Planetary Scientist | NASA
Aaron Burton is a planetary scientist within the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at the Johnson Space Center. His research seeks to understand how prebiotic chemical reactions could have led to the origins of life. Such research includes the analysis of organic material in astromaterials such as meteorites. Burton also studies how informational polymers serve as biomarkers in the search for life beyond Earth. He is a member of the SHERLOC team, who will utilize a spectrometer to characterize organics and minerals on Martian surfaces during the Mars 2020 mission. The goals of this mission study past aqueous history, detect the presence of potential biosignatures, and to support the selection, collection and preservation of samples that may be returned to Earth. Another facet of Burton's work is directed towards the maintenance of crew health during spaceflight. An example of this is the Biomolecule Sequencer project, which successfully sequenced DNA in space for the first time in August of 2016.
|Postdoc Research Fellow||NASA Goddard Space Flight Center||2010-2013|