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

KSNV-TV: News 3
September 10, 2020
Has there ever been life on Mars?
KVVU-TV: Fox 5
August 5, 2020
Meet the UNLV scientist and professor who's literally doing some groundbreaking work on Mars with NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
August 1, 2020
If the Mars Perseverance Rover was lifting off from Cape Canaveral at almost any other time, University of Nevada, Las Vegas geochemistry and astrobiology professor Elisabeth “Libby” Hausrath would have had a front-row seat.
U.S. News & World Report
August 1, 2020
If the Mars Perseverance Rover was lifting off from Cape Canaveral at almost any other time, University of Nevada, Las Vegas geochemistry and astrobiology professor Elisabeth “Libby” Hausrath would have had a front-row seat.

Articles Featuring Elisabeth (Libby) Hausrath

A portrait of UNLV's new president Keith Whitfield on campus.
Campus NewsAugust 10, 2020
As summer heats up, so do the accomplishments on UNLV’s campus.
This artist's rendition depicts NASA's Mars 2020 rover studying rocks with its robotic arm.
ResearchJuly 6, 2020
Geoscientist Libby Hausrath gives an insider glimpse at her role as one of 15 scientists selected by NASA to work on Mars sample return on the 2020 Rover Mission.
Two women stand in front of an image of a Martian rover
ResearchMay 19, 2020
Pair of geoscience professors at the forefront of UNLV’s contributions to Mars exploration, but plenty more academics are involved in the Red Planet.
UNLV professor Matthew Lachniet works in his lab on campus.
PeopleDecember 27, 2019
A collection of stories highlighting UNLV faculty and students who made the news in 2019.