Elisabeth (Libby) Hausrath

Associate Professor of Geoscience
Expertise: Mars geochemistry, Water-rock interactions, Astrobiology, Snow dynamics

Biography

Elisabeth (Libby) Hausrath is an aqueous geochemist and astrobiologist who investigates interactions between water and minerals, and the impacts of life on those interactions. She and her team use a combination of field work, laboratory experiments, and modeling to investigate signatures of aqueous alteration and life, the rates at which water-rock interactions occur, and how they differ on Earth and on other planets such as Mars. Their work helps understand chemical weathering, water chemistry, nutrient release, the formation of soils, and potential signatures of life on Earth and Mars.

Hausrath and her team also explore snow dynamics, particularly the interactions between snow algae, microorganisms, and minerals in the nutrient-poor environment present in snow, which may also be an analog to Mars.

Hausrath serves on NASA's Returned Sample Science Board, which offers scientific input into aspects of the upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission.

Education

  • Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Geosciences and Astrobiology, Penn State University
  • Sc.B Geology-Chemistry, Brown University

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Elisabeth (Libby) Hausrath In The News

Many Worlds
April 16, 2021
One of the fondest dreams and top priorities of space science for years has been to bring a piece of Mars back to Earth to study in the kind of depth possible only in a cutting-edge laboratory.
Las Vegas Sun
March 2, 2021
For Las Vegas, the touchdown of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars was a source of both national and community pride.
KSNV-TV: News 3
February 22, 2021
With the safe landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover Thursday afternoon on the surface of Mars, two scientists at UNLV will get to take part in the ultimate in distance learning, as members of the NASA team hoping to answer the question, is there, or has there been life on the red planet.
KNPR News
February 22, 2021
NASA’s Perseverance Rover spent seven months traveling 292 million miles to Mars.

Articles Featuring Elisabeth (Libby) Hausrath

Campus News | March 11, 2021
A collection of news stories highlighting the experts and events at UNLV.
illustration of rover landing
Research | February 18, 2021
Before you tune into today's Mars landing, read up on UNLV's role in the search for life on the Red Planet.
Professor Ashkan Salamat in his lab at UNLV
Research | December 29, 2020
A yearlong collection of UNLV faculty making the news for their discoveries and contributions to the community.
UNLV geoscientist Arya Udry sits in front of her microscope in her office
Research | December 21, 2020
Udry is one of just 13 scientists added to NASA’s Participating Scientist Program and will help the Perseverance Rover to recognize magmatic rocks; becomes second UNLV professor on Mars 2020 science team.