The RARE Center builds on a long history of transformative origins of life research at RPI, including the RPI Origins Center as well as the New York Center for Astrobiology. Current projects include the newly-funded Earth First Origins project, whose compelling central question is: “which early Earth environments hosted the prebiotic chemistry that led to life’s emergence?” This research builds on fundamental discoveries in understanding both the potential for the abiotic synthesis of proto-biomolecules under a variety of conditions, as well as the conditions that gave rise to these chemistries interacting in the very earliest period of Earth’s history. Additionally, ongoing research projects that explore the fundamental physiological limits of microbial life on this planet, and the potential for life to inhabit the extreme environments of our nearest neighbors, are bolstered by a state-of-the-art suite of experimental and analytical equipment hosted within the Center.
External Links for associated RARE projects
Earth First Origins
Facilities & Resources
External Links for Facilities and Resources
Gateway to early Earth
The cornerstone of the RARE Center research program is the Gateway to Early Earth (GeE), a virtual and physical laboratory that allows us to explore the boundary conditions and chemical realities of early Earth environments. As part of the virtual laboratory, the Virtual early Earth Portal (VeEP) will enable scientists to explore the constraints imposed by different early Earth environments, as well as the parameters that necessarily co-vary in these environments. Parallel to the virtual tool is the early Earth Laboratory (eEL), which houses experimental and analytical equipment that allow us to probe the environments of the early Earth as well as the prebiotic organic chemistry that might emerge in those environments.