantially in chemical composition from other known martian igneous rocks: It is alkaline (textgreater15% normative nepheline) and relatively fractionated. Jake_M is compositionally similar to terrestrial mugearites, a rock type...
Article
Full-text available
Stable isotope ratios of H, C, and O are powerful indicators of a wide variety of planetary geophysical processes, and for Mars they reveal the record of loss of its atmosphere and subsequent interactions with its surface such as carbonate formation. We report in situ measurements of the isotopic ratios of D/H and O-18/O-16 in water and C-13/C-12,...
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Full-text available
Volume mixing and isotope ratios secured with repeated atmospheric measurements taken with the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite on the Curiosity rover are: carbon dioxide (CO2), 0.960(±0.007); argon-40 (⁴⁰Ar), 0.0193(±0.0001); nitrogen (N2), 0.0189(±0.0003); oxygen, 1.45(±0.09) × 10⁻³; carbon monoxide, < 1.0 × 10⁻³; and ⁴⁰Ar/³⁶Ar, 1.9(±0.3)...
Article
Understanding the evolution of organic matter on Mars is a major goal to drive and discuss past, present and future in situ analyses. Here we demonstrate the ability of the MOMIE (for Mars Organic Molecules Irradiation and Evolution) laboratory device in giving both in situ qualitative and quantitative data on the evolution of organic molecules und...
Article
Full-text available
Observations by the Mars Science Laboratory Mast Camera (Mastcam) in Gale crater reveal isolated outcrops of cemented pebbles (2 to 40 millimeters in diameter) and sand grains with textures typical of fluvial sedimentary conglomerates. Rounded pebbles in the conglomerates indicate substantial fluvial abrasion. ChemCam emission spectra at one outcro...
Article
In past times, life might have appeared under Martian conditions milder than the present ones, and left some remnants at the surface. Even if this did not happen, prebiotic molecules may have been preserved in the soil, and they might be similar to those that prevailed on the Earth surface some 3.5 to 4 billion years ago. NASA's MSL2011 rover will...
Conference Paper
The search for organic relics from the early Mars is one of the major science objectives of the next missions to Mars: NASA MSL 2011 and ESA ExoMars 2018. To fulfill these mission goals, the MOMIE project has been developed to study the processes which potentially drive the evolution of organics, and evaluate the stability of organic molecules unde...
Article
The search for complex organic molecules on Mars, including important biomolecules such as amino acids and carboxylic acids, will require a chemical extraction and a derivatization step to transform these organic compounds into species that are sufficiently volatile to be detected by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS). We have developed a...
Article
Full-text available
The PROCESS (PRebiotic Organic ChEmistry on the Space Station) experiment was part of the EXPOSE-E payload outside the European Columbus module of the International Space Station from February 2008 to August 2009. During this interval, organic samples were exposed to space conditions to simulate their evolution in various astrophysical environments...
Article
Full-text available
The search for organic molecules at the surface of Mars is a top priority of the next Mars exploration space missions: Mars Science Laboratory (NASA) and ExoMars (ESA). The detection of organic matter could provide information about the presence of a prebiotic chemistry or even biological activity on this planet. Therefore, a key step in interpreta...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Understanding the evolution of organic matter on Mars is a major goal since no carbonaceous compound has been definitely detected so far on Mars. In this context, we developed the MOMIE project (for Mars Organic Molecules Irradiation and Evolution) dedicated to simulate the processes susceptible to impact organic matter in the environmental conditi...
Article
The detection and identification of carbonates on Mars are of prime importance to establish the evolution of its atmosphere, correlated to the history of the liquid water, or even to determine the existence of a possible ancient biological activity. Till date, no large deposits of carbonates have been found. In fact, their detection is specific to...
Article
Full-text available
The detection and identification of organic molecules on Mars are of prime importance to establish the existence of a possible ancient prebiotic chemistry or even a biological activity. To date, however, no complex organic compounds have been detected on Mars. The harsh environmental conditions at the surface of Mars are commonly advocated to expla...
