In 2019, UC Davis geologist Dawn Sumner took part in an expedition to western Greenland led by Abigail Allwood of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Their goal was to investigate a claim that biosignatures – traces of ancient fossil life – had been found in rocks 3.7 billion old. If confirmed, this discovery would change our view of how early life emerged on Earth and the possibilities for life appearing on other planets.
The expedition is now the subject of a NASA video produced by Michael Toillion. Watch it here.
Sumner is a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Her work has previously taken her to Antarcticato study life in some of the harshest conditions on Earth today, looking for clues to how life might have originated on this and other planets. She is a member of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, helping to select the landing site for the Curiosity rover and working to explore ancient environments on Mars with Curiosity.