Article
One-step derivatization to extract organic molecules from samples has never been performed in space and an automatic derivatization system compatible with space constraints will be part of the SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) instrument on MSL in 2011.
Article
Evolved gas analyses similar to those planned for the MSL SAM instrument suite conducted during the 2009 Arctic Svalbard Mars Analog campaign are described with a focus on carbonate data and comparison with detailed mineralogy studies.
Article
Full-text available
We describe three space experiments designed to expose to space conditions, and more specifically to solar UV radiation, selected samples of organic and mineral material.
Article
Full-text available
The detection and identification of organic molecules on Mars are of primary importance to establish the existence of a possible ancient prebiotic chemistry or even biological activity. The harsh environmental conditions at the surface of Mars could explain why the Viking probes-the only efforts, to date, to search for organics on Mars-detected no...
Article
Carbonate fractions of pelagic and hemipelagic sediments may contain significant proportions of microcrystalline (≤ 6 µm) calcitic particles with no specific structure so-called micarb. Depending on the authors, this term is related to different descriptions and yet there is no clear consensus on their origin. Although, micarb can dominate the sedi...
Article
To understand the evolution of organic molecules involved in extraterrestrial environments and with exobiological implications, many experimental programs in the laboratory are devoted to photochemical studies in the gaseous phase as well as in the solid state. The validity of such studies and their applications to extraterrestrial environments can...
Article
The life on Mars remains an open question because of the lack of proof of its past emergence and its current presence. The only indices of a potential Martian life were provided by the Viking Landers, and the study of the Martian meteorite ALH84001 discovered in the Antarctic. In the two case, the results of experiments could be explained either by...
Article
The life on Mars remains an open question despite the Viking landers results and the ALH84001 possible terrestrial contamination. However recent data of Mars Express orbiter and the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity seem show different proofs of a past environment with liquid water and mild temperatures favorable for life. Among the biomarkers we...
Article
Full-text available
The study of the evolution of organic matter subjected to space conditions, and more specifically to Solar photons in the vacuum ultraviolet range (120–200 nm) has been undertaken in low-Earth orbit since the 1990s, and implemented on various space platforms. This paper describes a photochemistry experiment called AMINO, conducted during 22 months...
Article
Full-text available
One of the major objectives of the future Martian surface probes will be to reveal a past or present biological activity. We propose that biominerals could have recorded such an activity at Mars, and thus could be interesting targets for these missions. Therefore, we try to find a method capable to discriminate biominerals from their geochemical co...
Article
Full-text available
Several lines of evidence suggest that early Mars once had liquid water on its surface, a denser atmosphere and a mild climate. Similar environmental conditions led to the origin of life on the Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago; consequently, life might also have originated on Mars. The Viking landers searched for evidence of organic molecules...
Article
Full-text available
In the frame of the Mars Science Laboratory mission (2009) planned to be sent to the Martian surface by NASA, the search for carbonates will be a key point in the search for evidence of past life and dense atmosphere. We present here some results concerning the thermal properties of a series of carbonates of different origins, putting in evidence t...
Article
The environmental conditions on Mars seem to have been favourable for the emergence of Life. The search for organics at Mars surface/subsurface is then one of the main goals of the future missions to Mars, NASA MSL (2011) and ESA ExoMars (2016). Due to the current extreme conditions of the Mars surface, the comprehension of the stability of organic...
Article
Full-text available
The question of life on Mars remains open today because recent data provided by the Mars Express orbiter, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity seem to indicate a past environment of Mars, with liquid water and mild temperatures, favourable for life. We also suggest that a better understanding of the biomineral...
Article
The environmental conditions at Mars seem to have been favourable to the emergence of Life. The search for organics at Mars surface/subsurface is then the main goal of the future NASA MSL (2011) and ESA ExoMars (2018) in situ space missions. Due to the current extreme conditions at the Mars surface, the comprehension of organics stability in such a...
Article
One of the main goals of current and future in situ missions to Mars is to search for organics at the surface/subsurface, and then to determine their origin (exogenous or endogenous, biotic or abiotic). The understanding on how organic compounds evolve under the Mars surface environmental conditions is thus a necessary key for these missions. As an...
Article
In 1976, the Viking probes did not provide any results demonstrating the presence of extant life or even organic molecules in the soil samples collected at their landing sites, unlikely to what it could be expected at that time. The results obtained by the biological experiments on board of Viking probes have been discussed for a long time. The mos...
Article
MOMIE is a laboratory simulation program, which allows submitting any organic molecule to UV irradiation mimicking those reaching the Mars surface, and/or to any oxidative process that may take place at Mars surface/subsurface.
Article
The discovery of organic molecules on Mars is one among the most important objectives to determine if a prebiotic chemistry, or even life, could have existed on this planet. However, no organic molecule, except atmospheric methane, was ever detected at the Mars surface probed with remote sensing or in situ space probes and experiments in the 70's....
Article
Many observations of Mars confirm the presence of liquid water running out freely on its surface and a dense atmosphere (20-30bars) made up primarily of CO2 in the first million years after formation. Such conditions were met for Earth, allowing the development of Life. Consequently a form of Martian Life could also have appeared. But Mars thereaft...
Article
As we know them, the terrestrial living organisms are composed of organic molecules. This is why the search for organic materials represents one of the primary objectives for exobiology, with the aim to discover extinct and/or extant biological activity on other solar system bodies. Like the Earth, Mars could have received (and still collects) seve...
Article
In 2010, NASA's MSL09 rover will arrive at Mars to explore its surface and subsurface. Aboard this rover, the analytical laboratory SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) will analyze both atmospheric and soil samples. In past times, life might have emerged in Martian conditions milder than the current ones, and it might have left some traces on the Mars su...
Article
Solar UV radiation is a major source of energy to initiate chemical evolution towards complex organic structures, but it can also photodissociate the most elaborate molecules. Thus, Solar UV can erase the organic traces of past life on the surface of planets like Mars, or it can influence the production of extended sources(*) in comets. The VUV pho...
Article
Full-text available
Stromatolites are one of the most important forms of fossil evidence for microbial life on early Earth (Schopf et al., 1971). They are formed when layers of microbial organisms at the shallow bottom of a lake or tide pool are periodically covered with sediment or precipitating salts (e.g. carbonate). The photosynthetic organisms that form the basis...
Article
In past times, life might have emerged under Martian conditions milder than the present ones, and left some remnants at the surface. Even if this did not happen, prebiotic molecules may have been preserved in the soil, and they might be similar to those that prevailed on the Earth surface some 3.5 to 4 billion years ago. NASA's MSL2011 rover will e...
Article
The frame of this paper are the studies of the physical or chemical processes that form modify or destroy organic molecules in the Martian environment Among the biomarkers we seek on Mars the organic molecules are primordial because they are necessary to the origin of life as we know it However these molecules except methane recently discovered hav...
Article
Photochemistry is leading the chemical evolution in the solar system. It is difficult to simulate the the most energetic part of the solar radiation in the laboratory. Space and laboratory photolysis results are compared and discussed.
Article
Les conditions indispensables à l’émergence de la vie terrestre ont surement été réunies sur Mars au début de son histoire. Une forme de vie martienne aurait alors pu apparaître et des indices de cette dernière auraient pu perdurer. Dans le cadre de la recherche de ces indices sur Mars, nos travaux s’articulent autour de deux cibles d’intérêt exobi...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
In this project, we develop a model of the evolution of the distribution of organic matter on Mars. Both computer simulations and experimental studies are implemented to draw a global picture of the fate of organic matter in the martian environment, in connection with current and future exploration missions on Mars.
Project
Analyse in situ Mars soil samples to seek for organic molecules relevant to life